- Stormers rugby players got their hands dirty helping the Western Cape government set up a temporary field hospital in Cape Town.
- The players were led by inspirational Springbok captain Siya Kolisi.
- Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said the province wanted to harness the reach and impact sport stars have.
Rugby players are no strangers to physical effort, strain or endurance.
But few will have spent hours dragging hospital furniture off delivery trucks, and then hauling them into place in an emergency hospital for a global viral pandemic.
That’s precisely what the Stormers rugby squad did in Cape Town on Friday morning – led by inspirational Rugby World Cup-winning skipper Siya Kolisi – in a set play with Western Cape Premier Alan Winde.
The athletic, muscle-bound players took to battle at Brackengate – off the city’s R300 highway – where a temporary Covid-19 field hospital has been created inside a massive commercial hangar.
#iamastormer@THESTORMERS skipper @SiyaKolisi_Bear & his rugby squad put their athletic muscle-power to use in Capw Town;Off-loading beds, tables & other furniture with @alanwinde for Brackengate field hospital - preparing for patients' arrival.@News24 (@MurrayRSA) pic.twitter.com/jWHUIHoQFm— Team News24 (@TeamNews24) July 3, 2020
Winde explained why captain Kolisi and his fellow Stormers warriors had been enlisted: "People, citizens look up to heroes. When they see someone like Siya really getting involved, coming here to our hospital, making beds, this helps other people get involved.
"There are so many heroes in our province at the moment who are really blowing me away. Heroes help us all get through this Covid-19 virus."
Winde agreed openly that political, government and even medical leaders did not necessarily have the sway with ordinary people which many stars wielded - such as sports stars, in this instance.
"Heroes can reach ordinary people, in a way that no one else has been able to. Many people are now sitting at home, wondering about the virus, and probably now getting relaxed and not really understanding the impact.
"Yesterday, when we put out our latest numbers, we were comparing some of the numbers to some of the worst-hit parts of the world. And right here, in some of our districts, we’ve got similar numbers. And it shows you the real intensity of this virus, and how it’s hitting us – and of course that’s why heroes like Siya Kolisi coming here, and showcasing that he’s also knuckling down, getting involved, coming here to help us make beds, really getting involved in dealing with this virus.
"We all have to play our part, every single one of us. The most simple thing is wearing a mask and social distancing, but do a little bit more as well" Winde said.
The rugby players worked at the field hospital in shifts, unloading large furniture items like fridges, tables and an array of other furniture – unwrapping the items and hauling them into place, under the direction of hospital management.
Kolisi said it was an honour to have assisted.