The SA Rugby Legends will face one of their toughest assignments to date when these stars of yesteryear take on Grey Old Boys in an exhibition match on the second evening of the third annual Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens.
The organisers of the tournament, which takes place at Pearson High School from December 12 to 14, have broken new ground by including a trio of top 15-man old boys exhibition matches in the programme – the most anticipated of which will be the “grudge” match between the Legends and Grey.
Two years ago the celebrity outfit – which has only been beaten twice in their six-year history – came within a whisker of losing against the greying Grey boys.
Then, in typical fashion, 1995 World Cup hero Joel Stransky masterminded another great escape as the visitors grabbed victory from the clenching jaws of defeat.
However, win or lose, the Legends will ultimately be remembered for their inspirational community work rather than their prowess with the oval ball – which, of course, is equally stirring.
As mentioned, rugby development has become the name of the game for these old-timers and to date they have introduced more than 45 000 previously disadvantaged youngsters to the sporting code that knows no boundaries – including that of colour.
According to former Springbok centre and Legends player Pieter Müller, who is in charge of the sport and social development side of SA Rugby Legends’ legacy parks, they have more than 1 600 members – high profile and otherwise – who donate their time to assist with the vision of developing a nation of ruby stars.
“Development programmes are extremely important. It creates a platform to identify talent,” he said in a telephonic interview from Pretoria.
Müller says the positive spin-offs of these initiatives go beyond the mere development of the game. “It brings hope to young people and they acquire life skills, which empowers them to contribute positively to society.”
The Legends host coaching clinics and often also fundraising initiatives wherever they play. “All of our programmes are designed with sustainability and community upliftment in mind.”
But it is not all work and no play, says Müller. Some of the country’s former greats turn on the style for the Legends until they are in their mid-forties.
After that they enter heart attack territory and they are careful to erode their formidable database, he jokes.
Being competitive sportsmen – albeit with varying degrees of bulges under their shirts –they play to win. For sure. However, says Müller, their opposition are usually much more psyched (with a record of 42 matches played and only two going south, I’m not easily convinced of this statement).
Two local products – Deon Kayser and Ricardo Loubscher – will don the Legends’ jersey for the Old Grey encounter. Other Bok stars include players like Breyton Paulse (Stormers), Bobby Skinstad (Sharks), Robbie Kempson (Stormers), Tinus Linee (Stormers), Braam van Straaten (Stormers), Anton Leonard (Bulls) and Dave von Hoesslin (Sharks).
In the other old boys matches, Framesby will play Andrew Rabie and Pearson will meet Alexander Road.
Full Stop Communications
On behalf of:
Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens