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Newly appointed FNB Madibaz captain Ivan Ludick is champing at the bit for the 2016 Varsity Cup rugby season and the prospect of leading his team onto the field.

"We are not here to just participate. We are here to win,” said 23-year-old Ludick.

“We want to make that clear from the first time we step onto the field. We want to make a statement."

Coming off a challenging 2015 tournament, in which they won only one game, Ludick said there was "a whole new vibe and energy" in the team, and they were ready to take the fight to their opponents.

"Every game will be important and we will take it week by week and game by game. But our first game against the University of Johannesburg will be our opportunity to come out and show our intentions," said the scrumhalf.

Ludick joined the FNB Madibaz at the end of 2013, bringing a wealth of experience with him to the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University side.

He finished his schooling at Oakdale High School in Riversdale, representing the South Western District's Craven Week team in 2009 and 2010. While at the Craven Week in 2010, he was approached by the Sharks Academy and joined their ranks, playing for their under-19 and under-21 Currie Cup teams, as well as the Vodacom Cup side.

At the same time Ludick also studied towards a degree in B.Com Economics and Management.

After relocating to Port Elizabeth, he earned inclusion in the FNB Madibaz squad for both the 2014 and 2015 Varsity Cup tournaments. Ludick also became part of the EP Rugby set-up, representing the Kings at various levels.

For the next few weeks however pre-season training will take a backseat to academics, as the players are preparing for final examinations.

Ludick, currently a second-year education student, said studying was a priority at this stage and he would focus on his exams before returning to training.

"We have to keep in mind that we are student athletes, putting us in a unique situation. We have to find a good balance between our sport and our studies.

"But all the team members are very supportive of each other, both on the field and behind the books."

Looking ahead to the 2016 season and his selection as captain, Ludick said he is very excited and honoured to be leading a committed and promising young squad onto the field.
"We are have come through a very tough season, but we have many talented players whom have stepped into the gaps left by our senior player that have moved on.

“We also have a group of guys who have been part of the team for some time now, and I believe they will help me to inspire the younger guys to greater heights."

Madibaz coach David Maidza believes Ludick's selection as captain will bring a "calmness" to the side.

"Ivan has been in the system for a while and has grown superbly as a player and a leader," said Maidza.

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