The Lions are currently on top of the Africa two pool, consisting of the Natal-based Sharks, Argentinean Jaguares, and the Eastern Province-based Southern Kings. The rise to the top of their pool is a comeback that was deemed impossible by critics, considering the Lions’ relegation from Super Rugby in 2013 and the current challenge of the New Zealand franchises they have had to face. Perdeby spoke to Skosan about the impact of Varsity Cup and his current success.

“What I did during Varsity Cup [has come] through. You need to see Varsity Cup as an opportunity to play for right now instead of looking ahead, because [such an] opportunity is enough to show that you have the skill and the talent to get signed, like I did,” said Skosan. When asked specifically about being a part of the winning title in the 2012 and 2013 Varsity Cup edition and how it has assisted him and other Lions players from the UP side in their current success, Skosan said, “We had a good group of guys that were tight-knit and we were a brotherhood in that victory. We never had anyone that wanted to be a star, and that was what I enjoyed. We also had a good group of coaches who allowed us to play, and that also played a big role. The guys knew from the beginning of the tournament in both seasons that we were going to win, and had a lot of faith as well. That winning mentality has carried through [to Super Rugby], and now we are playing games expecting to win.”

Skosan attributes his current performance to the platform that Varsity Cup created and continues to create for players who hope to pursue rugby as a professional career. “The pace of Varsity Cup [played a big role] in my personal performance [in Super Rugby]. It is quite a quick game that [demands] tries. You also get a lot of TV time, and that’s what you [as a rugby player] want. You want to know that coaches are watching [your performance]. Varsity Cup allows this and creates such a good platform for young players,” he said.

The Lions’ rise to potential title challengers despite having faced relegation has not only appealed to UP, but Varsity Cup players in general who play to enjoy the game. Skosan encourages them in this regard, saying, “The biggest thing for me right now is being able to enjoy myself at the Lions. So if you are playing at Varsity Cup, just enjoy it too. If you enjoy yourself, you start playing well and might just receive that phone call from someone saying they have a contract for you. If you put too much pressure on yourself to be the star, you might just find yourself slipping up and not getting in enough good performances.”


Photo: Reinhard Nell

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