Posted on May 16, 2021
It is easy to think a try is a try, but there are times it is that little bit more special to dive over watching the numbers on the scoreboard change.
For Louritz van der Schyff, Sunday, 4 April 2021 was such a special occasion. When he scored Tuks's first try against Wits during the FNB Varsity Cup, he must have had a thrill as well as a sense of relief. His try had put Tuks in the lead. It was also a near personal milestone. For the first time in three years, he scored.
He is seen by many as one of the best centres that have yet to fulfil his potential. It is not his fault that he has not done so. Van der Schyff has been unlucky. He sustained torn ligaments in his knee twice since 2017. It meant he made more friends in medical consulting rooms than he would have wanted and not getting to do what he wants. That is to play rugby.
"Being side-lined was not all bad. At least, I had time to finish my BCom studies. I am now doing a Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship at Tuks. The time away from the game allowed me to reflect on what I want to achieve as a rugby player and how I should go about it."
On Thursday, 8 April, when Tuks faced UJ in their second Varsity Cup, it was a case of van der Schyff switching allegiance. The last time he was in action in the Varsity Cup tournament, he played for UJ. He is, however, a "boykie" from Pretoria. It was at Affies where he got to fine-tune his skills as an inside centre.
Being about 1.88 metres tall and weighing nearly 100kg, one would expect van der Schyff to be all about brute power, but he is not. When doing an internet search, it becomes clear he is near being the complete centre. He can sidestep and dummy, has good acceleration with ball in hand, and when needed, he can flatten an opponent through brute force. To top it all, he can tackle.
Van der Schyff prides himself as a forever student of the game. To him playing as an inside centre will never be about brawn over brain. He believes an inside centre got to be tactical savvy.
"You got to create opportunities. It means getting the ball across the advantage line building the momentum. If you can't do that, everything falls flat. Jean de Villiers was, as far as I am concerned, one of the best. He is my mentor. I try and emulate what he did. Actually, I want to be better than he was, but it will take hard work. I shall also be forever grateful to Jean. He played a significant role when I was rehabilitating my knee."
Van der Schyff's rugby CV is impressive. He captained the Bulls at Craven Week and was selected as SA Schools captain in 2016. He also played for the Lions under-19-side.
On 26 April 2021, he took charge of the captaincy when he led Tuks to win 31-25 against UWC in Round 5 of the FNB Varsity Cup.
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