Springbok Lusanda Dumke Is Ambitious About Both Education And Sport And Cherishes Playing In A Rugby World Cup By Cheryl Roberts

9 Apr

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Springbok Lusanda Dumke turned down a national women’s rugby call-up, a few years ago when she was a student favouring education over national sport. A few years later and still believing in the strength of education and playing rugby, Lusanda Dumke has become a Springbok and attained a national 7’s contact. She has her rugby ambitions firmly set on being a quality rugby player and playing in the 2021 women’s rugby World Cup. Lusanda Dumke is always motivated to play her best rugby in memory of her late parents and very supportive family, she says in this Q and A interview with ‘South African SportsWoman’ publisher, Cheryl Roberts.

Q: You were doing several sports at primary school and then you got to play rugby. How did you get to participate in rugby?
Lusanda Dumke: I started with netball in primary school. I used to play center and I was in the athletics team, participating in cross country.
My teacher, Mr Mntusanto introduced me to rugby and I fell in love with the sport.

Q: Tell us more about your provincial and national representations in rugby.
Lusanda Dumke: In my early high school years I got a call from Mr Mntusanto, telling me to go to the Border under 16 girls trials. I was then selected to join the Border provincial team. The following year I continued to play for the U16 provincial team which I captained for 2 years.
We participated in the national tournament. Thats when I was selected for the U18 SA 7s team that went to Australia for the youth Olympics in 2013.
That same year I got a call from SA u20 and I made the team that went to the U20 Nations Cup in London.
When I got back I then joined the Border women’s senior team and continued playing for the Border u18 team as well.
I attended the Springbok national camps and I was apart of the team since then.
I joined the Springbok womens 7s team last year (2019) after being called to attend their training camps and I was fortunate enough to become one of the contracted players.

Q: You are studying where? What are you studying?
Lusanda Dumke: Yes, currently studying at CPUT doing Public Administration, part time. I was a student at Fort Hare university.

Q: You are both a 7’s and 15’s player. Which format do you prefer?
Lusanda Dumke: For now it has to be 15s as I am still new to the 7s format and I still have a lot to learn. With 15s I have more experience and that’s where I am comfortable.

Q: What do you like about playing rugby?
Lusanda Dumke: It keeps me busy and away from the “bad things” that some people are involved in.
It helps me destress. It has boosted my self esteem and self-confidence and has helped pave the way to my future.

Q: What would you still like to achieve as a rugby player? And to play pro rugby?
Lusanda Dumke: Better my skills as a team player in both 7s and 15s games and become an asset to the team. The 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup is upon us and I would like to make the team that is going to represent SA in New Zealand in 2021.
Playing pro Rugby is definitely on my long term achievements. Hopefully, it comes sooner than expected.

Q: Tell us more about your training schedule?
Lusanda Dumke: I have training 5 times a week with the 7s team. Its hectic but beneficial and most of the time very fun. We train from mornings until the afternoon with off days in between. It varies from skills training, game play and gym sessions. Not forgetting, both field and off field conditioning.

Q: Surely you have your sights set on playing in the 2021 rugby World Cup?
Lusanda Dumke: Most definitely. I think its every rugby players dream to represent their country, especially in the World Cup. I get butterflies just thinking about it. But for now my focus is set on working hard so I can make the World Cup team.

Q: Your most admired rugby players? And sportswomen?
Lusanda Dumke: It has to be Mandisa Williams, former Border and Springbok player. The reason being she is a mother to many girls who play rugby in the Border region and she has contributed tremendously towards me as an individual and as a rugby player. Not forgetting the Springbok captain (before she got injured) Nolusindiso Booi and the SA 7’s Captain Zintle Mpupha. They have been a source of inspiration and strength for me and it is an honour to have started playing with them in the Border provincial team.

Q: What else occupies your time besides studying and sport?
Lusanda Dumke: Definitely shopping and spending quality time with friends and family.

Q: What music do you like? And food?
Lusanda Dumke: I love Gospel and house music; anything that will get me dancing, as well as Mbhaqanga music. I am a meat lover. Anytime with meat in it, I am there. I love having umvubo, (Mielie meal and Amasi). Unfortunately I don’t have a sweet tooth , so I stay away from anything that is sweet.

What motivates you to perform on the rugby field?
Lusanda Dumke: My family, specifically speaking of my late parents. My family is very supportive of my rugby and I make them my motivation, both at practice and during my games.

Q: How would you like to see women’s rugby advancing in South Africa?
Lusanda Dumke: More recognition. More game time. We need to try have the women be more or less on the same level with the men players. Our games need to be televised; not just the national team but provincial teams as well. A touchy subject being that we need to be paid more as national players and get sponsors involved in women’s rugby as a whole. A lot of the SA women rugby players are young and more must be done to ensure they get an education or even just support because juggling school and playing competitive rugby can be a big mission at times. I would love to see 15s players being contracted as that brings stability to a rugby person’s life.

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