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Founded close to two decades ago, the South African Rugby Legends Association (SARLA) has two primary objectives, that of the development of rugby at a grassroots level and secondly, to ensure the ongoing support of its legends. SARLA’s ongoing work both manages and supports our former legends in numerous ways, from the organisation and their participation in various match events, development and charity work and further, assisting with the care of those who tragically can no longer play our incredible game.

Following a life-altering injury, rugby players and their extended families are faced with incredible challenges. SARLA is committed to our rugby legends on every level, ensuring that their contribution to the sport continues to be recognised and aims to support and assist injured players wherever it may be required.

Early August saw such an opportunity arise, one in which SARLA could truly make a lasting difference to the lives of two former rugby greats, namely, Johnny Slabbert and Able Maqashalala, both of whom are based in the Eastern Cape.

Whilst playing for Patensie Rugby Club in August 2001, Johnny Slabbert was injured at the age of 38 on the field. Currently living in Ramaposa Village, near Patensie in the Eastern Cape, Johnny is a C6 quadriplegic and totally wheelchair reliant. His son takes wonderful care of him and Johnny tends lovingly to his vegetable garden daily. His positive ‘can do’ attitude continues to inspire rugby legends nationwide.

Able Maqashalala, a first team member of renowned rugby school, Selbourne College in East London, is suspected of having suffered a cardiac event which tragically resulted in brain damage from a loss of oxygen. This incident took place a mere few months ago, in January 2018, and he has spent the past months in special care in recovery. Due to the nature of his disability, Able will require full-time, 24-hour care and is currently being moved to his Grandmother’s home in Komga.

Due to the nature of both Able and Johnny’s injuries and their need for specialised care, the greater team managed to secure two brand new hospital beds which will provide great comfort and assistance to both the injured players and their caregivers. A situation arose, however, when it was realised that the transportation and delivery of this equipment was proving both enormously challenging and extremely expensive.

When the SARLA office was alerted of this predicament, the team at SARLA immediately called on one of SARLA’s amazing sponsors – DSV Global Transport and Logistics. Without hesitation DSV assisted with both the collection and safe delivery of the beds to our ecstatic recipients. Further, DSV’s drivers even assisted with the assembly of the beds, proving that they go far beyond the call of duty.

Stefan Terblanche, SARLA CEO, said “A generous act such as this proves that long after leaving the field, a team spirit is still present in the hearts and minds of all of our legends and supporters.” He added that “On behalf of SARLA, I would like to thank the entire team who made this dream come true, altering two lives for the better, especially Desmond Roddan (Operations Manager, DSV), Gordon Wyatt (Regional Director Air and Sea Africa), the amazing DSV Drivers and Tori Gardner and Gail Baerecke from the Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund. And let’s not forget the whole team at SARLA.