What’s happening in KZN? – Q&A with Liam Furniss

  1. Remind me what you studying – how’s it going – how has the move to online changed your work ethic?
    I am studying my honours in English Literature; and enjoying it. The move to online hasn’t really been too much of a problem; it is a lot of self-reading and it’s just a matter of doing it. We do one Zoom session a week; so it isn’t too bad and of all the degrees; mine is kind of easy to do online.
  2. How are you keeping rugby alive in your life during this “forced downtime” ?
    It’s been weird, especially because this is my last year and then my UCT career is over – it is pretty strange after 5 years. I don’t have any regrets, it has been nice to be away for a little bit, but I am definitely missing it a lot. But getting the motivation to train definitely isn’t as easy as it would be with the guys around.
  3. What advice would you give a young guy entering the club in 2021?
    The rugby club is the type of environment where you can really do so much more than just play rugby, you can really get so involved. I’d say, speak to the older guys, speak to Alum; there is so much to be gained from these guys. At the same time, if you don’t get involved, you can easily just leave with a couple of years of good rugby. I would say get involved in everything you can; on and off the field. UCT is so special, in that off the field; it is so much more than just rugby; there is so much to be learnt about yourself. From an academic point of view, I think a large part of the process is figuring the whole academic side of things for yourself.  You need to find something that you love. Don’t be afraid to change it up as you go along, and I think it is important to know that.
  4. How do you think you have evolved from a school boy rugby player to an Ikey Tiger – what do you think the main differences are?
    The set-up is a semi-professional environment, you train hard at school but when you enter UCT, you start playing real rugby and it is intense. It is a serious level up from the school set; from both a professional point of view and the rugby club in general. We really do have the best coaches in SA and I think it is important to be able to acknowledge and respect that. At school, a lot of the guys are playing with something further in mind, it often takes away from the actual game but at varsity it is professional in and of itself. Just to be able to play in these structures that the coaches set up for you, it is something else.
  5. How do you rate the strength of the Ikey Tigers 1st team rugby team?
    I think this has been one the best sides we have had, I have been involved for 5 years now, between this side and the 2018 side, it is close one. This year in terms of cohesion; I haven’t played in a side like this; the vibe from the first day of pre-season was phenomenal, everyone had the same mindset. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that we were a serious challenge to the tournament. In terms of the strengths of players, it is the best side and team environment that I have been involved in at my time at UCT.
  6. How do you think the change of the head coach made an impact in the team?
    Yes, I think that is difficult one, you can’t take away from the hard work that Essie put in. Say what you want, I always had a good relationship with Essie, I think he is a very good rugby coach. But at the same time I think him and Tom have very different approaches to the game and working together they get the most out of the rugby club. I think Tom was able to tap into Essie’s existing structures and harvest the best we had.
  7. What do you think makes the Ikey Tigers unique?
    I think what makes UCT unique is understanding that it is an incredibly professional environment but at the same time not everyone is trying to play professional rugby. This is different at other universities, at UCT you have the serious professionalism but you also have the guys who don’t want to take their rugby further; however are willing to give everything to the game. It makes a difference; I don’t think something like this exists anywhere else.
  8. Three dream dinner guests – who would you invite and why?
    1. Desmond Tutu: I just love Tutu, I think he has an incredible sense of humour and he has done so much for this country and the world. I just think he is really cool.
    2. Peter Anderson: Without a doubt the most intelligent man I have ever met in my life.
    3. Grandpa Furniss: Second most intelligent man I have ever met in my life.