Rugby Championship

Caroline Rupert: Willemse’s Bok selection a dream come true

2018-08-17 13:11
Damian Willemse (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Caroline Rupert, the person who provided a bursary for Damian Willemse to attend Paul Roos Gymnasium, says she is immensely proud of the young rugby player’s achievements.

READ: Damian Willemse to become Paul Roos' first Springbok player of colour

The 20-year-old Willemse is set to make his Springbok debut after being included on the bench for Saturday’s Rugby Championship encounter against Argentina in Durban.

If he takes to the field, Willemse will also become the first ever player of colour from Paul Roos to play a Test for the Springboks.

He will become Paul Roos' 53rd Bok, with the Stellenbosch-based school having produced the greatest number of Springboks in South Africa.

Rupert, who is the daughter of renowned businessman Johann Rupert, helped make the young Stormers star’s dream a reality when she spotted his talents at a young age.

Rupert spoke exclusively to Sport24 on Friday where she explained the process behind getting Willemse enrolled at the prestigious school.

In fact, Rupert arranged for several boys from the Somerset West Methodist Primary School to attend Paul Roos.

Willemse’s older brother, Ramone Samuels, who currently plays hooker for the Stormers, was also one of the beneficiaries.

“When they were under-11, I used to go and help out there with the coaching,” Rupert said.

The youngsters were coached by Winston Baard, a friend of Rupert.

“I used to go and help out with them twice a week while Winston was coaching the team. He was always very supportive and quite happy to help me coach the kids,” she added.

Rupert said the players were flourishing under Baard’s coaching, which gave her the idea.

“They won so many games on the trot. So I got this idea that I really wanted all 17 kids in that team to get into Paul Roos. I approached Paul Roos who got scouts to come and watch the games,” Rupert said.

She added that it was “quite a process” to get all 17 kids enrolled at Paul Roos, but they somehow managed.

“Paul Roos was quite over-subscribed. But somehow we managed to get (all 17 of) them in. It was some kind of miracle," she said.

Rupert added that seeing Willemse make his Springbok debut on Saturday would be “a dream come true”.

“When we started this journey it wasn’t in our wildest expectations. It’s really quite something... beyond our dreams.”

Saturday’s Test at Kings Park is scheduled for 17:05.


South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Makazole Mapimpi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Siya Kolisi (captain), 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Lionel Mapoe, 23 Damian Willemse


15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro

Substitutes: 16 Diego Fortuny, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Tomas Lavanini, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Juan Cruz Mallia


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Saturday, 27 July 2019
New Zealand v South Africa, Westpac Stadium 09:35
Australia v Argentina, Suncorp Stadium 11:45
Saturday, 10 August 2019
Australia v New Zealand, Perth Oval 11:45
Argentina v South Africa, Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena 21:40
Saturday, 21 September 2019
New Zealand v South Africa, Yokohama International Stadium 11:45
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will win next weekend's rematch in Wellington?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.