In the words of Chairman – Morné du Plessis “I’ve been waiting for 50 years to speak to a room full of women about rugby”. Not only was the inaugural Women’s Day Breakfast a memorable morning, but one with a strong call from the rugby community – to #CelebrateRugbyWomen! Those who never miss a game, who pick up the pieces after a win or a loss, who are alongside every celebration and those who play the role of Rugby’s Caring Hands during times of injury!

We were honoured to have the guest list filled with names from so many spheres we work in; from the rugby world, the medical world, those who supply our recipients with rehabilitation and mobility equipment, sponsors and regular supporters of the Players’ Fund and friends of the fund, all whom ensured that every seat in the house truly represented Rugby’s Caring Hands.

No better-fitting panel members could have been called together, to share their personal stories from lives alongside the game of rugby, they were:

• Anne Lee Murray – PR manager of the Springboks (with over 200 Springbok test caps)
• Willemien du Toit – Physiotherapist and wife to Pieter Stef du Toit
• René Naylor – Springbok Physiotherapist (with over 100 Springbok test caps)
• Rachel Kolisi – Go-getter, social media influencer and wife to our Springbok captain Siya Kolisi

Their relaxed and honest conversation covered the highs and lows of what goes on behind the green and gold of the Springbok jersey. The fact that while they “lend their” husbands to the game, they still have to hold down jobs, get kids up and ready for school, manage their own busy diaries and be caring and supportive wives to men in the spot-light. Humorous tips were shared with the audience, like when it is appropriate to ask for a selfie when the player is out buying furniture with the family, as well as some of the inside stories and jokes played on international tours.

Anne Lee and René gave an inside scope on the meticulous planning that goes into every Springbok tour, the care that is taken while ensuring the health of the players and some of the sacrifices that have had to make to ensure they stay at the top of their game.

With the proceedings graciously managed by MC – Dr Phatho Zondi the room of women (with 6 brave men) were introduced to the work of the Players’ Fund, the impact the organisation has on the lives of the 108 recipients and how the proverbial wheels are kept turning.

Joey Lugt the wife of Players’ Fund recipient – JP, shared an honest look into what it takes to live successfully with JP whose life was changed on the field some 23 years ago. Her main message which was most profound was to always look at what can be done, rather than focus on what stands in your way. Not only was her honest and heart-warming story of true care and love uplifting, but she also highlighted the role of the Players’ Fund in their lives.

With the magnificent Bowls Club House at Kelvin Grove sponsored as the venue and the sparkling wine on arrival provided by Kloovenburg – the setting was ideal for an open and cheerful morning. Each guest left with a goodie bag filled to the brim, including a bottle of Delaire Graff’s beautiful Cabernet Franc Rose, with other wonderful eats and treats sponsored by local supporting companies.
A total of R27 500 was raised on the morning through ticket sales, the raffle draw and a highly contested auction expertly handled by Friend of the Fund – Tank Lanning.

If you were there – thank you for joining us, if you sponsored us for either the raffle or auction prizes – you are invaluable and we are grateful and if you missed it – we’ll see you next time.

To view photos from this event – please visit our Facebook page!

With such a positive reaction to this event, there have been many calls to host this event in other provinces, so if you are reading this and have the time and readiness to help us in your local area, please don’t hesitate in contacting us. With our limited staff contingent based in Cape Town, we are eager to find volunteer champions around the country who would be willing to act as home-base for a function like this which we would fully support as a fundraiser. If you think this concept might work in your local area, please contact events@playersfund.org.za so we can assess the feasibility of an extension of this event.