Tanya Scholtz: tender in South Africa for an accountant based in Guernsey
“I contacted the coach and asked him how likely I was to train with them,” said Tanya Scholtz of her introduction to the international rugby union.
While the likelihood of someone calling Eddie Jones, Andy Farrell or Ian Foster and requesting a call in England, Ireland or New Zealand seems rather low, this is how Guernsey-based Scholtz began a journey. that ended with it. selected for the European Women’s Tour in South Africa this fall.
“I always felt like I had something a little bit special,” says the hooker.
“When I started playing rugby in Guernsey, at first, I was still figuring it out because I had never played it before.
“But the last few years I felt I could do it and play for South Africa.”
Scholtz hasn’t had much of a rugby union to play in recent times – the Channel Island-based Guernsey Raiders were in the fourth tier of English women’s rugby before the Covid-19 lockdown – and she is still balancing his training with a full time job as a chartered accountant in the global offshore financial center of Guernsey.
“The only game we’ve really had lately was against the Isle of Man, and I think I played really well in that game, so I sent the coach some of those pictures,” said she does.
“He checks from time to time how my training is going, how I feel and if we have played games.”
‘They kinda see my father in me’
Scholtz’s other inspiration on the rugby pitch comes from his father, who was a talented player during the apartheid era in South Africa.
“He could not reach the heights or the full potential that he should have had if the company had been a democracy at the time in South Africa,” she told BBC Radio Guernsey.
“He was passionate about rugby, he loved rugby more than anything except his family.
“He passed away in 2018 and since that happened it’s more of a goal for me, something I want to do in memory of my dad.
“For my family, it’s also special because they know the reasons for it. For them, they see my dad in me a little bit – it makes them super excited and super proud.”
“I never wanted to play rugby so much of my life”
With sport being a big part of Scholtz’s life growing up, it’s no surprise to find out that she was a successful netball player.
But after starting her accounting internship her time for the sport dwindled and it wasn’t until she moved to Guernsey in 2014 that she started playing rugby.
“I thought it was a good place to get my fitness back on track, lose weight and I was like ‘I’ve always wanted to play rugby,'” she explains.
“I heard there was a women’s rugby team so I was like ‘why don’t I try?’ So someone at work put me in touch with the team captain. female at the time in 2014 and that’s when I played my first rugby match and started training.
“I’ve never wanted to play rugby such a big part of my life, but it’s just something that I really enjoy and love, and it naturally became that.”
Aim for a first cap
But for the pandemic, Scholtz could have already made her Springbok debut – she attended a training camp with South Africa before the start of Covid-19.
Alongside big-name players from South African clubs such as the Sharks, Western Province and the Bulls, Guernsey’s Scholtz is the only European-based player to be selected for the squad that will face France on November 6 and the Barbarians in Twickenham on November 27 as part of a four game tour.
“I hope to be selected and be able to play a game, but it’s just a privilege and an honor to join them and be named to the squad,” said Scholtz.
“I have no expectations, but I will do my best and do all I can to be part of the team.
“I want women in Guernsey and around the world to know that you can play rugby, that you can be successful, that you can be as strong and as good on the rugby pitch as the men.
“I’m very excited and hope I can inspire some of the girls on our team to keep going.”