UP alumna Libbie Janse van Rensburg lives her Springbok dream

Posted on February 23, 2023

Playing rugby and getting paid is a dream come true for Springbok Women player Libbie Janse van Rensburg.

As a little girl playing rugby with her nephews she dreamed big, but would have laughed if someone had told her she would actually end up playing for the Springboks.

But dreams do come true – and today she’s not only playing for the Boks, but breaking records while doing it. During last year’s Women's World Cup in New Zealand, she became the first player to score 100 points in test rugby for the Springboks. Over ten tests, she notched up 103 points (4 tries, 28 conversions, 8 penalty goals, and 1 drop goal).

“Some days I still find it hard to believe I’m a professional athlete playing rugby,” says Janse van Rensburg, who is responsible for marketing at TuksRugby. “At best I thought I would have to make time to play rugby between working full-time, as [I thought] there was no future for women playing rugby in South Africa."

She finds what’s been happening in women's rugby exciting. “It’s only a matter of time before our Springbok Women teams (XV and Sevens) will start impacting the international rugby scene.”

A lot will depend on the passion and commitment of our younger players, so “they should not rest on their laurels. Getting to play professionally as a rugby player does not mean you don't have to plan for your future. No sports career lasts forever. You have to have a Plan B for the day you retire. That means if you are studying, ensure you get your degree. When I played for the Delta Drone Tuks Sevens side, I took my textbooks with me when we played internationally.”

Janse van Rensburg, who completed an honours degree in sports management at UP, adds, “I can’t remember how many hours I sat at airports completing assignments or studying. One time I had to write an exam before we flew to Dubai. Two days after we got back, I wrote another exam. I don’t regret making sacrifices and being disciplined.”

She says she began playing rugby at a young age, while growing up on a farm in Ellisras in Limpopo. Her nephews were always looking for players to strengthen their teams, and she had no qualms about joining these fiercely contested encounters.

“I was quite a keen rugby player up to the age of 13. At the time, I thought that rugby should not be a sport that girls should be playing. I then started playing ‘girly’ sports like hockey and netball. I was quite good at them.”

Everything changed when she got the opportunity to play touch rugby, which she was immediately a natural at. A highlight for her was representing South Africa at a World Cup tournament in Australia, at which her team finished fourth.

Soon afterwards, she started playing Sevens rugby for Tuks, and it wasn’t long before she was captain of the team. Under her leadership Tuks won various international tournaments, and she raked in a few awards as the best player.

Janse van Rensburg made her Springbok XV debut by playing flyhalf against Kenya. During a test match against Namibia last year she scored 36 points (14 conversions and two tries), the most points scored in a test by a Springbok Women player.

We look forward to seeing which records this record-breaker tackles next!

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