Trio reunite for good cause

Three members of the 1968 British & Irish Lions squad today joined forces to help a local rugby club in Cape Town. [more]

Trio reunite for good cause

Three members of the 1968 British & Irish Lions squad today joined forces to help a local rugby club in Cape Town.

Gareth Edwards, Roger Young and Gerald Davies were all part of the 1968 Lions tour of South Africa and all three have been reunited this week as the 2009 Lions team prepare for the second Test at Loftus Versfeld.

Roger Young has lived in South Africa since 1971, practicing as a dentist in Cape Town, and was delighted to be reunited with his former Lions team-mates who are helping a cause close to his heart.

"I have been helping Langaban RFC which is a fantastic rugby club not far from Cape Town," explained Young.

"There are about 90 members and we have three teams but they are an extremely underprivileged club with a terrible pitch and no equipment or facilities.

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"I got in touch with Gareth who spoke to Gerald who was kindly able to help our fundraising by donating a signed Lions jersey. The money raised will help enable the club to survive and if we get enough money we hope to be able to buy a scrum machine. The President of the South African Rugby Union has also provided us a signed jersey to raise funds."

The Welsh trio toured South Africa for over three months in 1968 during which time Edwards celebrated his 21st birthday.

"We all played together and share lifetime friendships so it’s great that we are able to help Roger out with such a wonderful cause. We are both so proud that Gerald is the tour manager and can’t think of anyone better qualified to help the Lions win this series.

"At the same time I don’t envy him," he continued. "He is in a selection meeting today and will face a number of factors and choices as the Lions prepare for this weekend’s vital match."

Looking ahead to the second Test match in Pretoria this weekend, both Young and Edwards believe that, whilst it will be very difficult, the Lions can still win the series.

"I am concerned about the conditions the players will face in Pretoria on Saturday. They will be the complete opposite of what they have had here in Cape Town this week. However, there is the makings of a very good side out here and I hope they can pull it together on the pitch on Saturday," added Young.

"The South Africans will be a more formidable force this weekend having had some game time and I just hope the Lions can do it."

Asked about whether the current Welsh winger Shane Williams has done enough to earn a place in the test side, HSBC Ambassador Edwards said, "He has done nothing really wrong on this tour but the opportunities don’t seem to have been presented to him. That can often be the loneliness of being a winger. The conditions were against him last night in Cape Town but he will suit the dry, hard ground of the Highveld and I would like to see him have a run out."

Young agreed saying, "He has such a tremendous record as a player that he gets very heavily marked and I worry he hasn’t had enough of a chance to show what he can do on this tour. But he is an ideal candidate for Loftus and could really show his true value and make a difference to the game."

To find out more about Langaban RFC, please contact youngsbb@iafrica.com

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