Thursday, 29 September 2022

Rugby player earns provincial colours

PROUD MOMENT: Matthew Coenraad, who has been invited to join the Western Province U/21 team,  is proud of himself for this achievement. PROUD MOMENT: Matthew Coenraad, who has been invited to join the Western Province U/21 team, is proud of himself for this achievement.

Matthew Coenraad, who has been drafted into the Western Province (WP) U/21 team, has set his eyes on wearing the green and gold colours of the Springboks one day.

Following his invitation to join the Western Province U/21, Matthew says: “It's an opportunity to take my rugby to the next level and learn and improve my skill set… I am quite proud of myself for this achievement, but I also know that it's just a stepping stone to go to the next level of rugby.” He also concedes that his career journey has been “very up and down.”

“It's tough because you always try to improve yourself and stay disciplined. I'd say what helped me a lot in my career so far is the support I've had from my father because he always pushes me and tells me that I can achieve whatever I put my mind to and also all the coaches who've I worked with  throughout the year and have helped me improve.”

The Kuils River-born 21-year-old CPUT rugby player attended many different primary schools but he finished his primary school career in Pretoria at Laerskool Doringkloof. After finishing high school, Matthew went to the Western Province Rugby Academy in 2020 before joining CPUT in 2021.

“Well funnily enough, my mother didn't want me to play rugby in the beginning and my family pretty much had to beg her to let me [play] and I started playing in Grade 4. I just wanted to play rugby because I remember sitting with my father watching the Springboks play and I just wanted to play,” Matthew continues.

“Just sitting and watching rugby with [my] father made me love the game and the more I played the more my passion for the game grew.”

He is motivated to play rugby by the constant need to be better and to just play the game. “The motivation to better myself as a person as well as all the important people in my life.”

Winning the Varsity Shield as a first-year student for CPUT in 2021 is one of his best memories of his career.  However, this didn’t come without any challenges. “I've faced many challenges from being told I'm too small to being told I'm overweight and  this dips in confidence and during the outbreak of covid-19 I wanted to stop playing but I had people in my life that kept me going and pushing through.”

Matthew has many people who are mentor figures in his life. “To name a few, Alastair Theys, Head Coach: CPUT, Jason Hector, Coach: WP and Western Province Rugby Academy, Jerome Paarwater: Coach: WP, Paul Anthony: Director of rugby: Pretoria Boys’ High. All of these men have helped me grow as a player and pushed me to get be where I am now.”

Matthew continues: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.”

He is also optimistic that CPUT can expect some good rugby and hopefully another Varsity Shield trophy in 2023 and promotion to the Varsity Cup.  “My message to CPUT community is to never give up and always work towards your goals and dreams because if you don't put in the work no one else will.”

Written by Aphiwe Boyce