University of Johannesburg: Two UJ rugby players recount university experience in international clubs

Through the University of Johannesburg (UJ), rugby players Franco Schutter and Ethan Jeffery were able to play for the Enisei STM’s Under23 team in the Russian Championship and Tel Aviv Heat in Israel. Schutter played for both the Under23 and the senior team which won their 2021 tournament.

“The experience was and still is fantastic. I have always wanted to travel and learn about new cultures and I am grateful for the opportunity. Enisei STM is the best Russian club with the best players and management. It is a good exposure for me to be here,” says Schutter.

Franco Schutter Franco Schutter arrived in Russia on the 9 August 2021 and made his debut on the 16 August.

Schutter arrived in Russia on the 9 August 2021 and made his debut on the 16 August. He has since played 5 games for the under-23 team and 7 games for the senior team. He is a first-year Logistics Management student at UJ. He played for the University in the 2021 FNB Varsity Cup tournament.

“I have been waiting to play rugby again after the pandemic and UJ was the best place for me. The players and coaching staff were amazing. It was through UJ that I got this opportunity to play for Enisei STM,” adds Schutter.

Another UJ student, Ethan Jeffery, has so far played 3 games for Tel Aviv Heat, winning 2 of the games since joining the team in late October 2021.

“Playing for Tel Aviv Heat is such a great opportunity and I thank God for this opportunity. I would probably not be here playing rugby if it was not for Him. Being around such great coaching staff and players from all over the world, doing what I love is the best thing any player would wish for,” says Jeffery.

Speaking on his experience in Israel, Jeffery says the weather conditions were a challenge for him. “We played in Russia and Georgie the last three weeks and it has been such a great experience. It was extremely cold temperatures that South Africans are not used to, and the conditions on the field were also extremely difficult. We arrived in Israel on 1 November and we are training hard until our next match here in Tel Aviv on the 5th of December,” says Jeffery.

Jeffery is a third-year Business Management student. He joined UJ rugby in November 2018 and was part of the team that participated in the 2021 FNB Varsity Cup tournament.

“UJ has helped me develop as a player, all thanks to the coaching staff Zala, Dewey, Tumi and Tokkie. They have changed the way I play and have taken me from being an average rugby player to someone that can compete on a level like this,” adds Jeffery.

Other UJ Rugby players who represented UJ Orange Army in different teams:


• Ntokozo Hlophe

• Enrique Coutriers

• Elethu Ntlabini

– Eastern Cape Under-20

• Larkquin Goliath

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