The fear of serious injury is nothing unique to rugby players, this contact sport has its risks, which is why it is not surprising that many at the top of the game have shown their support for the Players’ Fund over the 38 year history. One rugby career that has been dotted with incessant injury is that of Jean de Villiers – thankfully, none of them disabling or life changing like those of our recipients. Since hanging up his boots in 2016, Jean has remained within the rugby fold and on accepting a seat on the Players’ Fund board of trustees, his opinion and expertise will be of huge value.
Jean was named captain of the Springboks in June 2012. He played 109 tests for his country and holds the record of 94 of those in the same position as centre and was named the 54th Springbok captain to lead the team. He is also the 4th Springbok captain to join Morne du Plessis, Tiaan Strauss and John Smit as a trustee of the board of the Players’ Fund. This memorable moment was officiated on Wednesday 21 February 2018 at the first trustee meeting of the year. This particularly special meeting started off with the entire board of trustees visiting two recipients (seriously injured rugby players) who were training at the Walking with Brandon Foundation Neurological Rehabilitation center at the Sports Science Institute of SA. The deeper understanding that all trustees were given into the life of a person with a disability was irreplaceable and set the tone for a very positive and uplifting introduction for Jean and the rest of the trustees.
Aside from Jean’s history in the green and gold, he is also a Laureus Sport for Good ambassador and currently holds the position of head of Philanthropy for a firm of investment managers and is based in Cape Town. His long history with rugby in SA and his regular appearances on SuperSport as sports presenter together with his professional knowledge of philanthropy will bring a wealth of knowledge for the Fund’s staff to tap into.
Jean is married to Marlie and they live in Paarl with their three children, Layli, Lana and Luca.
We are honoured that Jean accepted the position of Trustee of the Players’ Fund and confident that he will continue to play the role of Rugby’s Caring Hands, as he did while on the field.