Yolisa Dladla - Madibaz crop

Trusting his instincts is the smoking gun in Yolisa Dladla’s arsenal of weaponry and it is paying off handsomely as he continues to impress in this year’s FNB Varsity Shield rugby tournament.

“I believe you have to trust your instincts,” said the 22-year-old FNB Madibaz hooker after being named the standout player in the team’s 34-12 victory over Walter Sisulu University in Mdantsane last week.

But, for the frontrower who scored twice in his Player that Rocks performance, that was only one element of the winning trifecta.

“At the same time, you also have to trust your teammates and the game plan.”

This climate of trust across the board proved effective in getting the Madibaz across the line against the dangerous Walter Sisulu team, who threw everything at the Nelson Mandela University side in a desperate bid for victory in front of their home fans.

“Working together was the key for us, and particularly from my point of view,” said the third-year marketing student.

“I felt that in the game against Walter Sisulu I was able to stay focused and work as one with the team, trusting the process and knowing that if we stuck to the plan that it would work out. It just required a bit of patience.”

To have an impact on a rugby match only comes from putting in the hard yards over years, according to Dladla.

Yolisa Dladla - Madibaz crop

Trusting his instincts was key for FNB Madibaz player Yolisa Dladla in his Player that Rocks performance against Walter Sisulu University in Mdantsane last week. Photo: Varsity Shield

“I find pride in those moments because it shows that all the time put into training is worth it.”

That payback was important in keeping the passion burning, he acknowledged.

“I feel it was the sort of achievement which makes me look forward to the next game and inspires me to do even better.”

Dladla, who grew up in the Gqeberha township of Zwide, made his debut for Madibaz rugby at the University Sport South Africa tournament in 2022.

His focus now was to be a major cog in the wheel in Madibaz’s challenge for the Varsity Shield title but, in the long run, he wanted to play the game professionally.

“My aim is to build on my leadership abilities and excel in the core skills needed when it comes to the positions I play. I believe I can add value with my physicality and as a communicator.”

Madibaz are preparing for a massive showdown against Cape Peninsula University of Technology, who is also unbeaten in this year’s competition.

“Besides us both being undefeated, we play a similar style of rugby which will require a high level of mental toughness and physicality.

“I’m excited about it and, playing at home, my message to our supporters is to please keep supporting and showing up. We definitely won’t disappoint.”

The match takes place at the Madibaz Stadium on Thursday, starting at 4pm.