Schoolboy Spotlight Q&A: Chad Mathews gets to know the former Rondebosch No 8, who is doing a post-matric year at Kingswood.

Why did you decide to go to Kingswood?
I wanted to play rugby for a year, but my mom suggested I study. We do Unisa subjects at Kingswood so it was a compromise.

What’s been the highlight of your rugby career?
Being part of the Rondebosch team that beat Bishops 16-10 last year, and earning a Western Province contract.

What are the strengths of your game?
Running with the ball in hand and being strong in the tackle. I enjoy the physical side of the game.

What do you need to work on?
I’d like to be quicker off the line in defence and adjust to the new law interpretations at the breakdown.

What’s your earliest rugby memory?
Playing in the back garden with our neighbours when I was in Grade 2. But the first team I played for was Rondebosch U14C. I worked my way up from there and loved every minute of it.

Has rugby always been your game?
Yes, although I played a bit of cricket, and I enjoy golf to relax.

Who do you want to emulate?
Definitely Schalk Burger, who runs well at defences and has a great work rate. He covers a lot of ground and is always involved. George Smith is also a great player.

Which teams do you support?
I’ve been going to Newlands since I was 4, so the Stormers are my team. I’ve grown up with them and watched them my whole life. I also support the Springboks, like most South Africans.

Your toughest opponent?
Grey High are always a tough side to play [Kingswood lost 17-5 to them on Saturday]. But we haven’t beaten St Andrew’s in 16 years, so if we can pull that off it’ll be great.

Your favourite team to be a part of?
The Rondebosch 1st XV that I captained last year. We were a really tight unit. I learnt a lot about leading a side, and it was an awesome experience as we beat some top teams.

What are your future rugby ambitions?
I’d like to go to UCT [University of Cape Town] next year, and get into the Varsity Cup mix. The tournament has a great profile and it will be a good way of getting my name out there. My ultimate goal is to play for the Springboks, but I’m more focused on the steps I need to take to get there: the WP age-group sides, Western Province Vodacom and Currie Cup teams, and the Stormers.

What are your goals outside of rugby?
I’d like to study and get a degree. I’m interested in pursuing law and business science, but rugby is definitely the focus for now.

By Rory Keohane