The Springboks and All Blacks may be traditional and fierce rivals on the rugby field, but on Wednesday they joined forces for a good cause at a project initiated by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
Players from both teams participated in the fun-filled event which was held at the LIV Village on the outskirts of Durban, where residential care for orphans and vulnerable children are provided. Apart from the hundreds of excited children, a huge media contingent was in attendance to capture every move of the players and kids.
Springbok skipper Adriaan Strauss led the home team’s group of players, which included Beast Mtawarira, Pat Lambie, Faf de Klerk, Francois Louw, Juan de Jongh and Piet van Zyl. They were joined by All Blacks Brodie Retallick, Charlie Faumuina, Luke Romano and George Moala.
Former Springbok captains Jean de Villiers and Morné du Plessis, chairman of the Laureus Foundation in South Africa, welcomed the players and guests to the event. The players then joined in the fun activities and they finished off the event with a mural painting of their hand prints.Strauss said he and his players had a great time and were happy spend a portion of their off day contributing to a worthy cause.
“Laureus and the LIV Village are doing fantastic work through their various projects, creating a safe home environment for these children,” said Strauss.
“I know some of the Durban-based players often come here in support of the initiatives. I am delighted that the All Blacks could join us and I think the presence of both sides here illustrates the importance of a collective effort if you want to make a difference.”
Mtawarira explained that he is regular visitor to the LIV Village: “I’ve been here a couple of times and my wife also support their projects.
“We usually come and spend some time with the kids and have fun, sitting down and listening to their stories, which are very uplifting. Listening to the children and hearing what they’ve been through at such a young age really gives you another perspective of life.
“It is a great project and the people who are involved really make a meaningful difference in the lives of these kids,” said Mtawarira.
Earlier on Wednesday, Warren Whiteley and Trevor Nyakane paid a surprise visit to the local East Coast Radio studios in Umhlanga, to help build atmosphere for Saturday’s huge clash. The Springboks and All Blacks will face each other at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban, at 17h05.