For The Love Of Rugby

The Ballito MagazineAugust 12, 2019

It’s no secret that to date a rugby player calls for sacrifices and oodles of support… making these women truly remarkable in their own right. Read about who they are, from their careers and quirks to their favourite books and life mantras.

Kate Lambie (28)


Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do:

I grew up in Zululand and then the Natal midlands. I’ve been a primary school teacher for a few years, although I haven’t taught since moving to France two years ago. We’ve just welcomed our first child, Jackson, into the world only a week ago! We are busy learning all about the adventures of parenthood. We have a golden retriever, Maggie, who I have to compete with for Pat’s attention! Pat and I are in the process of moving back to South Africa later this year and are so blessed to have our families living close to us again. We have aunties, uncles, cousins and grandparents all lined up, ready and waiting to report for babysitting duty!

Q: Tell us what it’s like being married to a rugby player?

We don’t really stay with our partners when we travel to watch games. You make your own travel and accommodation plans, as well as keep yourself busy. Your partner is there for “work” so it’s not like you can be out doing much sightseeing with them in between training and practices. It’s not all glitz and glam as some may think! 

Q: What’s the best part?

I love the fact that we have been able to travel so much and meet such genuine people along the way! Pat’s rugby career has allowed us to travel to the most incredible places and we have made lifelong friends with many people we’ve met along the way, in and out of rugby. Living in Europe recently, it has enabled us to travel so easily and we’ve visited over 10 different countries while living in France.

Q: What’s in store for the future since Pat has retired?

It’s been an interesting few months since Pat retired from rugby. It has been one of the toughest decisions ever, but one we felt needed to be made for long term health reasons. We have had such an exciting, adventurous, whirlwind few years of rugby, where we’ve learnt and grown so much as individuals. We have truly loved this journey and are so grateful for it! Although we don’t know exactly what the future holds, we are ready to take on the next chapter. 

Q: How long have you been married and how did you two meet?

Pat and I met in high school, but it definitely wasn’t a love at first sight scenario! We were both at a high school “social” where we first officially met, but only started dating a few years later when we were both in Matric. We did 4 years of long distance, as I took a gap year after school and then studied in Pretoria for three years. I moved down to Durban in 2013 and we got married in January 2014 in the Natal midlands.

Q: How do you balance your own career and being a support system?

Over the past 11, I’ve been very lucky to have worked at amazing schools that have given me some form of freedom to be as supportive of Pat’s career as possible. I had wonderful teachers standing in for me a few times in order to be at events like the World Cup. It’s been difficult at times to find a balance between being committed to your career and wanting to be a supportive wife. There are times when you are torn between wanting to be there for your husband but also not neglecting your career responsibilities.

Q: Favourite sport to watch or play?

Although I do enjoy watching rugby, my favourite sport to watch is probably tennis! I grew up in a very sporty family so I have always enjoyed playing a range of sports. I love hockey and long distance running, and have even  run a few marathons. I would love to run the Comrades Marathon one day!

Kuziva Makore-Mtawarira (28) 

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do:

I am a Psychology student, entrepreneur, and co-owner of Cuticles Nailbar. I’m married to Tendai Mtawarira (known as Beast) and together we have two children, aged 7 and 5.

Q: What are some of your personal goals?

I hope to grow my business across KZN and who knows, maybe nationwide as well! And when I’m done with my studies, the plan is to become a qualified psychologist.

Q: What is your daily mantra?

Rather try and fail, than fail to try!

Q: So, what’s it like being married to a Rugby player?

Well, you’re forever packing a bag and jumping on a flight. And when your husband is away on his own, you have to play both roles of being both mom and dad! This means getting your hands dirty, fixing bikes, etc. What I enjoy the most about my husband’s unorthodox career is that I get to do quite a lot of traveling across the world and meeting powerful and influential people.

Q: How long have you been married and how did you two meet?

I’ve been married to Tendai for nine years this year in September. We met through his mom.. she played cupid so we exchanged numbers and we hit it off! We got married on the 12th of September 2010. Family life consists of busy mornings, rushing off to drop kids at school during the week, and then on weekends we usually all stay in and play board games! 

Q: What does Tendai say he can’t do without your support? (maybe get him to answer this one)

He literally said he wouldn’t want to imagine life without me and my support…

Q: Who is your ultimate role model?

I have so many role models, but I’d say my ultimate role model is my mother!

Q: Favourite book?

It’s so hard to choose one! I’d say A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (author of The Kite Runner), and anything and everything by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Q: Favourite sport to watch or play?

I can certainly sit around all day and watch some tennis!

Angie Van Der Merwe (26)

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do:

I’m originally from the west side of Johannesburg and lived there my whole life, until we moved to Ballito two years ago. I hold experience in Sales Management, but at the moment I have put my career on hold to be a full-time mom to our baby boy, Anrich. In my free time I gym a lot and try to keep healthy!

Q: What are some of your personal goals?

We’re actually getting ready to immigrate to Manchester UK end of July, as Akker signed a three-year deal with Shale Sharks. So I plan to study Business Management in the UK and once I’m done and Anrich is old enough, I will be returning to the working world!  We are quite excited and nervous for our new venture as a family but we know God has a plan for everything… 

Q: What is something that people don’t know about being married to a rugby player?

What people don’t know about ‘rugby wives’ per se is that we’re not “WAGS” in the stereotypical sense; we’re not really a part of the limelight and are rather beside our partners, behind the scenes. I don’t see this status as being a challenge, as I have vowed to support my husband with any obstacle that comes his way, just as he has vowed the same to me. I would say, though, that it’s really difficult on the kids as they don’t always understand why the tours are so long and why their fathers need to train everyday and miss out on so much of their lives… that’s definitely a hard one for the whole family!

Q: How long have you been married and how did you two meet?

Akker and I have been together for five years now and got married this year on Jan 26th. We actually started talking on Facebook and after a while, decided to meet up. We became friends first and after a month or so we started to develop a close relationship.

Q: What does Akker say he can’t do without your support? (maybe get him to answer this one)

Akker appreciates my support in reaching his full potential as a player, and as a person too. The best part for me is to see someone I love live their dreams and make a career out of it too.

Q: Who is your ultimate role model?

I don’t really have one role model as I admire a number of people; so many people inspire me in different ways.

Q: What is your favourite book?

Although I don’t read all that often, the last book I really enjoyed was The President’s Keeper by Jacques Pauw, who’s an investigative journalist from South Africa. It’s all about the allegedly corrupt and compromised power networks of the government.

Q: Life Mantra?

Don’t live your life impressing people and live a horrible life. Rather live life as if there’s no tomorrow.

Q: Favourite sport to watch or play?

I absolutely love Formula 1! I always watched it with my Dad on Sundays and grew to love the sport. My dream was to become the first female F1 driver. Never happened! But I’m glad to see more and more women qualifying.

Monene Botha (26)

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do:

I used to work as an estate agent for Seeff in Bloubergstrand before relocating to the beautiful city of Durban where Ruan and I fell pregnant, and where I decided to raise my little one at home. Family is definitely the most important thing to me!

Q: What are some of your personal goals?

I would love to run my own events company, doing parties and weddings, that sort of thing! 

Q: What is something that people don’t know about being married to a rugby player?

It’s most certainly not glamorous! Being a rugby wife is super hard at times. They are away a lot, and weekends are often spent working. You can never plan a weekend away in advance because their plans change. But we do get to see the world, make new friends and experience new things. And of course, love triumphs all!

Q: How long have you been married and how did you two meet?

Myself and Ruan have been together for ten years and have been married for three. We met through a mutual friend, started out as friends, and here we are ten years later. Our wedding was on the 4 January 2016 in the beautiful town of Franschhoek.

Q: What does Ruan say he can’t do without your support? (maybe get him to answer this one)

“I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for my wife! She is the backbone of our family and she does everything for myself and our son. I am forever grateful for her.”

Q: Who is your role model?

Has to be each and every “rugby wife” out there. You’ll find that we often give up our hopes and dreams so that our husbands can pursue their passions in life… It’s not always easy to just pack up and leave when it’s time for them to join a new club and to start a new life. But we make the sacrifices necessary. And I think that’s pretty commendable.

Q: Favorite book?

Definitely Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Q: Favorite sport to participate in or to watch?

I really love watching rugby! Whether my hubby is playing or not, I enjoy watching the game. I’m definitely one of those annoying spectators who scream at the TV, thinking I know more about the game than the players themselves!

Q: Life mantra?

“Forget about perfect. We don’t have time for perfect. In any event, perfection is unachievable: It’s a myth and a trap and a hamster wheel that will run you to death”.