Eastern Cape rugby has a new face


Few remember the Mighty Elephants, less still when they were mighty. The Eastern Province rugby franchise, which rebranded itself as the Southern Kings for its short-lived upgrade to Super Rugby, was once a powerhouse. After a courageous season this year, the team has become an unfortunate casualty of the competition’s downsizing. But despite the poor luck of its flagship team, Theresa le Roux believes that Eastern Province rugby can rise again.

Le Roux is the Director of the FNB Madibaz Rugby Club, Nelson Mandela University’s charges in the Varsity Cup. Recent years have seen the Port Elizabeth-based team string together some impressive runs of form, without fully delivering on the promise of the area’s talent. Le Roux has been brought in to change that. Having experienced tremendous success as manager of the university’s decorated netball team, taking charge of the men’s rugby team is a personal challenge.

“To change the face of rugby in the Eastern Cape would be a big feature,” she says. “Not only would this lead to successfully reigniting the reputation of rugby in this province, but more importantly the change would have been implemented by a woman.” Le Roux has been welcomed into the culture of the proud varsity team that she hopes to influence with her wealth of experience in sports management. Along the way, she hopes to inspire more women to pursue careers in rugby. Everyone should have the chance to take part in this sport that is intrinsically linked to the heart of our nation.