Quintin van Jaarsveld
Springbok and local legends will lace up their boots and return to the field at the Fidelity Security South African National Golden Oldies Rugby Festival, which gets underway at Douglas Mitchell Sports Grounds on Thursday.
Thirty-two teams and over 600 players over the age of 35 will participate in the 35th edition of the annual festival, which focuses on fun, friendship and fraternity – the mantra of the South African National Golden Oldies Rugby Association (SANGORA).
One of the big names who’ll turn back the clock is Transvaal and Natal legend, Wahl Bartmann. The former Springbok flank, who won eight Test caps and led Natal to two Currie Cup titles, will lead the Fidelity Security side.
Hosts, the Riversmead South Coast Warriors Sugar Daddies, will field two teams – the Originals and the Pretenders.
The official opening will be held on Thursday evening, where after the Sugar Daddies Originals will square off against a combined SANGORA side in an exhibition game to set the tone for the festival of rugby fellowship.
Teams play in two categories – president’s grade and non-president’s grade – based on age and ability, and will meet in friendlies over the next two days.
The laws of the game are modified to reflect the spirit of Golden Oldies rugby. Players wear colour-coded shorts or bibs based on their age, which among other things determine the level of physicality for each age group.
Sportsmanship is the name of the game, therefore there’s no official winners. Instead, there’ll be awards for Most Attractive Rugby, Best Spirit and Best Dressed Team.
“We are very excited to be hosting the festival,” said Southern KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Sub-Union president, Dougie Haralambous, festival organiser and member of the Sugar Daddies Originals.
“It’s exactly 15 years ago when we last hosted this festival, which was a huge success, and we look forward to welcoming the teams and putting on a great event.
“For the Sugar Daddies, it’s not only about playing the game, but to also renew old friendships and just have a good time. We are fortunate that as a group, we can boast about a couple of things, like the team of the 80s, which was a great period in our club’s history, having achieved so much on the field.
“There was also the 1991 World Cup tour to the UK, which was very special for those of us who had the privilege to go on such an amazing tour kicking off in Czechoslovakia, so for the real ‘old ballies’ we’re planning to make this festival one to remember.”
The legendary side, who won three Peter Taylor titles in their heyday, included the likes of Haralambous, Zak Binikos, Len Moriarty, Hilton Kendall, Paul Lindsay, Gunther and Wally Wichmann, Martin Rowlands, Roy Sparg, Geoff Jones, Robin Klusener, Wayne Blamey, Brian Langeveldt, Steve van der Berg, Mike Clutterbuck and Danie Lourens.
Many of these stalwarts will run out for the Sugar Daddies Originals, who’ll play in the President’s division and in red shorts (no tackling).
The Sugar Daddies Pretenders will play in the more competitive non-president’s division and will feature the likes of David van Zyl, Johnny Steynberg, Duane Simpson and Darrel Wichmann.
The festival will raise funds for the Southern KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Sub-Union’s club and academy structures as well as the Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund.
“When a rugby player goes onto the field, he does so with a team behind him. When a serious injury changes his life and he can no longer run out onto the field – it is once again a team needed to lift him up.
“The Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund joins this team and supports rugby players in SA whose lives are changed on the field,” explained Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund General Manager, Gail Baerecke.
The organisation, known as Rugby’s Caring Hands, provides physical, psychological and emotional assistance to players who’ve sustained life-altering head, neck and spine injuries, and is currently actively supporting 107 recipients.
“To maintain the ethos of rugby and show we too care, we’ve adopted the Players’ Fund as the chosen charity of the event,” commented Haralambous.
South Coast Warriors Sugar Daddies Originals, South Coast Warriors Sugar Daddies Pretenders, Alberton Legends, Alberton Madalas, Bloemfontein Legends, Bloemfontein Legends Oldies, Boksburg Thunder Boys, Diggers DOBS, Durbell Old Boys 1 and 2, False Bay Crocs, Fidelity Security Services, Fury Golden Griffons, Goodwood Legends, Grizzlies Old Bears, Hillbillies Golden Oldies Rugby Club, Johannesburg Police Rugby Club, Laeveld Leeulopers, Losberg Golden Oaks, Middelburg Ougatte, Mongrels, Musketeers, Naka Goue Oues, Naka Old Boys, Parks Golden Oldies, Pretoria Harlequins Madalas, Richards Bay Rugga Rhinos, Stade Jo’burg, Tendellas Golden Oldies, Toti Rugby Club Old Boys, TWR and the Western Lions.
Fidelity Security South African National Golden Oldies Rugby Festival Agenda:
Thursday, 20 September:
18:00: Arrival and Socializing
19:00: Opening Ceremony:
Welcoming and Introduction of Teams
Host & President Short Speech
19:30: Exhibition Game
20:30: Socializing & Entertainment
Friday, 21 September:
08:30-09:00: SANGORA Exec Meeting – Main Clubhouse
09:00-09:45: SANGORA AGM Meeting – Main Clubhouse
09:45-10:15: Managers Meeting – Main Clubhouse
10:30: Games Commence as per fixture list
Saturday, 22 September:
10:00: Games commence as per fixture list
19:00: Closing Ceremony
Final address by Host & President
Best Dressed Team
Most Attractive Rugby
Host Announcement for the S.A.N.G.O.R.A 36th National Golden Oldies Rugby Festival 2019
20:00: Socializing & Entertainment
DAY 1 FIXTURES – Friday, 21 September:
|12:30||Bloemfontein Oldies||vs||Pretoria Harlequins|
|14:30||Toti Old Boys||vs||Western Lions|
|15:30||Golden Griffons||vs||Diggers DOBS|
|16:30||Sugar Daddies 2||vs||Naka Goue Oues|
|17:30||Sugar Daddies 1||vs||Alberton Madalas|
|11:30||Durbell 2||vs||Bobbies JHB|
|12:30||Middelburg Ougatte||vs||Rugga Rhinos|
|15:30||Thunder Boys||vs||Naka Old Boys|
|16:30||Alberton Legends||vs||False Bay Crocs|
DAY 2 FIXTURES – Saturday, 22 September:
|13:00||TWR||vs||Toti Old Boys|
|14:00||Alberton Madalas||vs||Bloemfontein Legends|
|15:00||Diggers DOBS||vs||Naka Old Boys|
|16:00||Sugar Daddies 2||vs||Losberg|
|17:00||Sugar Daddies 1||vs||Bobbies JHB|
|13:00||Stade Joburg||vs||Durbell 2|
|15:00||False Bay Crocs||vs||Western Lions|
|16:00||Naka Goue Oues||vs||Laeveld Leeulopers|
|17:00||Alberton Legends||vs||Rugga Rhinos|