My interview with Tiaan Papier, who started his matric year in January 2020


George April 

“Remember, talent will only bring you that far. After that, you must really love and be dedicated to what you do to reach ultimate success. You must be 100% committed and work very hard.”

These are the wise words of the 17-year-old Tiaan Papier, born and raised in Hopefield and starting his matric year at Outeniqua High School in George, where he has been for the past four years.


He was recruited from Hopefield High School, after making big waves on the sports fields of his alma mater. Tiaan`s school journey changed overnight at the age of fourteen. “He performed so well that other schools suddenly overwhelmed us with offers to attend their schools. We as parents didn`t want to pressure him and left it to him to make the decision. Outeniqua was his choice,” his mother said.

“I participated in the javelin, discus, and shot put, but rugby is what I love most.” Tiaan is very excited about his school and believes he couldn`t have made a better choice. “I got to know the most wonderful people, learned a lot, and grew much in sport. We are one big family and everyone gives all to the team.


I was fortunate to be part of the best school rugby teams in South Africa for the past four years. We came out on top in our age groups from u/15 to u/17. “I started as a center but was later moved to the front row and hooker, where I still play. I am also my team`s kicker. This year I am part of the u/19 practice squad and member of the SA Rugby Elite u/19 squad.” (The latter is chosen from best players in the country.)


When asked about his favorite sports star, without hesitation Johnny Wilkenson`s name was mentioned. The legendary fly half`s motto, “I play with a fear of letting my team down”, is also Tiaan`s motivation. “Wilkenson could handle pressure very well and was a good leader and for that, he is my role model.”

Any plans for Tiaan after finishing school?

” What he plans is still a secret, but for now, he is focusing to be part of the winning u/19 team in the 2020 school rugby competition.

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