Cape Town - The SA Rugby Legends have kicked off their first match of the year with a win against the Gloucester Rugby Heroes at Kingsholm Stadium in Gloucester over the weekend.
Fielding a star-studded team of former Springboks and first class rugby players, many of whom have also played in the club set up in the UK during the course of their professional careers, the South Africans put on a solid defensive effort throughout the game, despite the wet and very muddy conditions, to win 12 – 10.
Led by John Smit, the SA Rugby Legends travelled to Gloucester and the home of the Cherry and White Hoops to help contribute to the various events celebrating the 125th anniversary of Kingsholm Stadium, the club’s home ground. Along with the game, a gala dinner was also held to help raise funds for various rugby charities.
Familiar faces on the field included Breyton Paulse, Tonderai Chavhanga, Butch James, Thinus Delport, Rudi Keil, Henno Mentz and Lawrence Sephaka.
The stadium had a good crowd of supporters who came to see these former players in action once more. The hosts started the scoreboard ticking with an unconverted try from fullback Dave Knight to lead 5-0.
Former Western Province and Saracen’s flanker, Justin Melck, with great support from John Smit, went over for the SA Legends first try. Butch James converted, putting his team 5-7 ahead
Prolific try scorer Henno Mentz then took advantage of a neatly placed kick from Stefan Terblanche for an unconverted try to extend the SA Legends lead.
The try of the match came just before half time with former Gloucester fullback Roy Cook, who left the club last season, seeing a clear path to the try line from halfway and in a stunning display of individual skill, he managed to evade the defensive lines of the South Africans to score a magnificent try, much to the delight of the Kingsholm faithful.
The conversion did not go over, and with no points scored in the second half, despite Gloucester winning the territorial advantage, the tally remained 12-10 to the SA Rugby Legends.
“It’s always wonderful to wear a jersey that represents your country, and to win in it, even sweeter,” said SARLA CEO Stefan Terblanche.
“Matches like this, not only rekindle old rivalries and help promote the amazing spirit of the game, but prove that many of our former players still have petrol in the tank and the skill and talent to still play.” he said. “It was a big ask to have the guys match ready so soon after the festive season break, but they all took it on as a challenge. Yes, we have rolling subs and perhaps don’t play a full match, but we give it our all, especially when we are flying the flag for South Africa,” he added.
SA RUGBY LEGENDS SQUAD
Dave von Hoesslin
Delarey Du Preez
De Wet Barry
Coach – Ian McIntosh