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07 September 2023 | Story Jóhann Thormählen | Photo Stephen Collett
Prof Francis Petersen, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Free State, and Jacques Nienaber, Springbok head coach, met when South Africa played against Wales in Bloemfontein in 2022.

The University of the Free State (UFS) will be well represented on the biggest stage when the 2023 Rugby World Cup takes place in the next two months. UFS alumni count among those on the field, next to the field, and even as part of the officials in France.

The former Shimla Ox Nche represents South Africa at his first World Cup, while the former Kovsies Jacques Nienaber (head coach), Rassie Erasmus (South Africa’s Director of Rugby), Daan Human (scrum coach), and Bongani Tim Qumbu (strength and conditioning coach) are all part of the Springbok team management.

They all called Shimla Park – the home of UFS rugby – home when they started their careers.

Another UFS alumnus, Jaco Peyper, will represent South Africa as one of 12 referees at the World Cup. Peyper, regarded as one of the world’s best referees, will referee his second World Cup opening match when he takes charge of the first game between France and New Zealand (8 September 2023).

Message of support

In a letter to Nienaber, Prof Francis Petersen, UFS Vice-Chancellor and Principal, sent the university’s s support to the Springboks and wished them all the best for the tournament on behalf of the staff and students at the university. 

 “We are extremely proud of the Springboks – especially with you at the helm of the team. As a Kovsie alumnus, we are truly proud of what you have achieved during your career in South African rugby. We are also proud of Rassie, Ox, Daan, Bongani, and Jaco,” Prof Petersen wrote. 

“I wish you and the team all the best in the tournament – I know that Sunday’s opening match will be played with vigour and determination. Like the rest of the country, we as Kovsies are behind you all the way!”

Making a difference

The 2023 World Cup starts on 8 September 2023, with the final on 28 October 2023. 

The Springboks are in Pool B with Scotland, Ireland, Tonga, and Romania. Their first game is against Scotland in Marseille on 10 September 2023, with Nche as replacement prop.

Jaco Swanepoel, Head of Rugby at KovsieSport, says the UFS is very proud of the former Kovsies representing their country.

“For us, it is exceptional to watch the Springboks play and know that there are so many guys involved,” he says.

“It is also our goal as a university to send people into society to be involved on a bigger stage and to make a difference. In this case, a big difference in sport. It is very special for us.”

Nienaber studied physiotherapy, was the Shimlas’ physio while studying, and later progressed to coach.

He took over the Springbok reigns from Erasmus in January 2020.

Erasmus – who steered South Africa to victory as coach in the 2019 World Cup – and Human both represented the Shimlas and Springboks.

Qumbu studied Human Movement Science and worked with the UFS Young Guns team while Nche was playing for the side.

From UFS Young Guns to Boks

Nche was part of the Shimlas that won the 2015 Varsity Cup and the UFS Young Guns that were crowned champions in 2014. He was named KovsieSport Junior Sportsman of the Year in 2015.

André Tredoux, the Shimlas’ head coach, scouted Nche as a promising youngster from HTS Louis Botha and coached him with the Free State U19 team, UFS Young Guns, and Shimlas.

“Ox has always been an unbelievable character and great person,” Tredoux says.

“What I noticed from a young age was his explosiveness and speed, but his work ethic is what set him apart from others.

“We are very proud of him and all the former Kovsies who are part of the Springbok management. We know they will make us proud.”

    News Archive

    Another opportunity to take part in Success Week
    2010-07-08

    Student Development and Success (SDS) at the University of the Free State (UFS) is focused on helping students succeed as lifelong learners. To accomplish this, SDS has designed Success Week to provide students with the necessary skills and information to help them succeed in their studies.

    The success of the first-semester orientation programme has led to the decision of hosting a Get.Success@UFS 2010: Reloaded programme from 19 to 29 July 2010.

    Students who previously attended the programme thoroughly enjoyed the programme and learnt a lot from it. It also became clear that they needed more support. The aim of the Reloaded programme is to enhance students’ thinking processes regarding their personal as well as career development. It is open to all students. The focus of the presentations will not only be on helping students to make a success of their studies but also to provide those students who are completing their studies with useful knowledge and skills to plan for their career pathways.

    The Get.Success@UFS 2010: Reloaded programme starts on Monday 19 July with a launch where Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, will address students and motivate them once again for the second half of the 2010 academic year. Thereafter the UFS staff will compete against the SRC in the 5-on-a-side soccer tournament that will take place at Pellies Park. Members of Bloemfontein Celtic will also be present. Students can spend the day participating in the mini soccer tournament or just come and support their teams.
    This is an excellent opportunity for students to make new friends and spend the day relaxing before the start of the second academic term. There will be prizes for the winning teams as well as for the best war cry and the most spirited team and fan base. There will also be funky give-aways for the spectators.

    For the rest of the week there will be three interactive sessions which students can attend to help equip themselves with the necessary skills to succeed in their studies and future endeavours. The sessions include: Game Plan for Success, How to Build your Fortune, CV Writing, and Job Hunting.
    Blackboard training will be hosted during the two weeks to show students how to effectively use this medium in their studies. There will be two opportunities for students to visit and be taken on a tour through the library to learn about the services offered.

    All information and detailed programmes are available at www.ufs.ac.za/getsuccessufs .


    Media Release
    Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
    Assistant Director: Media Liaison
    Tel: 051 401 2828
    Cell: 078 460 3320
    E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
    8 July 2010
     

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