JUNIOR SHARKS RUGBY HOLDS A BOOT COLLECTION DRIVE FOR SOUTH AFRICAN CHILDREN
Rugby teammates are mates for life: South African Rugby Legends Association (SARLA) CEO, Stefan Terblanche, and his former Osprey’s teammate, Welsh international James Storey, have proven this to be true by working together to bring joy to young rugby players from underprivileged areas in South Africa.
United in rugby, Stefan and James keep in regular contact, which is how James heard about SARLA’s Vuka Rugby development programme, which helps to promote rugby at grassroots level and give children from disadvantaged areas the opportunity to play rugby. Like any other sport, it boosts their self-esteem and teaches them about discipline, team-work, and sportsmanship. James runs Junior Sharks Rugby, a successful rugby coaching company in the UK and he immediately saw a way to contribute to Vuka through a charity drive focusing on rugby boots and other gear.
Junior Sharks Rugby is named after Great White Sharks, by James’ son who has always been fascinated with the animals. It offers quality coaching to young rugby players around the Hertfordshire area and, in turn, contributes towards the development of rugby in the re-gion. James first got the idea of setting up a boot charity when he toured South Africa with Wales in 2002 and spent some time at a coaching clinic where a huge number of children arrived barefoot. The memory of these youngsters, who played rugby with no boots on, but still managed to have huge smiles on their faces, stayed with him. When his son, now 8, started playing rugby and growing out of his boots each season, he saw the growing pile of virtually brand-new rugby boots and realised that the gear could serve a worthy cause.
“I remembered Stefan sharing stories about the great work that was being done by SARLA and the Vuka Rugby programme”, recalls James. “The young athletes I work with are so privileged to have access to boots and other gear and we all wanted to use that privilege to help other young players who aren’t as fortunate.”
The boot charity is being run by Junior Sharks Rugby and they have already collected 100 pairs of rugby boots of all sizes, waiting to be sent to South Africa. Local clubs and schools from the Hertfordshire area have been contributing and the collection is gaining momentum via word of mouth and social media. With the current 2016 / 2017 rugby season drawing to a close, James is expecting many more pairs of boots and other types of rugby gear to be added to the pile.
“We are so excited that James and the Junior Sharks Rugby programme have reached out to Vuka”, said SARLA CEO, Stefan Terblanche. “Our work in previously disadvantaged ar-eas has brought rugby to many talented young players, but they find it difficult to play with-out the right equipment.” He adds, “Donations from initiatives such as this one goes a long way towards helping us achieve our goals and we are grateful for the fantastic support all the way from the UK!”
According to SARLA President Gavin Varejes, “SARLA and Vuka Rugby are very thankful for the donations and we will make sure that it is all put to good use. The children we work with will be thrilled and we can’t wait to see the smiles on their faces.”
“I’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received here in Hertfordshire and am amazed at how the boots keep coming in”, said James. “The Junior Sharks are proud to be able to help SARLA and to encourage children from all walks of life to play this incredible sport.”
SARLA’s logistics sponsor, DSV, have also come on board to arrange for the delivery of the boots from the UK.
Anyone based in the UK who needs more information or wanting to contribute to the boot collection drive can contact James at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those based in South Africa, please contact email@example.com.