From his impressive performances in the 2022 FNB Varsity Cup rugby tournament, the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) buff attacking player, Darnell Osuagwu, has been selected to join the Sigma Lions rugby squad. He is one of FNB UJ’s experienced players having played consistent rugby in two consecutive campaigns in 2021 and 2022.
Osuagwu was instrumental in scoring tries for FNB UJ in the 2022 campaign’s home and away matches. Joining the Sigma lions means that he has now turned professional and is recognised as a South African rugby union player who will play in the 2022 Currie Cup Premier Division.
This was a longstanding dream for Osuagwu to play professional rugby. “It is a humbling achievement and I am grateful to be part of one of the unions in South Africa,” says Osuagwu.
He is a third-year Human Resource Management student. Prior to becoming a rugby player, Osuagwu played soccer until he was introduced to rugby in 2014 while in Grade 8 at Kliptown High School. He finished matric at Parktown Boys High School.
Osuagwu previously played in the Academy Week for the Sigma Lions in 2016-17. He made his debut against the Western Province in round 1 of the 2022 Currier Cup Premier Division in Cape Town.
On making his debut, Osuagwu says he was excited, nervous and grateful for the opportunity. “It has been good. There is a lot I learned each day and the exposure to the other players has contributed to my growth playing at such a high level,” he says.
In addition to scoring multiple tries for UJ, Osuagwu was named the 2022 Varsity Cup FNB Impact Player for Round 8. He has attributed his success to the FNB UJ rugby players and coaching staff for him to get this far in his rugby career. His goal is to be one of the best front rowers in his position as a hooker.
“One of the things I have had to adapt to and switching my mindset was to understand that this is now a professional setup and that it’s not always personal. If I get shouted at by the coaches when I have done something wrong, they do so because they know what I am capable of on the field. If I am not at my best they would let me know so that I can make the required switch to perform even better,” adds Osuagwu.