Corporate social responsibility

Van der Stel Rugby Club, Stellenbosch

Van der Stel Rugby Club, Stellenbosch

Rugby’s celebrated history has produced legends of the game, and continues to do so into the modern era of sport. From those humble days in 1823, during a soccer game when a learner, William Webb Ellis, caught and ran with a ball, to todays competitive Super Rugby, 6-Nations, Rugby Championship and World Cup tournaments, this sport has gripped the world from the west coast of the USA to the east coast of Japan, from the tips of Northern Ireland to the bottom of Argentina.

And in South Africa, nothing escaped the romance of rugby. A mere 100 years after someone conceptualise a whole new sporting code, a small club in South Africa’s oldest city, the Van Der Stel Rugby Club, was established in 1919, by Vlottenburg farmers. Six years later, the club was already competing in the Western Province Challenge Cup.

During the Great Deprression of the 1930s the club shared gate money with Stellenbosch University Club as they shared the same home playing fields. Coetzenburg Stadium would not be completed by its scheduled date of 1931, opening only much later.

Van der Stel was lent to the Boland Rugby Union in 1938 and remained there for 8 years. This did not assist them financially and they fought hard for 12 years to be brought back into the Western Province Rugby Union. By 1939, in a stronger financial position, the demand for playing fields grew. The club’s fields were used by the military and by 1942, discussions started regarding a new pavilion.

With plans approved, financial assistance for the 1400 seater pavilion was raised by club supporters, after the municipality treasurer declined to approve a construction loan.  Construction began in 1949 and the pavilion officially opened in 1950.

The club was accepted back into the WP Rugby Union in 1950, giving it voting rights. In its first season, 3 of the club’s players received Western Province colours (Tom Fourie, Piet Kriel and Tjol Lategan), with Tienie Louw being its first President and later being nominated for honourary life president, setting the tone for the club’s future successes.

Rugby clubs rely heavily on funding, from within the sport as well as external sponsorhips. In the modern era, corporate sponsorships play a vital role in keeping the club competitive and it is the likes of Maritz Electrical that offer clubs a significant advantage. Kurt Maritz is thrilled with his company’s sponsorship of the Van der Stel Rugby Club saying that business has an important role to play in the game.

By sponsoring sport in general, business gives back to communities, giving hope and assistance to emerging talent. It provides necessary funding to develop talent as well as state-of-the-art training facilities and stadiums to showcase this talent.

Without vital funding in the past and in the future, Van der Stel Rugby Club would, in all likelihood have missed the talents it did produce in famous players like Hugo “Tokkie” Scholtz, Kenny Stark, who lives on in our minds for the “Stark Test” at Newlands Rugby Stadium for his two scintillating tries and drop goal against the British and Irish Lions of 1924, the centre paring of Ryk van Schoor and Tjol Lategan showed the importance of these positions during the more than 10 Tests they played together including the grueling tour of Britain and France in the 1951/52 season and, of course, Jan Pickard, a Springbok from 1951 to 1958, and captain of Van der Stel in 1952 during the club’s first tour to the Eastern Province and Natal. During this year the club’s jersey changed and the Golden Lion was introduced as the club symbol.

The club’s jersey changes again in 2016 to reflect the sponsorship of Maritz Electrical. Kurt Maritz says that the sponsorhip is by no means just a sponsorship. He has been a rugby fan all his life and apart from being involved in the sport that has been a dream of his, he is a very keen supporter of the club. He is an avid Stormers fan and can been seen regularly watching their games at Newlands and his favourite local club, Van der Stel in Stellenbosch.

Van der Stel competes in the Northern Division of the Western Province League and boasts significant success through the years, its eyes firmly fixed on a league win.

For more information contact Maritz Electrial on 021 703 0867 or email sales@maritzelectrical.co.za.