By Johan Pretorius
eHowzit sports editor Quintin van Jaarsveld was invited to interview members of the Springbok squad during the BrightRock Play The Bounce banquet at Montecasino on Tuesday evening.
The annual Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund function was once again attended by the entire Springbok team, each of whom hosted a table of guest.
The Wallabies also threw their weight behind the event, which raised funds for the Fund, which was started in 1980 to support South African rugby players who sustain disabling and life-changing head, neck or spinal cord injuries on the field of play.
Van Jaarsveld broke his neck whilst playing scrumhalf for Hoërskool Suid-Natal’s first team against Durban North College at the age of 16 in 2000 and has since gone on to become an award-winning sports journalist.
He was invited to interview Springboks Faf de Klerk, Trevor Nyakane and Steven Kitshoff on stage, and attended the evening with fellow Fund recipients Dan Lombard, Jzaun Dreyer and Dyllan Beneckhe. Lombard, who’s also a sports journalist, interviewed Wallabies Dane Haylett-Petty, James Hanson and captain Steven Moore.
“It’s great to be a part of this event in a dual capacity,” Van Jaarsveld said.
“For Gail [Baerecke, Players’ Fund General Manager] and the team to invite and entrust me to do the on-stage interview with the Boks is humbling from a personal point of view and validating in a professional capacity – to know that they recognise and have confidence in my ability as a sports journalist.
“In many ways, tonight signifies me coming full circle – it’s a chance to reflect on the hardship and challenges I’ve faced, and to celebrate how far I’ve come physically and professionally since the fateful day of my injury.
“They asked me to think outside of the box and to ask a few lighter questions and ultimately the players had to play ball so to speak to make it entertaining.
‘Faf, Trevor and Steven were all great sports, Trevor showing off some #MovesLikeTrevor and Faf and Steven dishing up antics inside the Bok camp that supporters rarely hear about, so a big thanks to them.’
“It’s great to have the support of the Boks and the Wallabies, for them to take time out of their busy match-week schedules to spend the evening with us and generously donate funds to the Fund.
“Nights like these highlight the bond we as rugby players share. There’s a brotherhood that all players are a part of, one founded on respect that makes for great camaraderie among us and tonight’s casual interactions speak to that.
“The players are all top guys and it’s great to get an opportunity to meet and talk to the other recipients. I’d like to thank both teams, companies like BrightRock and the general public who support the Fund, and Gail, Tori [Gardner, Fund marketing and events co-ordinator], Eleanor [Kloppers, Fund office administrator], Morné [du Plessis, Fund chairman] and everyone else at the Fund.
“The Fund is one of the cornerstones of my life along with my Heavenly Father, my family and other organisations and individuals who continue to help me on this rocky road – without them, frankly, I wouldn’t even be alive let alone here tonight.”
To date, the Fund has helped no fewer than 400 seriously injured players and their families by providing support and mobility equipment, vital in the transition to living life under very different circumstances.
The Fund is also involved in efforts and programmes like BokSmart to make rugby safer and to prevent catastrophic injuries from happening.
For more information and to support the Fund, visit www.playersfund.org.za.
Photos by Carl Fourie
Watch unedited cellphone video below. Quintin quizzing Faf de Klerk, Trevor Nyakane and Steven Kitshoff.