On the rugby field he was a gentleman of the game, today he is the CEO of SARLA and giving back to the game that gave him so much over so many years.
Stefan Terblanche played in 37 tests for South Africa, scoring 19 tries, including a South African test record of four tries (equalled with Chester Williams and Pieter Rossouw) on debut against Ireland at Bloemfontein on 13 June 1998, which he later bettered by scoring a then record five tries against Italy on 19 June 1999.
He started his career at the Boland Cavaliers playing 66 times for them before moving to the Sharks were he played 101 for the coastal side from 1999 to 2007.
He had a stint with Ospreys were he played 87 times for the Wales club side and was capped 37 times for the Springboks.
We had the privilege to have a chat with Stefan about the big work that SARLA does in our communities.
Q1 – Ruggaworld: Before we get into the Rugby Legends, it will be a sin not to ask you about your views from Saturday first test against England
ST – We achieved a great result and am sure you will agree that we made a wonderful comeback. What was even more pleasing was the way we played, there was a clear evidence of team spirit and strong player communication.
Q2 – Ruggaworld: Most supporters are exited with the way that Rassie Erasmus has started, you know Rassie well, what makes Rassie such a great visionary?
ST -Rassie is technically very astute and is a master tactician. It is clear that he spends considerable time constantly analysing the opponents and this really gives him an incredible advantage as a Coach. The sharing of this knowledge, combined with his coaching, will ensure the team will be extremely well prepared to execute the game plan for all of the games ahead.
Q3 – Ruggaworld: The Rugby Legends was founded in 2001, what is your objectives with the Association?
ST – We provide a platform for the ex-players to ‘give something back’ to rugby. We aim to pass on the passion we still have for rugby and further, to have fun while doing so. We also raise funds for our VUKA development programme, which is growing substantially each year and where we introduce new players to the game of rugby.
Q4 – Ruggaworld: Development is such an important aspect in our game today, you have Vuka rugby and Legends Cup, can you explain what the Vuka Rugby is all about.
ST – The VUKA Rugby Development Programme is a platform for rural, non-traditional rugby playing schools, the dormant model C schools, and encourages the growth of rugby on many different levels. We are faced with many challenges which include transportation, finding facilities, gang violence and fund raising. We are growing at a very steady pace and more and more players are joining VUKA Rugby. It’s an incredibly rewarding and exciting initiative.
Q5 – Ruggaworld: This programme is run from U15 to U19, how do you identify in which communities you get involved?
ST – We identify certain schools and areas where there is both the desire and the talent and try and secure a central venue where these schools can play the game. We have many teams lining up to join and we could quite easily double the numbers if we could generate and raise sufficient funds.
Q6 – Ruggaworld: Have you had any success stories (players) from your Vuka development?
ST – We have many! There are fantastic and inspiring stories from kids playing in both the Grant Khomo and the Craven weeks, to referees officiating at provincial level.
In addition, we have been successful in providing full bursaries for talented individuals at traditional rugby playing schools and prestigious private schools to provincial universities. There are many more success stories to be shared and still to be made.
Q7 – Ruggaworld: What is the feeling from the communities when you go in there to add not just rugby but also social skills to these kids?
ST – The programme is always accepted with great interest and there is a strong willingness to get involved. Rugby is growing in these areas and for us it is so much more than just about the sport. It is an incredible opportunity for these kids to stay off the streets after school and to not get involved in gangs or other activities that may harm or hurt them. These kids often become role models and an inspiration for their peers. I truly believe that it is one of the most successful activities in SA today and being as personally involved as I am, is an extremely satisfying experience.
Q8 – Ruggaworld: You also run the Legend Cup to develop rugby in our communities, tell us more what you do with the Legends Cup.
ST – Through the VUKA Rugby Programme we identify the best players in the areas and provide them with the opportunity to play against the best players from the other areas and zones. We select zonal teams and the best boys play against one another.
Q9 – Ruggaworld: Last year Durban played host to the South Africa and Monaco Rugby Exchange programme, this year you guys will take it to Cape Town to run inside with the English tour. What will be happening in this week?
ST – We have planned a week jammed-packed with fun, rugby and excitement. Activities for the visiting Monaco kids include a visit to Robben Island, Shark Cage diving and off course, rugby coaching from some of the very best in addition to playing in a tournament. A highlight of the week will of course be attending the test match on Saturday against England. We are also bringing out the England Ladies World Cup Winner, Rachael Burford, who will promote and coach some of our young girls and ladies’ teams in and around Cape Town.
Q10 – Ruggaworld: If old players, sponsors and people want to get involved in your development programmes, can they? And how can they get involved?
ST – We absolutely welcome all help and donations. We get old team mates donating their kits from abroad, ex-players giving us their time and they often travel with SA Rugby Legends locally and abroad. We have sponsors and donators but we always welcome with open arms any contributions, however small you think it might be, it makes a world of difference. Any interested person can contact the SA Rugby Legends at any time and chat to me.
Q11- Ruggaworld: Lastly, we need to ask you, will the Springboks take the series against England?
ST – Yes, I think they will as the first game was always going to be the toughest with a new and unsettled, inexperienced team. The Boks will win 3-0 but I predict that come the last test, they may take their “feet off the gas” so I will go for 2-1 series win. I think England gave their all and came up short in the 1st test and it will be very hard for them to truly believe that they can win the next game.
Ruggaworld: Thank you, Stefan, for your time and keep doing the good work you guys do at the Legends.
ST – Thanks for the opportunity to tell you more about SA Rugby Legends and please contact me with any queries and requests. We are happy to help and we wish to grow the game wherever and however we can.