With a passion for rugby always part of his make-up, FNB Madibaz rugby player Kehan Myburgh used the disruptive nature of the Covid pandemic as a catalyst to take his game to another level.
The 20-year-old fullback from Gqeberha underlined his potential last week when he was named the Player that Rocks in a FNB Varsity Shield match against Cape Peninsula University of Technology despite his side going down 35-32.
Although he had been introduced to a range of sports as a youngster, he recalled how he fell in love with the game when the only toy he wanted to play with was his rugby ball.
He started taking his rugby seriously in Grade 11 and, even though Covid-19 disrupted the season in his matric year in 2020, was determined to stay focused and make a go of it after school.
“By taking rugby away, Covid-19 actually motivated me to work harder,” said the third-year B.Com student, who acknowledged that there had been some important lessons on his journey.
“I have learnt that there are going to be tough times. Whether it is an injury, not making the team or making mistakes on the field, it is going to happen.
“What counts the most is how you react. Do you let it get the better of you or do you get up and try again?”
As a financial planner in the making, Myburgh appreciated the importance of setting goals while understanding the path that would take him there.
He ticked a box when he made his Varsity Shield debut this season after being promoted from the Madibaz Young Guns. Now he eyed the USSA 15s, USSA or Varsity Sports sevens and Eastern Province U21 squads.
“But, really, my aim is to be consistent with my performances and to enjoy every opportunity I get. This, I feel, will give me a good chance of reaching my goals for the year.”
He knew he was far from the finished article but appreciated the strides his game had made during his time with the Madibaz.
“The coaches have taught me so much on how to become a better fullback or flyhalf and just a better player in general. I have learnt so much about the game after school.
One element of his game he had improved since joining the university setup was how and when to find space on attack. He felt territory and possession were “very important nowadays”.
As his favourite positions indicated, his strengths were his kicking – both tactical and at goal – and ball distribution.
“There are aspects of my defence I can really work on – like making more dominant tackles and being better or faster at the breakdown.”
He enjoyed a dream Shield debut after crossing the line twice against Tshwane University of Technology.
“That was definitely a highlight and another was running out of the tunnel at the Madibaz Stadium against CPUT and seeing such a huge and awesome crowd cheering us on.
“It is an immense honour to represent this university and play among the special men beside me.”
Myburgh believed they could bounce back from the agonising loss in the last game when they play Rhodes in Makhanda on Thursday.
“On a personal level and collectively as a team, we had a hard look at ourselves to identify the mistakes made against CPUT.
“The main challenge is to stay in the game for the full 80 minutes. I believe we can achieve that this week.”
The match starts at 7pm.