One of Tuks’ most outstanding players in their impressive run to the final has been Flank, Warwick Tecklenberg. The loose forward has put in several top class performances this season and has been shortlisted as one of three candidates for the Varsity Cup “Player That Rocks” for 2011. Tecklenberg has not gone unnoticed but few know that the 24 year old has spent the majority of his 5 year spell at Tuks out of action due to injury. In last year’s Varsity Cup, Tecklenberg sustained an injury which kept him out for the entire year and threatened his career. He has comeback stronger than ever to become one of Tuks’ key players. Tecklenberg spoke exclusively to Perdeby about his comeback, the current Varsity Cup campaign, and his plans for the future.

This if your first full season back after recovering from a series of serious knee injuries. How long were you out for and how tough was it being out of action for so long? Well it’s been injuries for the last three years, I first started playing for Tuks in my second year out of school (2007) and then I got injured [playing] against Maties. [Afterwards I got] injured again and then I was out for a long time. I came back again but got injured last year against Pukke and missed the rest of the season.

When you were injured, did you ever imagine that you would come back and become such a key player for Tuks? Not actually, to be honest I just wanted to play again. There were times when I thought I wasn’t ever going to play again. I’m just enjoying being back.

Was it difficult to remain motivated and to train when you were injured? Yeah it was, but I obviously had an end goal. I believed that I’d make it and that the Lord has a plan for me. It was tough, but the wheel has turned I guess.

How long have you been playing for Tuks and what do you study? I’ve been playing for Tuks first team since 2007. I matriculated in 2005. In 2006 I played for the academy and the Falcons u19 side. I study sports science.

 It has been a great Varsity Cup season for you, having been named “Player That Rocks” in two games so far, against Pukke and UJ respectively. What has contributed to your outstanding performances? It’s always been a team effort. The team effort motivated me, on the day things just went well I guess.

Tuks have played some memorable games so far this season. Which game has been the highlight for you? All the games we have won have been highlights. The semi-final against UJ stands out because now we’re in the final.

Which game or opponent did you find toughest in this year’s Varsity Cup? The semi-final against UJ was pretty tough but there’s been a few, particularly against Ikeys. In that game we needed to show more discipline – we gave away too many penalties. We kept them in the game with penalties. We scored 3 tries and they scored 1. Both UJ games were the most physical and therefore the toughest.

You have been named as one of 3 shortlisted nominees for the Varsity Cup Player That Rocks. How does it feel to receive such recognition and how would it feel if you were to receive the award?  It’s a great privilege and honour, it’s something special. I didn’t ever expect it, but I’m not too worried about it at the moment. Our priority is to win the Varity Cup. We’re all training as hard as we can. I’ve never trained this hard before; we’re working really hard as a team.

Looking ahead to the final, what are your feelings about the game? I feel that we have a good chance of winning. Tuks must play to their strengths and play as a team, and then we can play our best.

Two of your three losses this season have come at home, so is playing the final at home really that much of an advantage? It’s a big advantage playing at home. We love the home support. However we tend to play well home and away.

What are your goals for the rest of your time at Tuks, and what are your goals and hopes for your rugby career? We want to win the Varsity Cup and see what happens from there. I want to become a professional rugby player, so we’ll see what happens. The ultimate goal would be to play for the Springboks. For now though I’m just focused on playing my best rugby for Tuks.

Be sure to visit and back your boytjies Tecklenberg by voting for him as the Player That Rocks

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