01 September 2022 | Story Nonsindiso Qwabe | Photo Supplied
Jaco Theron
Jaco Theron (centre) with his UMS Montélimar rugby club teammates after a match in August.

When Jaco Theron started playing rugby at the age of eight, he never imagined becoming a professional player one day. However, having just completed his first month in Montélimar, France – playing rugby at senior level – Welkom-born Theron said there is no turning back.

Six months into his first year as a Bachelor of Education student at the University of the Free State, Theron was scooped up by France-based rugby club UMS Montélimar on a two-year renewable contract. He relocated in August and said he felt so welcomed by his new team that he started training the same day he landed.

“After the first semester ended, I got a call from my agent who’s based in France and she told me that a club in France was very interested and wanted to sign me,” said Theron.

Theron has his eye on rugby as a long-term career

What is most interesting about Theron’s journey is that rugby was not initially his first love. He was an avid tennis player until the age of 16, after which he decided to focus his attention on rugby. 
“I didn’t choose rugby, it chose me,” he said.

His current club is not his first one. After he completed his matric, he was recruited to play for another France-based rugby club, CS Dinamo in Romania, where he played for a year before returning to South Africa in November 2021.
He said he would like to see himself playing professionally for the next 10 to 15 years. 

“In my current team, and even with the first one, I’ve always played at senior level. During my time with my first time, I was the youngest in the team at age 20, playing against bigger guys who were national champions in their countries. It made me grow up a lot faster.”

Although he only spent six months at Kovsies, he said it was the best six months for him. “Kovsies was exciting for me. After being in Romania, it was good for me academically, socially, and with my sports life. I’ve also built amazing connections.”

Support and a good foundation go a long way

Speaking about the importance of having a good foundation, he gave credit to his high school coach for the role he played in honing his talent and skills. His father Marius was also his biggest role model, he said.

Theron hopes to further his studies through distance learning as he grows his career. He would like to see himself playing for the top leagues and making a name for himself in France, he expressed.

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