Wheelchair-bound former rugby hero presents Boks match jerseys
FORMER Springbok flank André Venter presented the Springboks with their match jerseys yesterday.
Venter played in 66 Tests for the Springboks between 1996 and 2001 and was a member of the team that won the bronze medal at the 1999 Rugby World Cup in the United Kingdom.
He has been in a wheelchair in recent years after being struck down by a degenerative syndrome of the central nervous system called trans- verse myelitis. He is a successful businessman and also a motivational speaker.
Venter shared some inspirational words with the Springboks before he presented the match 23 with their playing jerseys for today’s clash with New Zealand.
“I can see there is something special happening within this group,” said Venter to the current crop of Springboks, and urged the players to embrace the responsibility of wearing the green and gold.
“It is important to believe in what you’re doing and where you’re heading. The Springboks have an unbelievable history and you must be able to write your own chapter.”
Venter had the honour of presenting the Bok players with their jerseys on two previous occasions, and said he was extremely grateful and blessed to do so for a third time. The honour of playing for the team and your country is something that is not easy to describe, explained Venter.
“Only when you’re no longer playing and not part of that unique circle any more, that is when it dawns on you how special the Springbok environment is. My advice to the players is to enjoy the experience and to make a telling contribution to the rich story of the Springboks.”
Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth described Venter as probably the hardest man ever to play for the Springboks: “He epitomises everything you want in a great Springbok, so it was an unbelievable honour to receive our Test jerseys from André.”
Meanwhile, SA Rugby said yes- terday it had made progress with trade union Cosatu and the Minister of Sport Thulas Nxesi over broadcasting rights following a meeting held over two days in Cape Town.
SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said: “The meetings were held in a very good spirit and we definitely made progress in terms of our dialogue on the topic of broadcasting rights.
“We have existing agreements in place regarding the broadcasting of rugby in South Africa, which are within the regulatory framework which governs this. If it was not for the revenue generated from these deals, rugby as a sport in our country would not be able to survive. It allows us to stay in the game.
“We agreed to meet again with all the relevant stakeholders and to engage with them in terms of the mechanics of the broadcasting of local rugby matches in future, as well as the funding of sport.
“As SA Rugby, we are always supportive of and open to dialogue on important issues regarding our sport here in South Africa.”
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