The 2016 FNB Varsity Cup season was a tough one for the FNB Tuks team, but they found their rhythm to make it to the semi-finals where they eventually exited at the hands of FNB Maties. Scrumhalf Andre Warner was one of the senior players in the squad who had to lead by example and motivate the younger players in the team to push through the challenges.
Warner made the trip up to Pretoria in 2013 and started his B. Ed (Education) degree at the University of Pretoria. He will be completing his Education Degree at the end of this year, but has already started taking subjects towards a B. Com degree as well, which he hopes to finish while still playing for FNB Tuks in the FNB Varsity Cup. He believes that playing FNB Varsity Cup rugby has awarded him opportunities that might otherwise not have existed.
“I think my rugby and academic journeys would have been very different had it not been for a competition like the FNB Varsity Cup. I started off with a junior contract at the Vodacom Bulls while playing for FNB Tuks, but I was struck by a serious shoulder injury which compromised my opportunity with the Bulls. I worked through the injury and the FNB Varsity Cup offered me a second chance to prove myself to the Bulls selectors.”
The 23 year old, who represented Western Province at u/18 and u/21 levels, was an important cog in the machine during last year’s table-topping campaign and he is currently the preferred starting scrumhalf for the Vodacom Bulls in the Currie Cup Competition.
“Competing in the FNB Varsity Cup is about time management. We have responsibilities towards our studies and our rugby, which makes us have to manage our time extremely well. We are fortunate to have coaches who understand that we are studying. The FNB Varsity Cup is allowing us to chase two dreams at the same time and I feel blessed to be a part of it,” said Warner.
He also explains how living in the Tuks Rugby House with fellow rugby players who take their studies seriously, has played a major role in him finding a balance between training and studying: “The guys influence each other in a positive way, and we motivate each other to be best we can possibly be. When we study, we study hard and when we train, we train hard.”
As for life after rugby, Warner would be open to a career in education and says he would love to teach grade 10 – 12 students. Surely any rugby playing high school would be lucky to have him as part of their coaching staff.