Holgate finds his mojo in Moscow

Former Wynberg Boys player Jordan Holgate, with the ball, is making his mark in the Russian Premier League.

Rugby across the globe has
been a no-show since the
outbreak of the coronavirus,
leaving followers of the game until
recently starved of live coverage as
all matches were halted. 

Jordan Holgate, a former Wynberg Boys’ High School player, has
been plying his trade in the icycold climes of the Russian Premier
League, setting the league alight
with his pace and skills. 
The 23-year-old outside centre
is a graduate of the Bulls Academy
and winner’s medal holder of the
Varsity Cup with Tukkies in 2016. 
His rugby career includes Junior
Currie Cup with the Bulls, Currie
Cup caps for Boland and a sojourn
with the Western Force under-20
in Perth.
The Russian League is a popular
berth for many South African players and coaches, the physical style of
the game having some synergy with
our local game.
The son of renowned and popular club cricketer, Dave Holgate,
a stalwart of Cape Town Cricket
Club’s successful team of the 80s,
Jordan shyly denies possessing
his father’s talent for the game,
although his record for Western
Province under-15, under-17 and
under-19 indicates differently. 
His path was chosen through an
offer to the Bulls while in matric
at Wynberg. His rugby journey has
taken an unexpected detour, one
which could result in international
caps for Russia, for whom he qualifies to play after five years. 
Currently catching the eye for
Slava Moscow Rugby, the young
centre has already attracted the
attention of the selectors who have
made overtures to keep him in their
game to qualify to represent Russia. 
“The Russian style of rugby is a
very physical and brutal brand of
rugby,” says Jordan. “The pace of their game is off
that of Currie Cup but certainly
physicality is a match to our game.” 
Jordan says that this is expected
to change rapidly as New Zealand
and South African coaches and players take up the permitted berths in
each squad, with a stated objective
of the union of raising the pace and
skills levels of the Russian game. 
The Russian season runs from
April to October, their summer, as
the notorious winters are not conducive to the game. 
Pre-season training often takes
place in sub-zero temperatures,
a massive shock to the system of
even the most intrepid player from
temperate Africa. As if that were
not a test of character and dedication, the commute to training
involves a 45-minute train
journey which includes a
change-over en route. 
No branded top-ofthe-range vehicles for
these lads.
The 2020 season
was delayed due to the
coronavirus, a single round,
10-team league eventually
starting on June 1. 
Unfortunately, Jordan suffered a foot injury and has
been forced to (gently) kick his
heels on the sidelines but hopes
to be back on the pitch within a
fortnight.
Rugby is truly a passport for
talented young players willing to
knuckle down, put in the effort
and travel the globe to find their
niche. 
For now, Jordan Holgate
has found his at Slava Moscow
Rugby, but who knows, perhaps
in 2025 we may see him running
onto the pitch wearing the number 12 jumper for Russia.