The true spirit of the SA Rugby Legends came to the fore on Saturday when, despite the cold, wet and rainy conditions, a Natal Legends team ran out to face the “Madala’s” of the Ballito Dolphins Rugby Club in a match held to launch the club rugby season as well as to help raise funds for a new clubhouse and the Ryan Walker Foundation.
Held at the Ballito club’s home ground at Sugar Rush Park, familiar faces seen on the field included the likes of former Springboks and Sharks Justin Swart, Deon Kayser and Hentie Maartens as well as former Super Rugby stalwart for both The Sharks and Cheetahs, Nico Breedt.
It was an emotional game for scrum half Hentie Maartens, who was also captain of the Legends team, as he received the J9 jersey to play in, honouring the legendary scrum half Joost van der Westhuizen. “It was a big moment for me when coach Mac handed me the jersey and wonderful way to honour two great scrum halves. I was a contemporary of Joost’s, we played against each other as opponents and together in the Springbok squad. And it was also a great way to honour former Sharks scrummie Ryan Walker and his fight against MND,” said Maartens.
The Natal Legends dominated from the start, with Nico Breedt crossing the chalk soon after kick-off and Erik Aissing converting. Former England international Mike Horak, now part of the Cell C Sharks coaching set up, added another 5 points and Aissing once more on point with the boot. Just on halftime, the Madalas went over for a try but it was unconverted and the first half ended with the Legends ahead 14 – 5.
The Madalas came back firing in the second half, and put up a great defence. The rain also started pouring, slowing down the game but not the passion and spirits of both sides. Luke Smith and Dean Hayden scored a try each, both unconverted, Alfie Messenger also went over with Jason Wesson converting, and to finish it off with some flair, Deon Kayser sailed over the try line and kicked his own conversion to seal the deal for the Legends who finished off 38 – 5 at the final whistle.
Earlier in the day coach Ian McIntosh also hosted a rugby clinic for 80 young players from the area, with members the Natal Legends team being joined by Aussie Legend David Campese, SARLA CEO Stefan Terblanche and former Zim & Bok Prop Adrian Garvey.
Thanks to the Ballito Dolphins Rugby Club for a wonderful afternoon and great hospitality.