Blitzbok legend gives back to Raithby through the Forward Foundation
Branco du Preez, who recently announced his retirement from professional rugby, is one of a few ambassadors for the Forward Foundation having aligned himself with the organisation that embodies sport development not only on the field but off it as well. Other ambassadors include former Miss South Africa finalist, Bianca Bezuidenhout, and hit South African husband-and-wife band, Bottomless Coffee.
“I am proud to be associated with such a great group of people,” Du Preez said. “The work that Le Roux, the guys, and girls at the Forward Foundation do is something that I enjoy being involved with, it resonates with me. I come from a similar background as most of the guys who play for the Forward Foundation. Having the opportunities that the Foundation creates will help build their confidence to pursue a career in sports.”
Hailing from George, du Preez is the most capped Springbok Sevens player of all time having represented South Africa a staggering 431 times, scoring 1441 points during his 12-year career. While his size might leave pondering to a few, he has left an indelible mark on the International Sevens circuit since making his debut in 2010 at the Wellington Sevens leg.
The Forward Foundation is based in the Cape Winelands town of Raithby. It focuses on a range of skills and physical education from a holistic development perspective. This focus is directed at previously disadvantaged communities to provide equal opportunities for all ages from pre-primary through to high school and beyond. Founded by Le Roux Conradie the organisation aims to provide opportunities for rugby players from all walks of life, in and around the Helderberg region and greater Western Cape with their vision to grow beyond that.
“Each of the players across all teams that play for the Forward Foundation contributes on a great level to the success of each event, competition, and tournament we participate in,” said Conradie, Managing Director and Founder of the Forward Foundation.
“The Forward Foundation is built on helping others through sustainable efforts that allow us to make a difference at a grassroots level. Many of these would not be possible without our partnerships and relationships the Forward Foundation has with corporations.”
Recent tournament successes have seen the Forward Legends, a team that represents the Forward Foundation, claim the Six Gun Grill Hot Summer of Touch Pro Series beach touch rugby title for 2022. This championship was clinched following excellent individual event performances across the eight-tournament beach touch rugby series with the Forward Legends appearing in every final winning four of them.
The former Blitzbok stalwart supported the Score Forward Legends team at the play.co.za Winelands 10s which took place in November 2022. This ever popular and hugely supported tournament is part of the Cape Town 10s event family, which is the brainchild of former Bok duo Bobby Skinstad and Robbie Fleck. The Welbedacht installment was hosted at the farm of another Western Province legend, Schalk Burger Snr, just outside Wellington.
Along with the title-winning success at the Six Gun Grill Hot Summer of Touch and play.co.za Winelands 10s, the Forward Legends took part in the George 10s tournament. The team narrowly lost out in the semi-pro final. This tournament is hosted and organised by former Bok head coach Heyneke Meyer and is played over two days in the picturesque Southern Cape town.
“We are so incredibly proud of all our players, coaches, and management for all their hard work in making this a very successful year,” Conradie added proudly. “We use sport as a vehicle and platform to not only create opportunities but to create a safe environment where the youth, through various initiatives, can learn from each other, grow together, and be supported to reach their full potential. This remains our core focus and value-driven proposition, to drive South Africa forward faster, together.”