Former Springbok centre Jean de Villiers will take up a new leadership role as chairman of the MyPlayers board.
De Villiers takes over from Faffa Knoetze, who has been chairperson since 2018.
Knoetze, himself a former Springbok and veteran of 110 first-class matches for Western Province and four Currie Cup finals, will vacate his position as chairperson of MyPlayers as he has accepted the nomination by the players to serve as their representative on the South African Rugby Union’s executive committee.
De Villiers’ appointment as chairperson represents a change of guard to a younger generation of rugby players who grew up with and worked only in the professional era. The 41-year-old former Stormers and Springbok captain led the national side until as recently as the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.
He has since remained involved in rugby and is also familiar with the commercial sector. De Villiers has been the head of philanthropy at Citadel Investment Services since 2016, and in 2018 he assumed the chairmanship of the Chris Burger-Petro Jackson Players’ Fund. As an analyst and commentator for SuperSport, he has kept his finger firmly on the pulse of the professional game.
“When I retired from professional rugby, I merely packed away my boots,” said De Villiers. “But the game of rugby never leaves you, and I will always care about the health of the industry, the sport, and the wellbeing of its most valuable assets – the players. When the players first approached me to serve on the MyPlayers Board, I knew I had valuable perspectives and insights to contribute.
“MyPlayers does so much more for professional rugby players than managing their collective commercial and employment rights. It’s a world I understand intimately, and I look forward to working alongside the board, the operational staff, and importantly, the current players who have availed themselves to also serve the game beyond the pitch.”
De Villiers also thanked Knoetze for his leadership: “Faffa’s contributions have had a considerable impact on the health of the organisation, and I am grateful for the opportunity to become involved at this juncture, knowing that a strong foundation has been laid for us to build on for many years to come.”
The new leadership group: Jean de Villiers (chairperson), Marvin Orie (Sarpa president), Pat Lambie, Teboho ‘Oupa’ Mohojé, Zenay Jordaan, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Lizo Gqoboka, Thomas du Toit, Frans Steyn, Craig Barry, Francois Kleinhans, Frans Malherbe, Marcell Coetzee, Ruan Dreyer, Impi Visser, Thurlow Marsh, Stedman Gans, Garrick Mattheus, Godfrey Ramaboea, Reinhard Nothnagel, Thato Mavundla, Andrew Beerwinkel, HP Swart, Werner Kok, and Ernst van Rhyn.
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix