Showdown between rugby clubs raises funds for Liv Village

2013-08-16 00:00

WHILE it was a cold and dull afternoon at Liv Village on Wednesday, there were plenty of warm hearts as the inaugural showdown between Saracens and College Rovers kicked off on the John Smit field.

The village, just past Verulam, was a kaleidoscope of colour and character, as the Liv Cup was contended, a fundraiser for the village, which looks after 750 orphaned children in 96 homes.

The brainchild of former Natal cricketer Tich Smith, the home has recently celebrated its second year and is expanding to accommodate 1 000 children in the near future.

“This is an incredible day for us and we are indebted to Saracens and College Rovers for making this happen,” said Smith.

“There are five million orphaned children in South Africa, with up to 12 000 in this predicament every month. We, as a country, have to do something, and my prayer is for South Africa to be known as a country which looks after its children, rather than the negative picture of crime which is always portrayed.”

Among the spectators on the banks and in the stands were several current and past sportsmen. Sharks players Jacques Botes, Charl McLeod, Craig Burden and Keegan Daniel were spotted, as were Stefan Terblanche and Brendan Venter, the new director of rugby at the Sharks.

Turning back the clock a little further, tennis ace Kevin Curran swung by to watch some of the game, as did Peter Pollock, Ian MacIntosh, Dave Pearce and Neil Johnson.

On the sidelines, Saracens CEO Edward Griffiths was snapping away with his camera, happy his charges were part of a historic occasion.

“I was introduced to the Liv concept by John Smit and this is a fantastic cause for charity,” he said.

“Last season we wore the Liv logo on our jersey and when the opportunity arose for us to have a game as part of our pre-season preparations, to be played at the village, we could not refuse.

“There are 11 South African players in our squad so there is a feeling of empathy for what is being done and what this game is about.

“We focus on creating a positive impact as a team wherever we go and will endeavour to help Liv as much as we can.”

For the spectators, Saracens delivered a more than positive display on the field.

Rovers, a champion club side in their own right, were at the end of a long season, all the hard work having already been done.

On the other side of the coin, Saracens are gearing up for their season and they were ruthless on the field, running in countless tries in a one-sided 75-0 win, leading 28-0 at half-time.

There were no penalties, with both sides running and keeping the ball in hand.

At the end of the day, rugby was secondary and a bonus on a Wednesday afternoon.

Liv was the winner as it had the opportunity to showcase its work and cause, a shining light in enriching the lives of the abandoned and lost.

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