Gareth Duncan - MyPlayers.co.za
Pretoria - Bulls centre Dries Swanepoel wants to make a difference on and off the field as he balances rugby with a business career in finance.
The Bulls named Swanepoel in an exciting squad for their overseas tour, which will see the Pretoria-based team tackle the Force (April 29), Brumbies (May 6) and Waratahs (May 14) in Australia.
It will be Swanepoel’s first overseas tour with the Bulls, having previously featured at Under-19, Under-21 and Vodacom Cup levels since starting his professional career in 2012. He’s also played two seasons of Varsity Cup for Tuks and earned national honours when he played for the Junior Springboks in 2013.
The 23-year-old is looking forward to the new experiences.
“With it being my first overseas tour, I’m definitely excited. I’ve watched so many classic overseas Super Rugby matches on television, so this is a dream come true,” Swanepoel told MyPlayers.
“We want to win all our matches on tour. If we could leave Australia with two wins, we’d be happy too. Our overall goal is qualifying for the Super Rugby playoffs and a good overseas tour will put us in a good position to achieve this.
“We also want to continue our great brand of rugby that we’re playing this season. The players are enjoying this more attacking style of play. We are preparing very well to ensure we continue this momentum overseas. The Bulls have implemented a great approach, which includes professionalism and fun. They ensure all the structures are in place for the players to perform at their best.”
While Swanepoel is set to achieve new rugby milestones during Super Rugby, he’s excelling off the field too.
He recently graduated with Honours in Marketing Management at the University of Pretoria. He will also start an internship at financial advisors Efficient Advise, where he will be trained by senior staff. Former Springbok and Bulls lock, Victor Matfield, is also involved at the company.
“Studies and financial planning are two things that are very important for me,” explained Swanepoel. “When I played Varsity Cup rugby for Tuks, I lived in a student house and found myself surrounded by other students, who were not involved in rugby.
“It was great being able to speak to people outside the rugby community and hearing their outlook on life. This motivated me to get a qualification behind my name, so when I do retire one day, I could enter a second career. My parents also never pressured me to focus on one thing - whether it was rugby or my studies. They supported all my decisions, which helped me a lot.
“I’ll now start a part-time career in finance. I will spend my off days at Financial Advise. I’m also continuing my studies this year to get my financial credentials and qualifications.”
Swanepoel added that financial planning is important for all rugby players, especially juniors.
“Many young players have the wrong mindset. They only believe they need to start saving once they get their senior contracts and earn more money. It’s very important to start saving as young as possible.”
Bulls touring squad:
Trevor Nyakane, Lizo Gqoboka, Pierre Schoeman, Marcel
van der Merwe, Werner Kruger, Adriaan Strauss (captain), Bandise Maku,
Jaco Visagie, Jason Jenkins, Marvin Orie, RG Snyman, Lappies
Labaschagne, Jannes Kirsten, Arno Botha, Roelof Smit, Hanro Liebenberg
Piet van Zyl, Rudy Paige, Francois
Brummer, Tian Schoeman, Jan Serfontein, Jesse Kriel, Dan Kriel, Dries
Swanepoel, Jamba Ulengo, Travis Ismaiel, SP Marais
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