A walk down memory lane with former NWU Eagles captain Sampie Swiegers

Ruan “Sampie” Swiegers, the former captain of the 2023 FNB Varsity Cup champions, the North-West University (NWU) Eagles, takes us down memory lane. “A lot of memories come to mind when I think of having studied at the NWU for seven years. I know every part of Potchefstroom, the good and the bad,” said Ruan. Apart from roaming around the lively Potchefstroom Campus or enjoying a braai with friends at the residence, Ruan says he will forever treasure the memory of representing the NWU on the rugby field.

This Human Movement Science and Psychology graduate, who also completed his Diploma in Business Management, says he had not played any provincial school rugby prior to joining the Eagles. Sampie’s incredible journey began when he competed in the first years’ rugby tournament for his then place of residence, Laureus men’s residence. In 2020 Ruan participated in his first Varsity Cup and was named team captain, and in 2023 he led the Eagles to Varsity Cup glory after defeating UCT Ikeys 27-25 at the Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds on Monday, 17 April.

“The Varsity Cup victory in 2023, which I shared with the world’s best teammates, must rank as my greatest accomplishment. Without them the victory would not have been possible,” says Ruan.

Swiegers accomplished a remarkable feat by moving to the land where the sun rises when he joined the Pumas, having risen through the ranks and having showcased his passion for the game. Ruan found that the move from Varsity Cup and residence rugby to professional rugby was not as challenging as one might have expected.

“The world-class facilities at the NWU, together with the wonderful coaches, made things easier for me to adjust to the professional level of rugby. I am where I am today because of my hard work, and I am putting in a lot of extra sessions to fulfil the requirements that the union has set for me. This helps me to step up to the professional level of the game,” he says.

He explains that his personal goals for the season are to be fit and ready to play whenever he is selected, and to be better in each game. “I want to be the best I can be and to serve the team in every way possible. I want to be a good teammate, but – most importantly – a good friend to those around me,” he adds.

The 2024 FNB Varsity Cup has reached its halfway mark and Ruan backs the Eagles to defend their title. He advises the boys to have confidence in themselves and cherish every moment of their journey. “Believe in the guy next to you, believe in the coaches, believe in the system and, most of all, leave everything out on the field.”

“Future rugby stars should never give up op on their goals. They should find a good balance between playing sport and enjoying life and should never lose faith in themselves,” concludes Ruan.


Ruan “Sampie” Swiegers,

Submitted on Fri, 03/22/2024 - 08:26