A glittering array of 42 national team captains from all of South African rugby’s diverse traditions will gather at the V&A Waterfront on Wednesday (March 27) for a unique ceremony.
Current captain Jean de Villiers, as well as modern legends such as Francois Pienaar and Joost van Westhuizen, will join the oldest living Springbok captain, 83-year-old Des van Jaarsveldt, and many, many others in an event to mark the countdown to a major new rugby museum.
The Captains’ handprints will be captured in special moulds in a public ceremony at the Amphitheatre at the V&A Waterfront (from 14h00). The moulds will be later cast into bronze and installed as part of the new Springbok Experience rugby museum, which is due to open at the V&A Waterfront in September.
The Experience will tell the story of rugby in South Africa from the 1860s. As well as the ‘traditional’ Springbok story, the spotlight will be turned on the story of black rugby, prior to the creation of what is now SARU in 1992.
Austen van Heerden, the oldest living captain of the former South African Coloured Rugby Football Board – who led the team in 1961 – will be in attendance as well as Bomza Nkhola, the oldest surviving captain of the South African African Rugby Board and Salie Fredericks, the captain of the first SARU team in 1968.
“We have had a tremendous response from the captains for what will be a once-in-a-lifetime event,” said Mr Oregan Hoskins, president of the South African Rugby Union.
“The Springbok Experience will tell their story – and of the teams they captained. By capturing their handprints for posterity we will have a permanent record that those players passed this way – one that rugby followers can literally touch.
“It will be a very special occasion – to have more than 40 national captains assembled in one place – and one that will never be repeated.”
The public ceremony starts at 14h00 when the oldest living captain, Des van Jaarsveldt, will be asked to provide his handprints, right the way through to Jean de Villiers – the most recent national captain – as well as the trailblazing captain of the Springbok Women’s team, Nomsebenzi Tsotsobe.
The full list of confirmed captains – in historical order – is as follows:
Des van Jaarsveldt; Avril Malan; Austen van Heerden; Abie Malan; Ebrahim Rinquest; Nelie Smith; John Bekkers; Dawie de Villiers; Welile (“Bomza”) Nkhola; Salie Fredericks; Norman Mbiko; Hannes Marais; Dougie Dyers; Piet Greyling; Liston Ntshongwana; Thompson Magxala; Cassiem Jabaar; Jack Juries; Peter Jooste; Theuns Stofberg; Wynand Claassen; Julian Smith; Randy Marinus; Divan Serfontein; Naas Botha; Peter Slabbert; Fagmie Solomons; Jannie Breedt, Allister Coetzee*; Francois Pienaar; Tiaan Strauss; Adriaan Richter; Gary Teichmann; Corné Krige; Rassie Erasmus; Joost van der Westhuizen; Andre Vos; Bobby Skinstad; Nomsebenzi Tsotsobe; Mandisa Williams; Ingrid Botha, Jean de Villiers*.
* Stormers commitments permitting.
THE SPRINGBOK EXPERIENCE:
The 800m2 facility will feature a modern, interactive rugby museum, Springbok shop and ‘Springbok Trials’ rugby skills zone. The Springbok Experience replaces SARU’s former museum in Boundary Road, Newlands and is set to provide an eye-opening contrast to traditional museums.