Former Springbok AJ Venter and future stars of South African rugby Andries Strauss and Sias Ebersohn, will take the field for the ‘Heroes Rugby Challenge’ at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday 3 December 2011. The match, which kicks off at 16:30, aims to raise a substantial sum of money for Help for Heroes, the charity which provides practical support for wounded service men and women.
Venter, Strauss and Ebersohn will form part of the Southern Hemisphere XV set to play against a Northern Hemisphere side and will line-up alongside All Black rugby legends Andrew Mehrtens and Justin Marshall , Rugby World Cup 2011 winner Adam Thomson, New Zealand Maori Jackson Willison and All Black Under-21 Jeremy Thrush. The trio face a strong Northern Hemisphere XV which includes a mix of current and former professional rugby players including former England internationals Danny Grewcock and Will Greenwood, ex-French flanker Serge Betsen and Irish legend Malcolm O’Kelly.
Former Springbok flanker Venter played his club rugby for Natal Sharks making his international debut for South Africa against Wales in Cardiff, in 2000. He makes the trip to Twickenham from Durban where he is now runs his own transport and logistics business having retired from rugby in 2008. He is accompanied by two of South Africa’s most exciting new prospects. Andries Strauss, 27, a powerful centre and Sias Ebersohn, a 22 year old fly-half, both play Super Rugby for Toyota Cheetahs. Strauss was called up to represent the Springboks in 2010 to play against The Barbarians at Twickenham while Ebersohn, a former South African Under 20, is likely to be wearing a Springbok jersey soon.
AJ Venter said: “I’m delighted to be part of the Heroes Rugby Challenge. It’s definitely a good reason to pull my rugby boots back on and really looking forward to seeing a few familiar faces and maybe settling a few old scores. The game should be top class, especially with youngsters like Sias on the pitch, so I really hope South African rugby fans living in London get behind this game again and come down and cheer us on. It’d be great to see some South African flags inside Twickenham.”
Toyota Cheetahs Fly-Half, Sias Ebersohn, commented: “This is a great opportunity for me to play with some of the best players in the world, and the chance to run out at Twickenham is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m sure we’ll head out there and give our all to win, but the bigger picture is raising money for Help for Heroes.”
This year’s fixture, which will mark the tenth anniversary of Armed Forces Operations in Afghanistan, promises to be an even bigger attraction than the first Help for Heroes match in 2008, when over 52,000 spectators helped raise £1.46m for Help for Heroes.
Heroes Rugby Challenge supported by J.P. Morgan, Saturday 3 December 2011 at Twickenham Stadium, kicks off at 1630. Ticket prices start at £15 for adults, £10 for under 16’s, and are available through Ticketmaster. For more information please visit: heroesrugby.org.uk