Hoër Landbouskool Oakdale captain François van der Vyver is an interesting rugby case. On Saturday, however, this 'interesting case' will be doing his all to help Oakdale beat Marlow in their FNB Classic Clash.
Last year Van der Vyver played for Oakdale's First XV at inside centre.
This year, however, the hard-working captain will be wearing the No.6 shirt. (Yes, from centre to the flank. And at first team level, nogals!)
Former Springbok - and Wallabies - loose forward Tiaan Strauss is a prime example of a player moving from centre to the back row, whilst - more recently - the Sharks' Craig Burden made the switch from centre to hooker.
"Many players before me have done it," says the modest Oakdale captain when asked about his rather dramatic positional switch.
"I played at centre in my Under-14 and Under-15 days, but made the move back to flank at Under-16 (level). Last year I played at inside centre [for the first team] and now, of course, I'm back on the flank.
"To be honest," he continues in conversation with classicclashes.co.za, "I don't mind where I play... as long as I can play and help my school win!"
Van der Vyver is a proud captain of the Oakdale First XV - describing being awarded the captaincy at the start of the year as "a dream come true".
He also captained the SWD Craven Week side earlier this month - an experience which, although results would suggest otherwise, he enjoyed tremendously.
"I'll never forget the experience," he says of the 2011 Craven Week, a tournament which gave him even more of a hunger to play 'big rugby' after school.
For now, however, it's all about Saturday. Says François: "It's a big, big game and a big occasion for everyone.
"Loads of parents will be making the trip up for this match and there will be a great big build-up. We leave early on Friday morning and there's already loads of excitement."
According to François, the away team has never triumphed in FNB Classic Clashes fixtures between Oakdale and Marlow.
Yes, there has been a draw or two... but the odds are stacked against the visitors - Van der Vyver and his team - ahead of this weekend's annual derby.
"Marlow are a physical team," says the Oakdale captain, "that's where the battle will be won - as it so often is in rugby.
"We've had a good year so far. We've lost just three matches [this year] - against Monument, Paarl Gym and Paarl Boys' High - and I thought we were unlucky on all three occasions. That shows, however, how small the margins are and we're well aware of that ahead of Saturday.
"Of course, we'd love to end the trend of the home team winning. It would be a huge result for us, but we're well aware just how tough it will be."
François van der Vyver stands 1,80 metres tall and weighs 86 kilograms.
He admits that rugby features in his thinking when it comes to his future. He would love to study in 2012, but he has not made any concrete plans about life beyond school.
"A few people have said they are interested in me," he reveals. "I've not had any formal offers, but I would certainly make a decision (where to study) based on my rugby.
"I also enjoy playing Sevens," he adds, "that's another option. For now, however, I'm keeping my options open and I'd be keen for anything, anywhere - as long as it involves rugby!"
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