The King Edward VII School second XV made a conscious decision this year that they were going to be a team in their own right, with their own identity, and that they didn’t want to be compared to the first team all the time.
It was an initiative led by the captain, Bontle Ndlovu, who is a TAG Foundation boy. “We adopted the slogan ‘our team, our year’, he explains , “and vowed to be the 1st team’s greatest supporters, but to play as well as we can and not to be in their shadow.”
It’s been a good strategy, he says. The team has done quite well, and they are enjoying their rugby. “I am here to develop as a person,” he said, “and part of that is to be a good rugby player, and that’s what I am concentrating on. I want to play for the Reds next year and am prepared to do the hard work required, I feel I owe it to the people who saw potential in me and who believe in me enough to make it possible for me to attend a school like KES.”
It’s not just about the glory either, he said. “I play for the experience, and for the love of the game. For my love of the school and to pay back those who brought me here as a rugby player.”
Bontle attended Uitsig Laerskool in Centurion and was spotted at the Primary Schools Craven Week in Durban and invited to attend an Open Day at the school. He was asked to apply and when he was accepted he was offered a TAG bursary. “I understand that it’s not just about rugby,” he says, “and that I have to apply myself to my academic work too.”
He describes himself as an average academic and he is struggling in one or two subjects but is getting help in extra classes after school.
“My parents have warned me not to make rugby my whole life because something might happen that stops me from playing,” he said. “I’ve got a knee injury at the moment and I’m not playing, so that has made me think about it and I am making an extra effort in my school work.”
Bontle is a boarder in Buxton House and he is very happy there. “I’ve made lots of friends and the hostel is the place where you learn the value of respect, where you experience the KES brotherhood and where you get to appreciate the traditions of the school.”
It’s also where he developed his philosophy of sport and his leadership, which shows in his approach to being the captain of the second XV – our team, our year.