As a young boy, Sylvian Mahuza and his grandfather listened to the every Currie Cup broadcast on radio. He promised Sylvian he’d play Currie Cup one day.
Every time he steps onto a rugby field Sylvian Mahuza draws inspiration from a sequence of eight digits written on his wrist.
It’s not code for an intricate move or a lucky number. It’s much more significant than that. It’s 2007/07/26, the date his grandfather passed away and it reminds him where his passion for rugby was nurtured. “My grandfather is my biggest inspiration from when I was a young boy. We used to listen to the Currie Cup and Super Rugby on the radio every weekend and he told me I’ll be playing at that level one day.”
That inspiration kept the Xerox Golden Lions’ utility back going because playing rugby at a senior level, let alone professionally was never a sure thing.
“It didn’t start out as a dream at first. More like a far-fetched thought, because I never thought I was good enough. As soon as I left school in grade 12 I did my own off-season training. I set a goal to myself: if I make the SA Junior Springboks squad, I’ll pursue it. ”It’s also why the Currie Cup is so significant to Sylvian: “It’s an important competition to me and, also the whole of South African Rugby. It’s a chance to see new and young hungry talent putting up their hand to play at this level and higher.”
Xerox Golden Lions, previously known as Transvaal, will be in pursuit of Currie Cup title No.12 after having won the trophy on 11 occasions, including one shared with the Vodacom Blue Bulls.
Xerox Golden Lions won their first Currie Cup title in 1922 and went on to claim the trophy in 1939, before winning back-to-back titles in the 50s and again emerging victorious in 1971 – when they shared the trophy with their neighbours Northern Transvaal – and in 1972.
The Xerox Golden Lions had the good fortune to have George Moir Christie, known as Kitch Christie, take over the reigns as head coach in 1992. Under the guidance of Christie and captained by legendary Springbok Francois Pienaar the side again lifted the trophy in 1993 and 1994.
Xerox Golden Lions last won the Currie Cup title in 2015. It was an incredible season for them, going unbeaten through to the final to beat DHL Western Province and produce a 32-24 victory at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg.