A tall striking young man, well-spoken, educated and confident. Philip van der Walt is one of the latest jewels to be discovered from our frontier country. A young man, at the brink of massive success on the rugby field, he is making his mark on South African and international rugby. Phillip is an excellent example of the future of South African rugby, not only because of the way he plays on the field, but because of his ingrained love for people, diversity and South Africa. Often one meets sports players that, while they have great stories to tell about their struggle to achieve success, their lifestyles are not ones which we would encourage our young people to follow as a role model. Growing up in a home that was built on true Christian values and encouraging and acknowledging the value of people irrespective of race or nationality, this young man is an excellent role model.
Philip started his career playing 8th man for Adelaide Gymnasium but things really started to change after being selected for Craven Week in 2007 – his Grade 12 year. Furthering his studies at the University of the Free State, he was soon identified and selected into the Cheetah’s squad – where he made name for himself. In 2010 he was selected for the South African’s 7’s side and began cementing himself into the Cheetah’s squad. The most difficult aspect about breaking into the Cheetah squad, was breaking the “bias towards other, more well-known school’s” players. Often players are identified from rugby playing schools well before they are playing on senior levels. Coming from the platteland, or elsewhere, one needs to work twice as hard to be able to prove yourself and be recognised. “Setbacks make you doubt yourself,” he says, but his motto in life is to “show God’s way through the way I behave” on and off the field.
Since then he has spent the last year playing for a French side before being recruited for the Sharks team for the upcoming 2015/16 season. Phillip identifies the biggest challenge he faces is “keeping yourself hungry and motivated” for rugby – in true role model true style – he identifies training, keeping fit and motivated to compete, as being the most important aspects to being a successful rugby player. Adelaide Primary School had the privilege of Phillip and his beautiful wife, Amandi, visiting our students.
Thank you Phillip for being an inspiring role model for our students, we look forward to watching you in the Sharks jersey for this season and many more to come.