Springbok rugby stars Eben Etzebeth and Francois Louw were recently hosted by Gavin Varejes at the Richmark Holding offices, to celebrate reaching their 50th test caps together. The two powerhouse forwards represent a new breed of aggressive young players that are set to continue the proud traditions of Springboks rugby following the departure of a number of senior players in recent years. The pair have emerged as key figures for the national side during a rebuilding period phase.
Celebrated by Gavin Varejes and SARLA
The Richmark Holdings Executive Chairman joined the players for lunch at the company’s offices, and also showed the lads his impressive international rugby memorabilia collection, assembled over a twenty year period. Gavin Varejes is the President of the South African Rugby Legends Association (SARLA), a non-profit group that aims to promote and develop rugby among underprivileged communities and at grassroots levels.
SARLA runs its community projects under the VUKA name, while all of the operations are overseen by the Legends. The Legends are former players, administrators and coaches who are actively involved in every aspect of VUKA’s projects – from fundraising and planning to coaching. Through training and competitive matches, the VUKA program is designed to introduce young people in previously under-coached areas of the country to the virtues of the sport. Team comradeship and a sense of belonging are offered to the players, in the hope that skills learned on the field can translate to successes off the field for the participants.
SARLA and VUKA’s Achievements
Since 2001 over 2200 young people have benefited from VUKA projects, run by qualified coaches with teams established and competing against one another at regional levels. These structured activities help build a community among the players, and raise their ambitions to achieve great things and fulfil their potential in life.