Cape Town - Neil
de Kock will bid a final farewell to Saracens by captaining an all-star team at
Allianz Park on Friday, June 30.
former South Africa scrumhalf made the last of 263 appearances for the
European champions in April, but returns to the club to lead a team in the
Worldwide Currencies Cup match in aid of the Restart Rugby charity and the
#LiftTheWeight mental health awareness campaign.
Kock will line up with some rugby greats - like John Smit, Matt Stevens, Iain
Balshaw and Mark Cueto - as well as plenty of big names from Saracens history
like David Strettle, Hugh Vyvyan and Petrus du Plessis at the Sevens and the City
sport and music festival.
the cause - encouraging players to understand and seek support about issues
like anxiety and depression - is a one he fully supports as he prepares to
return to Cape Town and leave rugby behind to start a business career.
will definitely enjoy playing there at Allianz Park - I’ve been looking at the
team sheets and there’s such a lot of great guys involved,” said de Kock.
another opportunity to be on that pitch and I can’t wait to be back out there
again, although I hope I won’t be making too many tackles!
rugby players can be macho, ego-driven types of individuals still rings true.
But this is about trying to make people aware that you can struggle. There are
more guys who do come forward and express what they’re feeling now and
encouraging more to do that is a great initiative.
heard recently about the loss of Dan Vickerman (the former Australia lock who
took his own life in February) and we’ve got to keep raising awareness.
going to transition out of rugby after 20 years and your whole life revolves
around the team. So to reinvent yourself after that is daunting. This is a
great initiative and it’s good that Sevens and the City and the RPA are working
Kock arrived at Saracens in 2006 (“on a two year contract and stayed for 11
years”) at the start of a golden era for the club which has seen them lift
three Premiership and two European titles.
lists the 2011 Premiership final victory over Leicester Tigers as the game he
treasures most, a 22-18 win that showed the North London side was more than a
one-hit wonder after being beaten in the previous year’s final.
was the first year after the takeover and to come back and get over the line
was so satisfying,” he said.
"The expectation was that the first final was
a bit of luck and that in the second year we wouldn’t be at the races, so I’ll
always cherish it.
lot of it was down to hard work and we’re proud of our work ethic but in my
opinion it had a lot to do with the identity the club created.
arrival of (Director of Rugby) Brendan Venter and (Chief Executive) Ed
Griffiths focused on process and not outcomes, and created a family
environment. Maybe we weren’t the most talented team. But every team playing
against us would have to bring a big game.
don’t always remember the shortfalls but when we did lose five games in a row
we got through it and won the Premiership that year. We realised we were onto a
are available from sevensandthecity.com
Gerald Arasa, Iain Balshaw, Jonny Barrett, Mike Baxter, Ben
Boynton, Dan Browne, Craig Burrow, Noah Cato, Tom Cheeseman, Tom
Court, Mark Cueto, Gareth Davies, Mel Deane, Thinus Delport, Muna
Ebongalame, Philip Friel, Danny Grewcock, Simon Halliday, Dan
Harris, Justin Harrison, Rob Hawkins, Gareth King, Neil de Kock,
Olly Kohn, Nick Lloyd, Tom May, Lee Mears, Ugo Monye, Nils
Mordt, Fabio Ongaro, Michael Owen, Ryan Peacey, Shaun
Perry, Ollie Phillips, Petrus du Plessis, Alix Popham, Tony
Rea, Paul Reed, Lee Robinson, Gordon Ross, John Rudd, Dan
Scarbrough, Dean Schofield, Ben Skirving, John Smit, Matt Stevens, David
Strettle, Stephen Taylor, Jordan Turner-Hall, Hugh
Vyvyan, Paddy Wallace, Richard Webb, Tom Williams