'Hollywood Boks' at CT Tens
Cape Town - The aptly-named 'Hollywood Boks' - a rugby team made up of those players who starred as the 1995 Springboks in the film Invictus - will add more glitz and glamour to the 2010 Cape Town Tens.
The 2009 Cape Town Tens was the breeding ground for the Clint Eastwood-directed production - based on Nelson Mandela's first few months as South Africa's new President in 1994/95, which coincided with the goings-on before and during the '95 Rugby World Cup in SA - with Invictus scouts spending time 'shopping' for players at Hamilton's.
Former Samoan and Bath No.8 Zak Feaunati - who played for the Legends team at the 2009 Tens - was cast as All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu in Invictus, whilst at least three other players from the inaugural Tens - Graham Lindemann (Kobus Wiese), Thomas Boyd (Hannes Strydom) and Sean Pypers (James Small) - were selected for the movie which hit in early December.
And, to celebrate their time as cast members during the shooting of this epic movie, the Hollywood Boks (as they have so appropriately named themselves) decided to join forces again - this time in a more social environment; at the 2010 Cape Town Tens Beer League.
"The guys starring as the Springboks all got on very well during filming - spending 10 weeks together meant that we formed a bond very quickly," Hollywood Boks captain Thomas Boyd told www.capetowntens.com.
"There was plenty of tough rugby when we did 'free-play' for the cameras, sometimes for eight hours a day - on and off - and also some pretty hard work put, like when we filmed until 2am in the morning in the freezing rain for the French game! Those times coupled with the inevitable banter of rugby players, and the general excitement of being involved in a once-in-a-lifetime experience, meant that we felt like a real rugby team."
It was not long and the name 'Hollywood Boks' was coined amongst the men starring as the 1995 World Cup Boks.
"I came up with the name and the idea of getting some T-shirts made during filming, which went down very well with the boys and, so, the Hollywood Boks were born," explained Boyd.
"We were all very excited to meet up again during the Invictus Premiere last year and that's where the idea came for us to put in a team at the Cape Town Tens.
"We've actually got some decent players in our squad - many of whom are still active Super League players in Cape Town, so we're looking forward to some good rugby and also having some fun in the beer tent!"
Of course, the beer tent at Hamilton's is where Boyd - and some of his cohorts - were first spotted.
Thomas explained: "I was first spotted standing in a pair of shorts, looking rather knackered and sipping some of the sponsor's product (in the beer tent).
"I would never have been able to experience any of this without the Cape Town Tens, so I am very thankful for that and I hope our inclusion will add some extra fun to what is already a super tournament.
"It's great that we'll be making our first appearance as a team at the Cape Town Tens, but we're hoping that this will be the start of other adventures for the Hollywood Boks," he added. "We'd love to play in another tournaments around the world and also, in the process try and raise some money for charity. We may even produce one of those off-field calendars, like French club Stade Français do, but that depends on how much we have all eaten and drunk over New Year's!
"We've just launched a website - www.thehollywoodboks.com - which should be live soon, and I'm still in touch with Matt Damon... so if the opportunity arises I'll try and persuade him to be patron or president of the Hollywood Boks."
The Hollywood Boks will be sponsored by Sport24 - the Cape Town Tens' official media partner - and they will play in Green & Gold, thanks, once again, to the handiwork of Kirsten Nel and her team at Stud Rugby.
"Our shirts should be ready soon and when they are we'll pop them up on our website," said Boyd, before continuing: "Tank Lanning and his team at Sport24 are right behind us as headline sponsors, which is a great boost for us, and my own company, Digital Fire - a local and international email and video marketing business - will also be helping finance the team.
"Being part of the Invictus crew was an amazing experience and something I will never forget," he added.
"But my favourite thing about the whole experience - the movie aside, of course - was meeting and making friends with the other Hollywood Boks players, I think that we have made friendships which will last a lifetime.
"The lads were a great mix of unique and different characters. Let's just hope we can play some decent rugby when the Cape Town Tens tournament kicks-off!"