Schoolboy Spotlight Q&A: Tshepo Motale gets to know the Bishops and WP U18 tighthead prop.

How did you feel when you made the WP U18 team?
It was an unbelievable feeling. It was something I had dreamed about as a kid. It’s a great honour … and a wonderful opportunity to get to learn from other players from surrounding schools during Craven Week.

Were you surprised you made the team?
In a way no, I was more honoured than surprised. I have been part of the WP elite squad this past 12 months and felt my game was always improving.

Were you surprised to be the only player picked from Bishops?
Very surprised, because we had a number of players on form but injuries in WP final trials meant the loss of three players leaving just two of us still involved.

Have you always played tighthead?
No, I played as a loosehead in my earlier years. But I do prefer to play in the front row; it’s where all the action takes place in ultimately determining the outcome of a game.

Who have been you toughest opponents to date?
Paarl Boys High. Beating them 12-11 away is the highlight of my career. Special for us was the way our pack performed. We went into the game as underdogs but won their respect with a gutsy performance.

Being red-carded in the game against Boland Landbou must have been a big downer for you?
Without doubt the low-point of my career. I let my team down and we ended up losing the game. But I’ve learnt from that in that I will not again be sucked in to needle situations but will rather stay composed and focused on the tasks at hand.

How have Craven Week warm-ups gone?
We won both games, against Eastern Province and SWD, comfortably enough … but there’s always room for improvement.

Who’s your favourite player?
Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira. The man’s unbelievably agile for his weight, always involved in the game while never neglecting his primary role in the scrums and rucks.

What are your future ambitions?
Like every young player, I want to play for the Springboks. I’ve begun the process by making the WP junior team, next step is the SA Schools team and from then it’s up to me how far I can go. I want to be a professional rugby player; it’s my passion and my dream.

By Mike de Bruyn