Raashied Conrad

Flyhalf Raashied Conrad excels when everything is on the line and he plans to inject that big-match temperament into his game when he starts the next phase of his career with the Madibaz in Gqeberha.

The 18-year-old pivot, who matriculated from SACS in Cape Town last year, is one of the exciting new players Madibaz coach David Manuel has drafted into the squad for this season’s FNB Varsity Shield tournament.

The opening examination for Mandela University comes in the form of Cape Peninsula University of Technology in an away game on Friday.

One of Conrad’s best memories is the time when he helped the SACS second team to a last-gasp victory over Bishops.

“After one of my teammates went over for a try in the closing minute, I had to kick the conversion to win the match for us,” he explained.

“It wasn’t a difficult kick and I had the confidence of getting it over but it was obviously a satisfying moment to achieve that success.”

It is exactly that mental fortitude the Madibaz will need when they begin the campaign that they hope will once again elevate them into the top-tier Varsity Cup competition.

While Conrad, who attracted the attention of the Madibaz mentor last season, will no doubt add value with his kicking game his ability to run with the ball is uncanny.

Raashied Conrad

Madibaz flyhalf Raashied Conrad will put his kicking and running skills to good use in the FNB Varsity Shield tournament. Madibaz play their first match against Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town on Friday. Photo: Full Stop Communications

Manuel spotted him in Makhanda at the Graeme College Rugby Festival, which also featured SACS, in March last year.

The Cape Town flyhalf was calling the shots in a losing effort – by a single point – against St Andrew’s College and also dictated matters in their 19-5 victory against the hosts.

“Coach David Manuel approached me after our second game . . . and that’s how things started for me to make a move to Madibaz,” Conrad, whose early impression is that he made the right decision, recalled.

He immediately felt comfortable among a group of talented players when he came into the Madibaz fold.

“Then I was exposed to the coaching philosophy and I knew that this was the right place for me.”

While he is still working on his leadership skills, the first-year BA student is determined to add value with his two-dimensional game.

Conrad was initially leaning towards a career in football.

“But then I used to see guys playing rugby and for some reason it just seemed so more interesting.

“I gave it a try and quickly fell in love with the game, and I haven’t really looked back since.”

The Madibaz’ televised season-opener will be played at CPUT. Kick-off is at 7pm.