Move over Schalk Burger, Diego Appollis is destined to become Wellington’s next rugby legend.
Diego, who grew up on Bosman Family Vineyards in Wellington, was selected for the SA Schools rugby team after a successful Craven Week wearing the Blue Bulls jersey.
This talented sportsman was spotted while at the Wagenmakersvallei Primary School in Wellington and offered a scholarship to attend Garsfontein High School in Pretoria. He has been there as a boarder since Gr 8 and is currently in Gr 11 playing not only as centre for the first XV, but also cricket for the school’s first team and representing the school on the athletics track.
Diego’s mother and father both still work on the farm and are very proud of their son. Mother Mercia (50) grew up on the farm and attended the same school where she too excelled at sport. She said that when he first left home for Pretoria he found it difficult but she would call him regularly and encourage him to stick it out. “Now he calls Garsies his home,” she says proudly.
His primary school coach, Gilroy Jones is equally proud of him: “When he was offered the scholarship to Garsfontein, he grabbed it with both hands. We are all very proud of him and he has inspired many pupils in the school to try their best.”
Diego’s first match for the SA Schools team was on 11 August in Stellenbosch where, although they lost 28-39 against the Welsh schools team, Diego scored an impressive try. They unfortunately also lost 8-13 against France, but the team has high hopes for their match against England on Saturday at the Athlone Stadium.