‘People Know Who We Are’ – Bok Flyhalf Libbie Janse van Rensburg says the Game is On the Rise 

When it comes to women’s rugby in South Africa Libbie Jansen van Rensburg needs very little introduction. The Springbok Women’s flyhalf has quickly become one of the most recognisable players in the game for her prowess on the field as well as her sunny demeanour. Photos: SA Rugby and Libbie Jansen van Rensburg on Instagram

When it comes to women’s rugby in South Africa Libbie Janse van Rensburg needs very little introduction. The Springbok Women’s flyhalf has quickly become one of the most recognisable players in the game for her prowess on the field as well as her sunny demeanour. 

Janse van Rensburg’s rugby journey had a bit of a shaky start. She first got into the sport by playing touch rugby at the age of sixteen, but it was when she joined Tuks that she realised that rugby was something she could do. 

She then went on a Sevens tour to Paris and it was a disaster … She reminisces about that time and shared that she didn’t know what she was getting herself into, telling her coach that she didn’t think it for her. 

But in 2013 things changed- she was invited to play in the Dubai Sevens, and that’s when things started to fall into place for her. 

“The coach called and said, ‘We are going to play in the Dubai 7’s, do you want to try this rugby thing again?‘ I then had a little more time to prepare myself physically and get used to the game, and now I knew what it was about. The Dubai Sevens went a lot better for me, and I started enjoying it a bit more. Being able to prepare was big for me because when you hear it’s seven minutes a half, you don’t realise how tough it is! But this is when things stuck for me.” 

Janse van Rensburg then found her feet in the sport and was awarded a rugby bursary from Tuks and like they say the rest is history. She went on to accomplish a first at the university when she was named the Tuks Rugby Player of the Year this year, becoming the first woman to ever achieve this feat. 

“I didn’t expect it at all, I was helping out at the awards ceremony and they made this big thing about how great it is and the great players who have won it before, like Victor Matfield and Handre Pollard.”

“And then, the next minute, they called my name! I didn’t see it coming at all, it’s a massive honour, I am so proud to be part of the women who are trailblazers in women’s rugby.” 

Springbok Women’s Rugby flyhalf Libbie Janse van Rensburg on Winning the Coveted Tuks Rugby Player of the Year Award

The flyhalf has been groundbreaking on the rugby field for the past few years and has cemented herself as one of the best female rugby players in the country. Her performances this year have garnered her a nomination for Women’s Player of the Year at the SA Rugby Awards. Van Rensburg will be up against stiff competition. She will be battling it out with former winners Aseza Hele, Babalwa Latsha, while Nadine Roos, who will be looking to win back-to-back awards. 

Janse van Rensburg was on fire in the recent WXV tournament held in Cape Town. The Mother City played host to the competition that saw the Springbok Women play top sides such as Scotland, Italy, and Samoa.

The flyhalf was in sublime form in their final match, where she scored three tries and completed four conversions. Janse van Rensburg thinks that with competitions like this, the team’s profile is raised and they get important game time against top opposition.

“People know about women’s rugby now, when I started playing rugby at Tuks people didn’t even know rugby was a thing women played. Now, we will walk in the street and some girls and people recognise us and say aren’t you the flyhalf for the Springbok women? It’s amazing how the profile of women’s rugby has been raised. As we grow and climb up the rankings we will definitely become more of a talking point amongst people.”

The Bull Daisies, the club where Jansen van Rensburg plays her franchise rugby, is setting the standard when it comes to women’s rugby in the country. In February this year, 35 players signed contracts with the Pretoria-based side, becoming the first team to professionalise their women’s side at a franchise level.

“It helps to show young girls that you can make a career out of rugby, there’s such a bright future and so many opportunities for young girls now to play rugby and study (at Tuks). If you are a 19-year-old girl out of school, you get paid and you get an opportunity to study, it’s amazing to see how women’s rugby has grown in that aspect.” 

“You can see the difference in the Bulls Daisies compared to the other provinces, just the fact that we are training every day together and you can see the scores that we are putting out are massive against other provinces. If they (Provinces) don’t jump on the bandwagon they are going to be left behind,” she added.

For now, though Janse van Rensburg is still sidelined, she was injured at the Dubai Sevens earlier in December and had to undergo groin surgery. That is supposed to take around four to five months to heal so for now she says, she will be taking some time out to recover, while she spends time with her loved ones over the festive season. 


Photo caption: When it comes to women’s rugby in South Africa Libbie Jansen van Rensburg needs very little introduction. The Springbok Women’s flyhalf has quickly become one of the most recognisable players in the game for her prowess on the field as well as her sunny demeanour. Photos: SA Rugby and Libbie Jansen van Rensburg on Instagram

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