Witsie has overcome several hurdles on the road to professional rugby.  

Winning Junior Springbok of the year and making his senior debut for the Lions are just two of this rugby player’s greatest achievements so far in his young career.  

In 2020, at the age of just 19, Henco van Wyk was selected to play for Johannesburg rugby club, the Lions. Rising through the ranks, he got the opportunity to play for the Junior Springboks, the under-20 division for the national team, in the following year.   

Upon achieving these goals Van Wyk says, “I was very happy and thankful. I worked very hard for what I achieved,” but says he still needs to do more to grow and develop himself as a rugby player. 

The game that he plays today is something that is still influenced by the experience and coaching he received at Wits. When he first joined the team, he felt welcomed and could feel the team’s professionalism which is something Van Wyk still carries with him.  

Currently doing a BA in business management, Van Wyk owes his rugby success and prowess to his family. “I grew up in a family that loves rugby and I have two older brothers that also played rugby. [I am] very thankful for my rugby talent,” he says. 

However, the road to professional rugby has not been an easy one. The 21-year-old has faced some tough challenges along the way. Playing Varsity Cup for the first time really challenged him and pushed him out of his comfort zone. The covid-19 bubble and the amount of travelling he had to do during that time did not merge well with each other.  

Van Wyk recalls, “The bubble we were in at that point in time because of covid and the fact that I had to travel between Junior Boks camp in Cape Town and Varsity Cup in Pretoria,” was a difficult time for him. 

Despite these challenges, Van Wyk persevered and has managed to balance his time playing professional rugby while still studying at Wits. He keeps himself motivated and reminds other student athletes to “stay focused on your goal, believe in yourself and keep on working hard. Never give up and never run away from hard work.” 

FEATURED IMAGE: Henco van Wyk (left) takes on the opposition in a game against Maties (Stellenbosch University) in 2021. Photo sourced: Varsity Cup