to loftus for big shopThe South African Rugby Legends Association (SARLA) is taking their hugely successful #RugbyUnites initiative up a notch this weekend. South Africa’s top Super Rugby franchises are coming together on Sunday, 27 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.

Gavin continues, “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 will be touching 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, taking place at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday 26 September. The day also marks 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 will face the DHL Stormers and the host team, the Vodacom Blue Bulls, go up against the Cell C Sharks. For each try scored during the two games, Vodacom will donate R2500 to the #RugbyUnites shop the next day.

The recipients of the food parcels on Sunday are the Lizo Gqoboka Foundation and the Ashfraful Aid Foundation. Each charity will be distributing 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. Elton says, “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 I can’t wait. I am so looking forward to running out into the park and playing again.

“Even more so, I’m looking forward to joining hands with our country’s other teams and doing the big shop for #RugbyUnites. I am sure we are all going to have tired, sore bodies after playing. But it will be worth it, knowing that we are helping to put food on someone’s table”.


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