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MATIES hit the ground running in their 2020 FNB Varsity Cup campaign with a thorough 67-16 thrashing of Shimlas in the first round. There is no “I” in the word “team”, and whilst the whole of the Maroon Machine acquitted itself beautifully, a big team is nothing without a big captain.

For the men in maroon Ben-Jason Dixon is that captain, and there will be no better opportunity to get to know him than now.

Dixon attended Paul Roos Gymnasium where he matriculated in 2016. He served as the school’s head boy in the same year. After school he joined the Western Province Rugby Institute, where he, without a doubt, developed his signature brand of rugby.

When the opportunity to study at Stellenbosch University came knocking, he heeded the call and enrolled as a student in 2018. He is currently in his third year of studying Industrial Engineering.

He started his varsity rugby career in 2018 with the Young Guns (Maties u.20) where he helped his team to become the first Maties team ever to win the Under 20 tournament of the Varsity Cup series.

Dipping his toes into what was to come, Dixon also joined the Maties first team for their preseason and accompanied the team to USSA Rugby.

His quality was indisputable and in the same year he represented the Baby Boks at the World Rugby U20 Championship, whilst playing club games for Western Province.

In 2019 he made the bench for the Maties first team and was called to the frontlines in three games that season. A starting spot in the 2020 first team seemed the logical next step, but there was more in store for the 198cm lock. It was only this year that Dixon would realise the magnitude of his responsibilities when he was handed the 2020 captaincy at the team training camp in George.

Although he knew that he had been nominated, Dixon says that being crowned captain still came as a surprise.

“I didn’t really expect to be chosen as captain, but I am very excited to lead the guys this season,” he said.

He’ll have to be a man with a plan to lead Maties, but it seems like he already has his goals laid out.

“Firstly, we want to inspire Stellenbosch and the broader South Africa by the way we play, which is playing without fear,” he says.  Another key element is to “enjoy playing together and just enjoy each other on and off the field.”

The Maties boys seem to be in good hands. They will certainly need their wits about them when they face Central University of Technology (CUT) in the third round of the FNB Varsity Cup on 17 February at 19:00. It looks set to entertain. Don’t miss it.

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