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The Springboks singing the National Anthem

As the ultimate Springbok fan, there is not much better than being there in the flesh to watch your national team run out in the green and gold and take home a win. This lifetime experience was realised by two Players’ Fund recipients – Sikhosonke Mani and Vuyo Mashologu who are both from PE, as the Springboks took on the Irish in the second of the three test series at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday 18 June 2016. This nail-biting match ended in the Springboks taking home the 32 – 26 victory! Following the final whistle, Sikhosonke and Vuyo were treated like royalty, as our friends at SA Rugby arranged for them to be greeted personally by most of the Springbok players and coach. An experience which left them grinning from ear-to-ear.

 

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Sikhosonke , Vuyo with Beast, Eben Etzebeth,               Adriaan Strauss and Jesse Kriel

Sikhosonke was injured in 2009 at the age of 21 and Vuyo sustained his injury in 2006 when he was 20 years old. Both are avid rugby supporters and live at the Cleary Park Cheshire Home in Port Elizabeth where they have become great friends. They are currently studying Business Management at Dower College. On completion of this course they plan to further their studies with honours and practical work-place experience, ultimately entering the working world by proving that their abilities far outweigh their disability.

The strength and determined attitudes of these two young men, lead to the Players’ Fund willing to provide them with the opportunity to explore a little more of the country and to experience a bit of adventure.

This would not have been possible without a number of fantastic people coming together to support Rugby’s Caring Hands.  SA Rugby sponsored the test tickets and Tori Gardner (Players’ Fund – Marketing and Events Coordinator) and her husband were the support on the ground when Sikho and Vuyo flew into Johannesburg on the Friday before the test. The QuadPara Association of South Africa went above and beyond and sponsored their fully-accessible accommodation at the Dave Lewis Lodge in Edenvale. This included breakfast and the assistance of a well-trained carer for their stay. QASA was also instrumental in providing a driver available for all land transfers.

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Robyn, Sikhosonke, Tori and Vuyo at the game

A weekend such as this may seem easy for those frequent fliers out there, but try adding a few motorised wheelchairs to the mix and the fact that Vuyo and Sikhosonke both need assistance from experienced carers; and it becomes apparent as to the importance of having a great team behind the scenes, enabling everything to run smoothly.

Vuyo wrote “I want to say thanks to the Chris Burger Player’s Fund, you really made our weekend very special! We are very grateful to have you by our side.”

It is thanks to support from the rugby community which allows such special occasions to happen so we’d like to thank everyone who supports the Players’ Fund in both small and large ways. We would also like to encourage you to consider donating to the Players’ Fund so that opportunities like this become possible for more of our promising recipients.

View the full gallery of their trip here!