Ruth on a mission to tackle some rugby myths

Ruth Weasels will be representing South Africa at the tag rugby World Cup in Australia. Picture Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency/ANA

When it comes to rugby, Ruth Wessels will never sell herself short as she takes pride in what she is able to bring to the game.

The 20-year-old is also a big dreamer who wants to leave a lasting impression in a sport seen by many as a man’s game.

Even as a child she wanted to be one of the women who played a role in challenging that myth.

Understandably, her parents were worried about their little girl choosing to play such a physical game.

The flyhalf/scrumhalf represents UCT but she is involved in more than one form of rugby as she also plays touch rugby for the Western Cape and represents the SA mixed team in tag rugby.

“The best thing is that I come from a family of sporty people, so even though they didn’t take it well that I wanted to play rugby they had to understand as people who also played sport.

“So I started with touch rugby and since there’s minimum contact there they were fine but they supported me a lot when I transitioned to real rugby,” she says.

It all started with her following her brother, Brentino, to his rugby sessions. Soon she was old enough to catch and pass the rugby ball and she never looked back.

“My brother played a big role in my rugby career.

“And he was very patient with me in trying to help me get my techniques right.

“There is a lot I want to achieve in this game.

“Playing for WP 15s side is my main goal for now but in the long run I want to also play abroad, preferably in New Zealand.”

Not to be mistaken as an All Blacks fan, she says she is unquestionably a supporter of the green and gold, but feels New Zealand have structures in place for women’s rugby that would allow her to spread her wings even further.

“It’s so easy to be distracted in our surroundings, there are lots of social ills that may have a bad influence in our life, so having the kind of support from my family when I chose this game made me more hungry to succeed.

“It was this sport that taught me discipline and a healthy lifestyle, it gave me a positive perspective in how I live my life, so I would like to be that positive influence to others.”

The third-year film and media student lists a 2019 tour to Ireland with SA tag rugby mixed team and gold medal while representing WC in touch rugby earlier this year as her highlights so far.

Asked who she models her game after, she lists Seabelo Senatla and Cheslyn Kolbe.

Senatla because of not flaunting his skills and silently going about his business and Kolbe who is just a dynamite when taking on the field, she says.

“When I’m done playing I want to be involved in programmes that open doors for other kids wanting opportunities in rugby,” she said.