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03 October 2019 | Story Ruan Bruwer | Photo Gallo Images
Lappies Labuschagne
Lappies Labuschagné got his first rugby contract with the Cheetahs after impressing for the Shimlas. He is now playing for Japan – the first Shimla to do so.

Former Shimla Lappies Labuschagné made his ex-coach Jaco Swanepoel proud when he was recently included in the Japan Rugby World Cup (RWC) squad.

Labuschagné, made his debut for Japan on 28 September as captain shortly before the tournament, which is currently under way there, then led Japan to a historic win over Ireland, the world’s fourth-ranked team.


Labuschagné has been playing his rugby in Japan since 2016. Previously, he played for the Shimlas between 2009 and 2012 and captained the team in 2012. At that time, Swanepoel was the head coach of the Shimlas. 

“I’m extremely glad that he got his chance to play in the World Cup, just to prove that he can compete at that level. It was wonderful to see the leadership we knew he had on Saturday,” Swanepoel said.

He believes Labuschagné was unlucky not to have played for the Springboks. In 2013, he was called up to the South African squad, but failed to force his way into the congested Springbok back row. 

“Subjectivity in team selection was the reason that he wasn’t considered. He deserved to be selected and he worked extremely hard. I don’t know of a player who worked harder than him. Nobody wanted to work out with him in the gymnasium, because he always put in extra effort. That made him special.”

Swanepoel describes Labuschagné as a “very special person”.

“Lappies the human being is perhaps a little bit better than Lappies the rugby player.”  

“Hopefully we can get a Japan rugby jersey from him to display in the Shimla room soon,” Swanepoel added.

Labuschagné isn’t the only former Kovsie at the RWC. In the Springbok management team, Rassie Erasmus (head coach), Jacques Nienaber (defence coach), and Vivian Verwant (physiotherapist) are also former Kovsies.


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Young researcher from UFS on SAYAS executive committee
2014-10-28



Dr Aliza le Roux
Photo: Sonia Small
Dr Aliza le Roux from the Department of Zoology and Entomology on the UFS’s Qwaqwa Campus is one of ten young scientists who was recently inaugurated as a new member of the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS). Not only was she inducted into the society this past October, but she was also elected to serve on the executive committee for SAYAS.

Dr Le Roux’s research focus is on cognitive ecology, behavioural ecology and zoology. She has expressed her excitement about the new position, and is already developing new ideas with her new colleagues on drawing more young people into the South African scientific community.

This position provides a regional and international platform to raise the profile of science in general, and Le Roux hopes to be active in SAYAS’s new mentorship collaboration with the New York Academy of Sciences, and to introduce new methods of scientific outreach using social media. Inspired by the students on the Qwaqwa Campus, Dr Le Roux hopes to specifically target relatively isolated rural campuses in SAYAS’s activities.

Prof Corli Witthuhn, Vice-Rector: Research at the UFS, said, “Aliza le Roux is an outstanding young scientist on our Qwaqwa Campus. I am very excited about the young researchers on our Qwaqwa Campus with Aliza as one of the leaders, and I am looking forward to what else they can achieve in the next five years.”

SAYAS was launched in October 2011 with 20 founding members as a mechanism to propel South Africa’s young scientists to fully participate in relevant local and international research and development agendas. It provides a national platform where leading young scholars from all disciplines in the country can interact, and also access international networking and career development opportunities.

SAYAS contributes primarily to the achievement of the national strategic priority of strengthening the skills and human-resource base of the country. Its particular niche is to focus on strengthening high-level skills among young scientists and the promotion of scientific excellence.


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