De Villiers now chairperson of MyPlayers

rugby13 April 2022 12:36| © SuperSport
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Jean De Villiers © Gallo Images

Former Springbok captain Jean De Villiers has been appointed as the new chairperson of the MyPlayers’ board, South Africa’s Players’ Association.

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.

Eugene Henning, CEO of MyPlayers, commented on Knoetze’s strong direction to the Players’ Organisation. “Faffa has been a source of sound advice during his tenure. He chaired MyPlayers during arguably the most turbulent time in professional rugby history, and I have to commend him on the dignity and professionalism with which he has served South Africa’s professional rugby players. We believe the next chapter in his illustrious rugby career will also be marked by constructive contributions and a deep devotion to and love for the game of rugby. As a qualified actuary and seasoned company director, it was an easy decision for us to nominate him for a position 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.”

Knoetze concluded his tenure by saying, “It is with gratitude that I look back on my four years as Chair of MyPlayers. During this period, MyPlayers successfully navigated a number of significant challenges for rugby in South Africa (Covid-19, the implementation and redesign of the player contracting model, and the successful renewal of the various collective commercial rights agreements) while making a huge contribution to the Springboks winning RWC 2019 and beating the British & Irish Lions in 2021. I have every confidence that the MyPlayers team will go from strength to strength under the leadership of Jean and Eugene, and I wish the Players’ Organisation all the best for the next four years and beyond.”

The new leadership group of the Players’ Organisation: 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.