a date with rugby destiny

I have been having one of those Months, when whatever you pin down on paper just doesn’t feel worth the trouble. While in between trying to fully live up to my commitment with Varsity Cup. So while I’ve seem to have ‘escape’ my blogging state, I thought I’ll share with you my article published last week.

My chat with one of South Africa’s rugby scribe whom I had a pleasure of interviewing past week… I hope you enjoy it.

With a nickname like ‘Tank’, it comes as no surprise that rugby was destined to become Andrew Lanning’s forte.

Born in the heart of South Africa – Johannesburg – Lanning adopted Cape Town as his home from an early age (where he was schooled) and today is an “Ikey Tiger through and through”.

Although he graduated from UCT in Social Science, majoring in Economics, with a post-graduate diploma in Marketing Management, this former Ikeys student and first team star is no stranger to the media, as he is the editor of one of SA’s leading sport news source – Sport24.

Rugby, as one would expect, has always been Tank’s first love.

After many happy amateur years at UCT, he made his Western Province debut in the late 1990s; however, a serious neck injury cut short a promising first-class rugby career.

“It was difficult having to deal with that, but I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved (with rugby) on the media side,” says Tank, who describes himself as a “once diabolic student, with nothing but rugby and a good old beer on my mind”.

Tank has made peace with his past and his present, however, adding in conversation with varsitycup.co.za: “I love writing, enjoy the commercial side of things and generally love my job.”

He started as a picture researcher and marketing novice in the sports and lifestyle publishing industry, followed by heading up their sports photo agency, before starting the online division. Later he became part of the Touchline Media family before switching across to sport24.co.za.

Lanning covered his media bases through a Media and Management course he completed from Stellenbosch Business School, as well as a ‘Publishing on the Web’ course at Stanford University in California.

As a publisher, Tank is at the forefront of sports tournaments and the Varsity Cup is no exception.

This rugby pundit reckons this year’s tournament was bigger not only because of the media attention, but due to the way it was run. Even with a number of changes he would like to see in 2012, he still praises the platform this competition is providing for amateurs.

“It introduces them to great grinding, exposure they didn’t receive in high school and opens phenomenal doors – without a doubt coaches are watching closely,” he concludes.

Ecstatic about his former club finally clinching the big one, Tank is a realist and councils that hard work awaits the champions, as teams like UJ and Tuks are proving to be competitive which is a big threat to powerhouses like Maties and, of course, the new champs, UCT.

Asked what he regards as the highlight of his provincial career, without hesitation, he reflects on his days at WP, particularly “hammering the Blue Bulls at a packed Newlands”, as he happily puts it. “I was a laaitjie and I think Naas (Botha) was playing. It was a special beating them in front of our home crowd.”

Lanning is a man who has played both sides – realising his dream as participant on the field and as observer par excellence off the field; all of which began with a spell at the University of Cape Town.

Follow Tank on Twitter – @TankLanning

By Kate Nokwe

This article is a product of Varsity Cup


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