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Queenstown hails ‘tall but tiny’ Bok

Posted : 20 August 2012

By Barbara Hollands

HIS MOTHER was opposed to her “tall but tiny” son taking up rugby at his Queenstown school because she feared he would be injured, but now she is Lwazi Mvovo’s biggest fan.

Mthatha-born Mvovo, 26, who joined the Sharks in 2008, will play left wing in the Springbok team today in the clash against Argentina in the opening round of the Castle Rugby Championships at  Newlands. Mvovo said he and his team mates had prepared “very well” and were set to win.

Mvovo, who attended boarding school at Maria Louw High in Queenstown, said he was a late starter in the sport and only joined the school’s team in Grade 11, which is where his dream to wear the green and gold jersey began.

“I played soccer till Grade 10 and dreamed of joining Bafana Bafana one day, but most of my friends played rugby, so I joined the team in Grade 11.”

But his decision to swap a round ball for an egg-shaped one did not go down well with his mother, Mthatha high school teacher Nomaorlando Mvovo.

“She was not into me switching to rugby. She saw me in Bafana Bafana and thought rugby was too physical for me. But when she saw me play, she supported me from day one and is now my number one fan. She follows the game and calls me after every match, although her fears did come true when I was playing a club game in Mthatha and ended up in St Mary’s Hospital with concussion after a tackle.”

Speaking from Mthatha, where the Mvovo family still live, Nomaorlando echoed her son’s words, saying she had feared her son would get injured.

“He was a very good soccer player and sprinter in athletics at school, but when he said he was going to play rugby I said he was too tall and tiny and told him rugby was for muscled people.

Queenstown resident and fellow high school rugby team player Siyasanga Gwe said he had approached Mvovo to play.

“He interested us because he was a good athlete, but when it was time to attend practices he would disappear because even though he wanted to play, a part of him was a bit scared.

“But when he got into it, he really enjoyed it and became an asset and our team went from strength to strength.”

Describing Queenstown as “a small town with a big rugby culture”, Gwe said everybody was very proud of Mvovo.

This is a shortened version of an article that appeared in the print edition of the Weekend Post on Saturday, August 18, 2012.

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