The South African Rugby Legends Association (SARLA) took their hugely successful #RugbyUnites initiative up a notch last weekend. South Africa’s top Super Rugby franchises came together on Sunday, 27th September for the biggest #RugbyUnites charity shop yet, at Checkers, Loftus Park in Pretoria.
Since its launch in May this year, #RugbyUnites – in partnership with SARLA’s headline sponsor Cell C – has seen over 100,000 food parcels purchased, packed and distributed to people in need throughout South Africa – far and wide, from Cederberg to Mitchell’s Plein, Stellenbosch to Port Elizabeth, eThekwini to Bloemfontein and Johannesburg and Pretoria.
“What started quite humbly as a group of SA Rugby Legends getting together on a Sunday, to shop for groceries for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, has grown into a wonderful four months of our Rugby Legends and current rugby players uniting every weekend”, says SARLA President Gavin Varejes.
“We were very fortunate in that we have had incredible support from our headline sponsor Cell C, various NGO’s and a host of food suppliers across the country. The impact this initiative has had on the lives of South Africans in need is heart-warming. And this weekend’s big shop with all the SA Franchise teams united as one touched more people’s lives than ever”.
Sunday’s big shop was made possible due to #RugbyUnites being selected as the beneficiary of the Vodacom SuperFan Saturday event, which took place at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday 26th September. The day also marked South Africa’s official return to competitive rugby, with the country’s four official Super Rugby franchises taking to the field for the first time this year.
The Emirates Lions faced the DHL Stormers and the host team, the Vodacom Blue Bulls, went up against the Cell C Sharks. For each try scored during the two games, @VodacomRugga donated R2500 to Sunday’s #RugbyUnites shop. And a total of 132 points were scored, raising an impressive R330 000.
The recipients of the food parcels on Sunday were the Lizo Gqoboka Foundation and the Ashfraful Aid Foundation. Each charity distributed 500 food parcels containing non-perishable food items.
“Having been a part of #RugbyUnites from day one, it’s been remarkable to see how our rugby players, past and present, are so willing to give up their time to be a part of this initiative, truly embodying the spirit of #RugbyUnites,” says Cell C CEO, Douglas Craigie-Stevenson.
One player who has been an important part of bringing together his fellow rugby players, is Emirates Lions captain and Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies.
“It has been a most rewarding couple of months spending time with Gavin, Cell C, the SA Rugby Legends and my fellow rugby players, helping to make a difference during these difficult times. It was a wonderful way for us to come together when we were not able to train or play at the height of the lockdown in South Africa. Now, we are back into the rugby action and running out into the park and playing again was such an incredible feeling. Joining hands with our country’s other teams and doing the big shop for #RugbyUnites was equally as special. We were all tired and had sore bodies after playing, but it was worth it, knowing that we were helping to put food on someone’s table”.
To stay up to date with news about SARLA’s continued efforts to support local communities, follow the SA Rugby Legends on Facebook. And for more information, please visit www.sarugbylegends.com
Facebook – @SARugbyLegendsAssociation
Twitter – @SARugbyLegends
Instagram – sarugbylegends