Johannesburg - Don’t be puzzled when the Lions take the field for their Super Rugby clash with the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday morning (06:15 SA time) with a distinct blue and white flavour.
Yes, blue and white.
The Lions will proudly be wearing the blue and white awareness colours of the Els for Autism Foundation during this years’ Super Rugby competition which will appear in the number on the back.
It is a well-known fact that legendary South African golfer Ernie Els has been an avid Lions supporter since childhood and in turn the GLRU will once again support the Els for Autism organisation as one of their charities.
The Els for Autism Foundation was established in 2009 by Ernie and Liezl Els to focus on the issue of autism, just a few years after discovering that their son, Ben, was profoundly impacted by the disorder, which affects an estimated 1 in 68 individuals. The Els for Autism Foundation based at the Centre of Excellence in Jupiter, Florida, aims to provide access to families across the globe to best practice interventions and support for dealing with the challenges of autism.
In early 2011, Ernie and Liezl Els made an impact in South Africa by opening the Ernie Els Centre for Autism in Johannesburg to allow lower-resourced families with Autism Spectrum Disorders to receive free intervention utilising an online treatment tool “Rethink First”, as well as provide advice and guidance for the parents and care-givers.
Els, who has won four golf majors, sent the following message to the Lions this week:
“As a proud supporter of the Lions, I am thrilled to be working with the union to raise awareness for autism. I just cannot wait to see how the special jerseys will look on the field. These kids with autism need our help and I am so happy to have these great players and role models supporting the cause. I want to personally wish MY team, the Lions, a hugely successful Super Rugby season ahead.”
15. Damian McKenzie, 14. Latu Vaeno, 13. Seta Tamanivalu, 12. Charlie Ngatai, 11. James Lowe, 10. Aaron Cruden, 9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8. Maama Vaipulu, 7. Sam Cane (captain), 6. Tom Sanders, 5. Brodie Retallick, 4. Michael Allardice, 3. Hiroshi Yamashita, 2. Rhys Marshall, 1. Pauliasi Manu
Substitutes: 16. Nathan Harris, 17. Mitchell Graham, 18. Siate Tokolahi, 19. Taleni Seu, 20. Michael Leitch, 21. Brad Weber, 22. Anton Lienert-Brown, 23. Glen Fisiiahi
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnal Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith
Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Fabian Booysen, 21 Jaco van der Walt, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg