DHL Western Province and the Vodacom Blue Bulls have decided to dedicate Saturday’s ABSA Currie Cup fourth-round match to two rugby heroes who are involved in a battle of their own, Tinus Linee and Joost van der Westhuizen, both of whom are suffering from MND.
As the world continues to highlight the plight of those affected by Neuromuscular Disease via the social media phenomenon that is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Province and the Blue Bulls have decided to highlight the bravery of both Linee and Van der Westhuizen through Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup clash at Loftus Versfeld.
The DHL Western Province players will wear armbands on Saturday with the wording ‘#TINUS’, whilst the men in Light Blue will be playing with ‘#J9′ armbands – all in a bid to create awareness of Motor Neuron Disease (MND) in South Africa and further afield.
The idea was the brainchild of Western Province captain Juan de Jongh, who told www.wprugby.com: “Tinus is a legend within Western Province rugby circles and, of course, nobody needs reminding of what Joost achieved as a Blue Bulls player, and in the Green & Gold of South Africa.
“We thought we would do our bit to create awareness for those affected by Motor Neuron Disease in South Africa and the world over, while at the same time, paying tribute to the bravery shown by Tinus and Joost, true warriors both on and off the field.
“As professional sportsmen, who are lucky and healthy enough to play a game we love, we are also very grateful for being able to do so on a weekly basis.”
Barend van Graan, CEO of the Blue Bulls Company, expressed the privilege and honour of being able to be involved in this fight on behalf of his team and staff: “Firstly, we must commend Western Province, and in particular their skipper Juan de Jongh, for conceptualising this initiative for Saturday’s game. This only enhances his abilities as a great leader.
“Both Joost and Tinus are undoubtedly legends of the game, and have contributed so much to growing this beautiful sport. It’s only fitting that we as a rugby community join them, and other sufferers, in their fight against this dreaded disease.
“We have been actively involved in assisting the J9 Foundation over the last year and are looking forward to a long road ahead together, with some amazing fund and awareness raising projects scheduled for the near future.”
David Thorpe, the CEO of the J9 Foundation, expressed his gratitude to both teams ahead of Saturday, saying: “It is great to see the Vodacom Blue Bulls and DHL Western Province supporting Joost van der Westhuizen, Tinus Linee, the J9 Foundation and so many others, in their fight against Motor Neuron Disease (MND).
“MND (ALS as it is referred to in other countries) is a relatively unknown degenerative disease which has no cure. With the support shown, awareness and funds can be created to help the J9 Foundation in improving the quality of life for those suffering from MND.”
Those wanting to make a donation for Tinus Linee can email firstname.lastname@example.org, whilst those wanting to make a donation towards the J9 Foundation should visit www.joost.co.za.
Kick-off at Loftus Versfeld is at 17h05 and tickets are now available at Ticketpros via online bookings at bulls.ticketpro.co.za. Ticket prices start from as little as R10 for kids (under the age of 18) and R50 for adults per ticket (behind the posts).
Due to road works around the stadium, The Blue Bulls Company would like to encourage the public to make use of the Gautrain. Gautrain Bus Services will operate between Hatfield Station and Loftus Versfeld with the last bus departing Loftus Versfeld at 20h00 to catch the last train at 20h30. (Standard train and bus fares apply.)