RWC MESSAGES Classes of 1995 and 2007 back the Boks
SEPTEMBER 2019 ISSUE 9
Griquas rugby k c a r t n o k c a -b
INGING IT W D N A K C A B S ICK MOUSTACHES CORNAL HENDR D N A S K O B G IN R RWE - SP FLIP VAN DER ME OUR FOLLOWERS Y E S A E R C IN : S IP INSTAGRAM T PENING AT THE P A H ’S T A H W N E E RGANISATION ATUS - RED vs GR O T ’ S S P R P E A Y ’ A S L R P E Y A L CHECK YOUR P
PL U S
What’s Happening at the Players’ Organisation
What’s Your App Status?
Get to know your Part-time PDMs
Sending the Springboks off to Japan
Flip van der Merwe On the Flip Side!
The Griquas - Back on Track
Increase your Instagram Followers
Let’s get to know the Griquas Team
Cornal Hendricks Back and Winging it
MYPLAYERS / EDITOR’S LETTER
We are #StrongerTogether, South Africa! In this issue the Springboks of 1995 and 2007, who lifted the Webb Ellis Cup respectively, sent their best wishes to the men in green and gold before their departure to Japan to go represent our country at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Reading their messages was inspiring and it is almost time for us to head to Japan to work towards a third victory in a Rugby World Cup Final. We cannot wait to sing each word of our National Anthem, together with the boys when they line-up for that 80 minutes to follow. Speaking of boys. There is a group of them who deserves special mention: Griquas secured their first SuperSport Rugby Challenge title. We caught up with their captain George Whitehead and a few of his teammates: Ederies, André, Gideon and Anthony. From them we heard all about what that victory meant and learnt more about their team culture. The comeback king, Cornal Hendricks from the Vodacom Blue Bulls, also speaks up about his mental health journey while having to deal with the news of his heart condition in 2016. Leading up to October – which is mental health awareness month – he told us all about overcoming those small battles in life to become a better and stronger person. Today he’s back on the rugby field while running his own foundation to fuel his passion for giving back to his local community where he was raised. Travelling abroad to France we caught up with former Springbok lock, Flip van der Merwe, who can grow a mean moustache and drinks up to 10 cups of coffee per day! We asked him about his retirement from the game, his first call to join the Springbok squad and what ventures he will take on after enjoying a long holiday in South Africa. In this issue, you can also read more about what’s happening at the Players’ Organisation, the Players’ App, your part-time PDMs and awesome new deals and competitions from our benefit partners. Last, but certainly not least, if you want to learn how to break the Instagram algorithm and increase your following - scroll down to our Instagram article to read more about the tips and tricks to do so. Happy reading & let’s go Springboks!
Editor of the MyPlayers Magazine
Design partner & sub-editing
PLAYERS’ APP / MYPLAYERS
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MYPLAYERS / MESSAGES TO THE SPRINGBOKS
e h t g n i d n e s s k o b g n i r sp n a p a j o t f of
Legendary Springboks, who lifted the Webb Ellis Cup in 1995 and 2007 respectively, are standing behind our pride in green and gold when they depart in September for Japan to compete in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
MYPLAYERS RECEIVED THESE MESSAGES FROM SOME OF THEM:
Hennie le Roux (Springboks 1995) Wishing our Boks all the very best in the 2019 RWC. Believe in yourself and your team, we are confident that you can do it!
T – TOGETHER The collective is more important than the individual. E – ENERGY No substitute for the energy people bring to the team.
A – ASPIRE To achieve the ultimate prize in rugby. M – MOTIVATE Stay motivated and committed no matter what emotions you have – never give up.
Joel Stransky (Springboks 1995) It is the most amazing privilege and honour to play at a RWC. The experience will be one that you cherish forever. In 1995 Kitch Christie wrote a letter to us players which read as follows: “When we win the World Cup, it will change our lives forever.” How right he was, but more so his belief and positivity instilled in us a belief that we could win the RWC. I believe that this Springbok team has more than enough talent, and has the grit and the mind-set to win.
I wish you well on this great challenge and hope that it will change your lives forever! 4
Chester Williams (Springboks 1995) I want to take the opportunity to say good luck to the Springboks. It’s all about pride, passion and precision. You have worked hard to be where you are now, go out each game to do what you’ve been trained to do, playing rugby. Enjoy, have fun and implement. We as South Africans are standing right behind you, as one team, one nation and one country.
Go make us proud!
Naka Drotske (Springboks 1995)
Good luck for the Rugby World Cup Bokke. I’m 150% behind you. Go Bokke!!!
kobus wiese (Springboks 1995) Jean de Villiers (Springboks 2007) To lift the Webb Ellis Cup is what every player dreams of, especially with all the hard work they have put in over the years. This opportunity is only once every four years. You’ve got the privilege and chance in September to go live out every Springbok supporter’s dreams and hopes and in the process to bring the holy grail of rugby back to where it belongs. Good luck and we believe in you every step of the way.
World Cups are special in so many ways. It’s more than just 7 games that you play and hopefully bringing old Bill back to where he belongs. It’s about creating memories on and off the field, but even more so it’s about building friendships! You’ll be spending so much time together so make sure the bonds you create off the field will carry you through on the field. Luck wasn’t always on my side at World Cups but I still managed to have some unbelievable memories and for that I’m eternally grateful. You never know when or if you’ll get the opportunity again so make the most of it. Don’t let the pressure and the magnitude of the occasion spoil the absolute honour of representing your country on the international stage and embrace the pleasure and enjoyment of going into the battle with friends.
It’s your time to create new memories! 5
MYPLAYERS / THE GRIQUAS
BACK ON TRACK THIRD TIME LUCKY There is no pleasure in heading home empty-handed so, after defeats in the 2017 and 2018 SuperSport Rugby Challenge finals, the Griquas finally showed just what their fighting spirit could muster. Griquas lost in the past two years against the Western Province and the Pumas respectively, but it was third time lucky this year when they beat the Pumas in Saldanha Bay and took the trophy back to Kimberley. MyPlayers chatted to George Whitehead, André Swarts, Ederies Arendse, Anthony Volmink and Gideon van der Merwe about the union’s first Rugby Challenge title and what set the Griquas apart from the rest.
Anthony Volmink Fullback
THE GRIQUAs GUYS ON CLAIMING THEIR FIRST RUGBY CHALLENGE TITLE
Ederies Arendse Right wing
André Swarts Inside centre
George Whitehead Captain and flyhalf
Gideon van der Merwe Left flanker
Having come so close yet so far in consecutive finals, the Griquas couldn’t have been more determined heading to the final in Saldanha Bay. Even more so considering the Pumas denied them the title in 2018, and then inflicted their only defeat of 2019 – 27-38 in Round 5. Revenge was sweet though, as they kept the Pumas out of reach to claim the trophy for the first time, thanks to a final score of 28-13.
THE GRIQUAS / MYPLAYERS
Getting their turn to lift the trophy and show it off to their loyal supporters must have been rewarding. Whitehead: “It felt great in the way that all of our hard work which we put in during pre-season and also during the competition was rewarded.” Swarts: “We as players have gained a lot of self-belief after claiming the SuperSport Rugby Challenge title, which I think was a bit missing in Griquas rugby over the past few seasons.” Arendse: “To lift that trophy as the winners was for me just extra special. I’ve played in numerous finals, but this one in 2019 we were just undefeated, so it was very special.” Volmink: “This victory made me realise once again that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it. We definitely worked hard and the boys were hungry to finally bring that trophy home.” Van der Merwe: “It’s one of my highlights of the year so far. It was one incredible competition and I can’t describe it in more words for you. I believe that it’s a huge stepping stone for us and this excites me for what’s to come.”
WHAT SETS THE GRIQUAS APART FROM THE REST Dynamite comes in small packages and for being one of the smaller unions within the South African rugby landscape, they are known for their fighting spirit, hard work and brotherhood. Whitehead: “We are a group of players and coaches who work hard for one another. The team always comes first and we hold one another accountable for our standards.” Swarts: “I think we have a great brotherhood at the Griquas. It might sound a bit cliché, but here’s a caring and supporting vibe amongst the players.” Arendse: “One just fits in easily here at the Griquas. There is just that welcoming feeling which you get, when you enter the stadium.” Van der Merwe: “We work very hard to achieve our goals and we also pay attention to the small things, which will later result into something big.”
MYPLAYERS / THE GRIQUAS
ON WHAT THEY ARE DOING WHEN THEY ARE NOT PLAYING Speaking of their brotherhood, when they are not busy competing within the four white lines, they are busy making memories off the field. Swarts: “We do everything together. Over the weekends we spend a lot of time together whether it is to braai or just to have a drink or two. I mean Kimberley isn’t that big.” Arendse: “This year we arranged more dinners amongst one another, because we are currently a bunch of new guys who need to get to know one another very quickly. What better way to get to know each another by having good food and enjoying great company - nothing can beat that!” Whitehead: “We were also trying to keep the vibe going within the team by playing some fun games.”
STRUCTURES THEY PUT INTO PLACE FOR THEM TO BE SUCCESSFUL THIS YEAR Having added sliverware to the Griquas cabinet shows promising signs of what’s still to come at the union. Arendse: “Our aim for this year is to put good plans in place for the future of Griquas rugby, to grow as a team and to build good professional relationships outside of rugby.” Whitehead: “We also worked very hard to improve our conditioning work and also to create a sustainable team culture.”
THEIR CURRIE CUP APPROACH AND GOALS With the Currie Cup already in full swing, they are opting to continue with their momentum from the SuperSport Rugby Challenge, but will take on a steady approach by setting goals for themselves, game-bygame. Volmink: “We’ve had a great start to our Currie Cup campaign, we picked up where we left off with the SuperSport Rugby Challenge. We want to keep going with the same momentum, stick to our game plan and work together as a team. “Winning the Currie Cup will be an amazing achievement for the team, but for now we will take it game-by-game and work towards each victory to get one step closer to reach the finals.” Whitehead: “To perform as close to our potential each week as possible and to make memories.” Swarts: “Each week we will take it game-by-game. We want to focus on the task at hand. Every team wants to win. But for us it is also important to make good memories as a group as we want to put Griquas rugby back on the map again.”
MYPLAYERS / THE GRIQUAS
let’s get to know the griquas team WITH GEORGE WHITEHEAD, ANDRÉ SWARTS, EDERIES ARENDSE, ANTHONY VOLMINK AND GIDEON VAN DER MERWE
george whitehead Who is the joker of the team? Wilmar Arnoldi. His dry sense of humour makes us laugh a lot. Who is the head boy of the team? We are lucky to have a few of the older guys in the team who helps with the leadership of the team. Who is the sloppiest guy in the team? I can’t point out someone specific, but Louis Venter is always searching for something. Who is always late? We seldom have someone who is very late. I think it is because our programme is very clear with regards to our schedule and times. Who is the most organised of the team? I must say that we have a very organised coaching team and I think they keep us as players very much on our feet. Who is your favourite roomie? I’m currently sharing a room with Zak Burger.
ANDRÉ SWARTS Who is the joker of the team? It’s actually a difficult one, but I would definitely say Chris Smit and Tinus de Beer. Who is the head boy of the team? Definitely, George Whitehead. Who is the sloppiest guy in the team? Ruan Kramer also known as Sappie. Who is always late? Louis Venter. Who is the most organised of the team? George Whitehead. Who is your favourite roomie? Anthony Volmink and I always stay together.
THE GRIQUAS / MYPLAYERS
GIDEON VAN DER MERWE ederies arendse Who is the joker of the team?
Who is the joker of the team? Wilmar Arnoldi or Tinus de Beer. Itâ€™s difficult to choose one! Who is the head boy of the team?
Tinus de Beer.
Who is the head boy of the team?
Who is the sloppiest guy in the team?
Who is the sloppiest guy in the team?
Who is always late?
Louis Venter. Who is always late? Too many to name. Who is the most organised of the team? George Whitehead. Who is your favourite roomie?
Michal Haznar. Just a side note, I was also late once or twice, but I donâ€™t want to throw myself under the bus you know. Who is the most organised of the team? George Whitehead. Who is your favourite roomie? Ewald van der Westhuizen or Kop as we call him.
ANTHONY VOLMINK Who is the joker of the team? Tinus de Beer. Who is the head boy of the team? George Whitehead. Who is the sloppiest guy in the team? Ewald van der Westhuizen also known as Kop. Who is always late? Enver Brandt. Who is the most organised of the team? George Whitehead. Who is your favourite roomie? Anthony Volmink.
MYPLAYERS / PLAYERS’ ORGANISATION NEWS
What’s HAPPENING AT THE PLAYERS’ ORGANISATION The Safari Guys, Exalt and Hertz join the MyPlayers team as our new benefit partners. HERE’S WHAT OUR DEALS AND COMPETITIONS WITH EACH OF THEM ENTAILS:
All MyPlayers members receive a 20% discount when purchasing their recovery products. MyPlayers and The Safari Guys are proud to announce that we will have our own Player of the Tournament competition. A panel of experts which include former Springboks Stefan Terblanche, Jean de Villiers and Hanyani Shimange will assist us to draft a list of nominees. Thereafter, they will select one lucky winner from each tournament who will walk away with this prestigious title and who will be treated by our partner, The Safari Guys, with a Gateway prize which is two nights away for two persons at a 5-star nature resort located in the South of Africa. This will include a full inclusive stay and our terms and conditions will apply. We will have four players receiving this well-deserved breakaway and who will be named the MyPlayers and Safari Guys’ Player of the Tournament. The following tournaments will be applicable:
• SuperSport Rugby Challenge
• SuperRugby and PRO14
• Rugby Championships
• Rugby World Cup
Each Player of the Tournament will be announced on the Players’ App and on our social media platforms; so keep an eye on it, as it might just be you!
You can order your products today by visiting: www.exaltsa.co.za Get our promo code on the Players’ App under MyBenefits to claim your online discount.
Hertz and MyPlayers have teamed up to provide our members with an affordable car rental offering. Our deal with them entails: • Discounted rates for car rental services. • Check the Rate Schedule on the Players’ App under MyBenefits for more info. • Enjoy free kilometres as detailed in the Rate Schedule. • Enjoy Super Waiver cover on rentals by paying Standard Cover rates. (With a Super Waiver, your liability is lower in the event of an accident). Read more under MyBenefits on the Players’ App as to how you can claim your discounted deal from Hertz.
PLAYERS’ ORGANISATION NEWS / MYPLAYERS
The MyPlayers Craven Week Captain’s Dinner
All roads led to Bloemfontein where we attended the 2019 U-18 Craven Week. We also hosted the Captains’ Dinner with the leaders of the following teams:
• WP and WP XV
• Blue Bulls and Blue Bulls XV
• Golden Lions and Golden Lions XV
• Valke, Leopards and SWD
• Sharks, Griquas and Limpopo
• Border, Griffons and Eastern Cape We had Oupa Mohojé, William Small-Smith and Rabz Maxwane of the Cheetahs in attendance where they shared some insights with the leadership group about pursuing a career as a professional rugby player and the importance of the players’ organisation within the industry. Afterwards, the captains were treated to a dinner where they rubbed shoulders with the MyPlayers members and also received a gift bag from our benefit partner, Puma. The MyPlayers team would like to thank Puma for partnering with us to give each captain a loaded gift bag containing items to equip them for their next training session or for when they will be taking on their next opponent.
New player representatives Collect the at the Griffons, SWD Eagles Springbok Cards and the Border Bulldogs Super at your local Pick n Pay We would like to welcome the following members as your new provincial representatives. They will act as the middleman between your team and us.
THE NEW REPS ARE:
Vincent Maruping Griffons
Blake Kyd Border Bulldogs
Wayne Wilschut SWD Eagles
As we get ready to send the Springboks off to Japan you can join in the Rugby World Cup fever by collecting the Springbok Super Cards. MyPlayers teamed up with Pick n Pay and SA Rugby to provide our members and the public with the opportunity to get behind the teams and to rally for them by collecting all 72 cards which introduce both the Springbok Men’s and Women’s teams, the coaches, the Mascot and illustrate some of South Africa’s most iconic rugby stadiums.
START COLLECTING YOUR SUPER CARDS AND GET BEHIND THE PRIDE OF OUR NATION TODAY!
MYPLAYERS / ORGANISATION UPDATES
Thank you for attending our mid-year roadshows! The MyPlayers team would like to thank our members for attending the mid-year roadshows. For those of you who have missed out, we recently launched the Players' App and showed everyone how to use it to receive their membership benefits. Furthermore, we discussed the national contracting model and how it will be implemented. We also shared a bit more about the exclusive short-term insurance offering for you – our members – in partnership with Santam.
Want more info or need assistance on the above topics? Speak to your Isma-eel Dollie your National Player Relationship Manager. Contact him on 084 484 4412 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our second board meeting took place and here’s what you need to know... We held our second board meeting of 2019 in Johannesburg with your player representatives and the MyPlayers board. During the board meeting, we provided them with feedback on your investment platforms, discussed new insurance offerings and gave them an update on the national player development programme. General feedback was also given about the finance of the players’ organisation, about the player agents meeting and the implementation of the national contracting model.
The Springboks are running off the rugby field and onto the Monopoly board! As the country’s excitement starts to build up for the Rugby World Cup, the first ever Springbok Monopoly board game will be hitting the stores from the 12th of August! The Springbok edition board game is a twist on the classic Monopoly. Participants will travel around the board and buy their favourite Springbok players and rugby stadiums - they then negotiate with opponents in an attempt to build a rugby empire. Instead of the original top hat, car and shoe, the Springbok Monopoly will feature 6 rugby inspired tokens. The participants will use Springbok Currency to fund their expansion, build stands and stadiums and trade their way to success. The Springbok Monopoly is a great way to get your friends and family together to have your own build up before each of the Rugby World Cup games and will be available at your local retail stores in August.
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YOUR PART-TIME PDM S / MYPLAYERS
get to know your part-time pdms
- PART 2
Have you met Kirsten van Heerden, Wesley Kew or Hilana Claassens? If not, listen up! They are your part-time Player Development Managers if you are playing for the Sharks, Southern Kings, WP or for the Springbok Sevens.
The MyPlayers team got the opportunity to get to know them a little bit better. Here’s what they had to say:
KIRSTEN VAN HEERDEN Dr Kirsten is one of only a handful of people in South Africa to have represented her country as an athlete (swimming) and also holds a PhD – in the area of sport psychology. Kirsten has many interests within the area of sport psychology and has recently published a book on the challenges athletes face when they retire from elite sport. She is also the founder and chairwoman of Girls Only Project, a non-profit company, focusing on women in sport issues. Kirsten is currently in private practice in Durban at Newton Sports Agency. A random fact about Kirsten: She loves to sew her own clothes.
HER MESSAGE TO THE SHARKS PLAYERS: You are so much more than just rugby players, and I'm looking forward to helping each one of you become even more excited about life apart from rugby.
this or that Simba or Lay’s? Lay’s
Instagram or Facebook? Instagram
Soccer or cricket? Cricket
Cats or dogs? Dogs
Cardio or weights? Cardio
Paper or plastic? Paper
What’s worse: laundry or dishes? Dishes
Being too warm or too cold? Would rather be too warm
Big party or small gathering? Small gathering
Save or spend? Save
Beer or wine? Wine
Streaming or live TV? Streaming
Introvert or extrovert? Introvert
Vegetables or meat? Meat
iOS or Android? Android
Text or talk? Text
Listening to... Depends on my mood of the day
MYPLAYERS / YOUR PART-TIME PDM S
wesley kew Wesley is a Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Hypnotherapist. He is passionate about personal growth and development. He had a short stint as a professional athlete (water polo) and still engages in social cricket, rugby, soccer, surfing, golf, and trail running. He grew up along the coast so he loves to be in the water and on the beach. A random fact about Wesley: He enjoys gardening and being outdoors.
HIS MESSAGE TO THE SOUTHERN KINGS PLAYERS: Trust the process and trust in your abilities, because where the mind goes the body follows.
this or that Simba or Lay’s? Simba, because you just can’t beat the crinkle cut.
Cats or dogs? Cats iOS or Android? iOS is more in line with my technical abilities.
Big party or small gathering? I do enjoy intimate gatherings.
Streaming or live TV? Streaming Text or talk? Talk
Instagram or Facebook?
Soccer or cricket?
Neither. I avoid social media.
Cardio or weights? These days, cardio
Huge fan of both, but cricket may tip the scale.
Paper or plastic? There is only one sustainable option.
What’s worse: laundry or dishes? Dishes
Being too warm or too cold?
Save or spend?
Beer or wine?
A little cold is manageable.
Compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world.
Uhm… How do I even go about answering this?
Introvert or extrovert?
Vegetables or meat?
I lean towards the extroverted.
Veggies are the future.
Listening to... The Alan Watts Chillstep Mixes on YouTube.
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*Picture: Marataba Mountain Lodge
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YOUR PART-TIME PDM S / MYPLAYERS
HILANA CLAASSENS She is your National Player Development Manager at MyPlayers. She is a qualified Industrial Psychologist and obtained her Masters of Commerce Degree at the University of Johannesburg. She worked at Maccauvlei Learning Academy as Psychometric and New Business Consultant. She also acts as an independent psychologist /consultant on Survivor South Africa. A random fact about Hilana: She loves to read up and understand the psychological ‘make-up’ of serial killers.
HER MESSAGE TO THE WP AND SPRINGBOK SEVENS PLAYERS: Keep the honest moments close to your heart. The ones that are most human. When you laugh until your ribs ache with friends; when you feel stars exploding inside of you from falling in love; when life breaks you open & those tears of transformation pour like a river from your soul. Participate with your whole heart in whatever moment life brings. Don’t have a part-time PDM at your union? Hilana can assist you. She is available on email and WhatsApp. firstname.lastname@example.org Simba or Lay’s? Lay’s
Instagram or Facebook? Instagram
Soccer or cricket? Cricket
Cats or dogs? Dogs
Cardio or weights? Cardio
Text or talk? Text
Streaming or live TV? Streaming
Introvert or extrovert? Mmm… ambivert (a bit of both)
Vegetables or meat? Meat
iOS or Android? Android Big party or small gathering? Both What’s worse: laundry or dishes? Dishes
071 470 4901 Paper or plastic? Paper
Save or spend? I’d like to say save, but…
Being too warm or too cold? Being too cold. Beer or wine? Red, red wine…
My favourite song is... Bennie and the Jets by Elton John.
what do part-time pdms do?
why are they at your union? They are going to take care of your holistic development as a player.
Develop an individual personal development plan for all senior players. Give you (our members) access to relating specialist support and counselling. Monitor and assist players who are MyPlayers Bursary recipients. Provide you with career planning and support. Provide you with player transition support for life after rugby.
They will also host life skills workshops for you such as: Finance101 • Public Speaking • Time Management Computer Skills • Personal Mastery
A BETTER PERSON
They will also educate you about the day-to-day vulnerabilities which you might face such as:
A BETTER PLAYER
The pitfalls of social media • Understanding agents & contracts Drinking and driving • Sexual consent • Night-time economy Brand vulnerabilities
MYPLAYERS / FLIP VAN DER MERWE
! e d i s p i on the f l It might have been almost a decade ago, but recently retired lock FLIP VAN DER MERWE can still remember the moment he was unexpectedly invited to clock in for duty at the Springboks.
Standing on a dune in Swakopmund, enjoying a beer while on holiday, Van der Merwe’s phone rang with an urgent message that he should report for Springbok duty in Cape Town the following day. Cutting his holiday short, he took on that 18hour drive and then ran out on Newlands for his first cap a few days later. He represented the men in green and gold 38 times, but still describes the cherished moment when he pulled the Springbok jersey over his head for the first time as surreal. Van der Merwe recently announced his retirement from rugby once the European season concludes and the former Clermont player chatted to MYPLAYERS about his professional career and what made him decide to call it quits. Potchefstroom-born but schooled at one of South Africa’s prime producers of Springbok rugby players, Grey College in Bloemfontein, Van der Merwe realised from a young age during his school days that it will take hard work and dedication to reach a goal and to achieve the just rewards. “I remember how we needed to wake up at 05:00 in the mornings to go and practise so that it didn’t clash with our school work and other activities,” Van der Merwe says. “One morning specifically I was very upset and wanted to quit.” It was, however, the uplifting words from one of his mentors at school that would eventually act as the biggest reason why he decided against throwing in the towel. “I remember André Volsteedt, who is currently the strength and conditioning coach at Stade Français, told me that I will thank him one day when my Springbok jersey was in my cupboard.” And that is precisely what happened. “After my first Test match, I gave my jersey to him,” he reveals.
FLIP VAN DER MERWE / MYPLAYERS the outdoors on his bicycle, camping or going on hunting trips. Van der Merwe is on his way to South Africa for a long holiday, before he will start working at a Canadian company in France. He also has shares in LAG Coffee located in France, which was a smart business move to make, especially when you are a coffee fanatic like he is. “I can easily drink up to 10 cups of coffee per day. I enjoy meeting people over coffee for a chat. That’s why two of my business partners and I decided that we want to start a coffee shop. We opened our first shop in 2013 in Cape Town. I'm also a shareholder of LAG, which is a coffee shop and street food restaurant in France, mainly for me to drink my coffee for free,” he added jokingly.
“I have tremendous appreciation for every rugby player who I had the opportunity to share the field with.” While studying at University of the Free State, he kicked off his senior career at the Cheetahs in 2006 and went on to go play for the Griffons in 2007. In 2009 the Blue Bulls recruited him where he was quickly entrusted as the first choice lock and he spent most of his time in Pretoria before departing to go play for Clermont in 2015. During the European season, Van der Merwe announced his retirement from the game saying that his body indicated that it was time. “I couldn’t keep up with today’s athletes who compete with one another. I’m satisfied with what I have reached in my career and now was the perfect time to end my professional career,” said Van der Merwe.
Watching Van der Merwe compete you may be familiar with his trademark moustache and with Movember month almost upon us, we asked him about it. “I enjoy my moustache! In 2010 after November month, I just didn’t get rid of my moustache. I support the movement each year and try to raise money for their marketing campaigns to create awareness amongst the males about prostate and testicular cancer and also about mental health in general,” said van der Merwe. The 34-year-old will return to France after his welldeserved holiday in South Africa, but when asked if he will ever return, Van der Merwe replied: “I miss the farm and its people tremendously. Nothing can ever replace it and I would return to South Africa, but when the time is right for me.”
Having made fond memories both on and off the field over the years, he hopes to cherish it still for a long time to come. “I will always remember the highs and the lows we as a team had to go through. Those memories and stories made over the years I will never forget and if my health keeps up with me, hopefully I can cherish it forever. I have tremendous appreciation for every rugby player who I had the opportunity to share the field with,” he said. Besides rugby, he loves spending time reading. And when the books are down he also enjoys
INSTAGRAM / MYPLAYERS
Here are some tips: THE MORE ENGAGEMENT = THE FASTER YOUR ACCOUNT WILL GROW.
Post during your peak hours on Instagram
Create more traffic to your post
Timing is very important to reach your audience.
Distribution of your post is very important after you have posted it.
Make sure that you post when your audience is active on your profile.
Use your Instagram story as a distribution tool.
Use the app named WhenToPost: Best Times to Post to get specific time slots as to when your audience will be active and when you ideally should post to gain the best engagement.
Utilise your comments to create more community engagement
The first hour your post goes live on Instagram, is the most important time for you. It’s the time when you can outsmart Instagram’s algorithm. The more engagement within the first hour, the more the algorithm will give exposure to it. By responding to your comments, this will show Instagram that you are engaging with your followers and adding value to their experience. By adding value to your followers’ experience it will rank your profile higher up in the search section. Don’t spam your followers with comments. Be respectful and keep your authenticity. Your comment must be four words or longer for Instagram’s algorithm to classify it as engagement. Don’t post just an emoji or a one-word answer. ADD value to the world of your followers.
Example: After you have made a new post, share it directly to your story feed. Add an optional new post sticker for your audience as they will be redirected to your post. TIP! Use the CANVA platform to access pre-designed story layouts. It’s a great way to play around and to build a brand for yourself. www.canva.com
Identify what’s working on your feed or not Pay attention to your Instagram analytics. Identify which content generates the most engagement and likes. Generate similar/ like-wise content to post in the future. Engagement is the most important metric to measure your social media success and not likes.
MYPLAYERS / INSTAGRAM
Start to post on a regular basis. The more active you are on Instagram, the more the algorithm will favour you! Plan your content for the week or month so that you can take 5 minutes out of your day to post it.
TIP! Use the PLANOLY app for the following:
Optimise your bio
Plan your content feed beforehand - drag and drop your visuals to create the best look and feel for your feed and you can also draft your captions.
Discover different content ideas from your niche (similar followers or from hashtags you follow).
You can schedule content and draft captions to post it directly on to Instagram.
You can analyse your audience to better understand them.
Manage and reply to your comments on this platform.
State to your followers what you are doing. Be specific. Tell the people what value they will get by following your profile. Use additional links to redirect users from your profile to the website of your small business, to the products you are endorsing or to the causes you are supporting.
What are you waiting for? Go try it!
The use of the mighty hashtags
Using hashtags makes your content more discoverable on Instagram. Your hashtags must be relevant. Use different sized hashtags.
hashtag sizes Small = Under 100k posts Medium = Under 500k posts Large = Over 500k posts
REMEMBER: YOU STILL HAVE TO USE INSTAGRAM RESPONSIBILY, SO BE CAREFUL ABOUT WHICH TYPE OF CONTENT YOU POST AND PROMOTE!
Make sure that you rotate your hashtags and that you don’t use the same hashtags as Instagram can flag it as spam. Don’t only use popular hashtags (500k posts). Although it is a popular hashtag to use, your post is likely to disappear or to be overseen as people use it too often. Add niche hashtags (under 500k posts) so that it’s easier for people to see your profile/post when they search for that specific tag.
MYPLAYERS / CORNAL HENDRICKS
back and winging it Fearless is the best word to describe the Blue Bulls winger Cornal Hendricks who has overcome many hurdles on his road to return to professional rugby after a heart condition kept him from the game since 2015. MyPlayers had a Q&A with Cornal Hendricks about overcoming mental challenges during one of the toughest periods in his life and how his passion for charity work resulted in the start of his foundation.
Where did your love for rugby start? It started when I was about nine years old and attended school at Wellington Primary. My father and brother also played rugby. Growing up, seeing the way in which my brother, Clinton Bailey, played inspired me to also take on rugby.
Your mother was a single parent and raised you and your siblings all by herself. What role did your mother play in your life and also in your rugby career?
My mother plays a vital role in my life. Even though we grew up in disadvantaged circumstances, she always gave us everything we needed and even more. She never missed a match and always went that extra mile to ensure that when you travelled to go play rugby that you at least had something to snack on. Every son wants
his father to stand next to the field supporting him when he is playing rugby. I was hurt sometimes, because my father was not there, but luckily for me my mother was always there cheering me on.
What life lessons did your mother teach you? The best thing my mother taught us was discipline. To believe in yourself and to always make the Lord part of your plans. She always reminded us that the things which you grow up with and the things you have, donâ€™t determine who and what you are in life.
2016 was a challenging year for you after a heart condition threatened to end your professional rugby career. Receiving such news, one must surely go through mental challenges? It was a dark time in life. Itâ€™s a feeling which I cannot describe to anyone. One thought which actually
CORNAL HENDRICKS / MYPLAYERS Each year in primary school, we went on a rugby tour. One year we went to Durban. During one of our matches I saw a gap against the touch line and made my way towards the try line. My mother – like a loyal supporter – ran with me all the way. I dived over the try-line for a five-pointer and when I pressed the ball down and looked to my right, there she was with me. On the ground, next to me, also scoring a try. That’s my mother for you – such a strong and diligent woman!
My wife also stood by my side during it all. I’ll forever be thankful for her unconditional love and support. My family and friends, who were always there to listen, also carried me through that difficult time.
What do people not know about Cornal Hendricks? I think what people might not know about me is that Cornal Hendricks actually has a very good singing voice on him. I love to sing, and I think that I have very good vocals.
What do you still want to achieve? I want to help the Vodacom Blue Bulls add another trophy to their cabinet.
THE CORNAL HENDRICKS FOUNDATION went through my mind was how could everything which I had worked so hard for just disappear like that. I had just signed with a new team, super excited to join them and now this was happening to me. That was not a very nice feeling and I wanted to throw in the towel. I wanted nothing to do with rugby anymore. There were evenings when I actually cried myself to sleep. My wife and I drove in the car one day. We played Gospel music and I was in tears, but she never saw any of my tears while driving, because while they rolled down my cheeks, I still talked to her with my normal voice. But you know what. It’s when you’re alone when you actually have to face the music.
What kept you positive during that time? The Lord. I asked Him every day that if it is in His plan for me not to play rugby anymore, then I will accept it. I also prayed that he must help me with my emotional battles and pain. After that, I felt a sense of calmness.
Charity work is clearly something close to your heart. What served as the inspiration for this? I don’t think many people know that I’m doing charity work during my off-time. I want to inspire others, because I grew up in very difficult circumstances. I want to be a beacon of hope in my community. I really would like to make an impact in somebody’s life who want to develop and become a better person by setting goals for him / herself to reach.
When did you start your own foundation? I started the Cornal Hendricks Foundation in 2015. When I just started to play rugby professionally, my mom and I always went to underprivileged families to distribute food packets. When I went through a difficult time, I realised that I was so caught up in my own hardships and emotions and I wanted to see what difference I could make there.
MYPLAYERS / CORNAL HENDRICKS It’s when you make a positive change in somebody’s life, that you start to forget about your own struggles and pain. I started with this foundation to really make a difference within the Wellington community and to support children who experience a difficult time in their lives. I want to provide them with a platform where they can develop their talent and to also provide them with an opportunity to succeed in life. I want to take the hands of the children whose parents are alcoholics or unemployed and I want to give them a message of hope. I want to say to them: “Listen up. It doesn’t matter what you’ve got, where you stay or who your parents are. Just remember I also come from a difficult background and if I could make it, so can you. Believe in yourself and dream big.”
What type of work does your foundation do within the Wellington community? The Cornal Hendricks Foundation goes out to communities and schools where we assist with the development of the learners to improve their sporting talents. We also assist learners who show good academic records with bursaries. Those who don’t have opportunities or money to further their studies or careers. Last, but certainly not the least, we also run a soup kitchen.
Can the public take hands with your foundation?
Yes, the public can get involved. They can make contact with us on our Instagram and Facebook pages. We are really a foundation who wants to make a difference. We are really a foundation who wants to make a difference. If we can take hands with the public or companies within the surrounding areas of Wellington in the Western Cape, and identify the current needs of the learners, we can make a difference together - that would be great!
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MyPlayers is the players' organisation of the professional rugby players in South Africa.