Tom van Vollenhoven SA Rugby League legend honoured

Cyle Hendrickse (left) and Marcelle Viljoen (right) hand over a rugby league jersey to Springbok and ex-rugby league player Tom van Vollenhoven, at a match held in honour of Tom on Saturday.

“It’s a tradition with the South African Rugby League, which was established in 1988, to play this match every year in honour of Tom – who’s been their Honorary Life President since 2009,” says event organiser Dave van Reenen.

Tom played for the Saint Helen’s Club in England from 1957 to 1968; and many of his records with that famous club, are still intact.

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He often visited the Saint Helen’s club as a guest of honour and still attends SA Rugby League matches.

Rugby league teams only have 13 players and no line-out take place.

“The ball is passed quicker from scrums,” said Dave.

He explains that every try scored counts four points, a penalty and conversion achieve two points and a drop goal: just one point.

Tom says he’s impressed with the young players who’re still supporting rugby league, as the players are necessarily young too.

“It’s always good to see old friends at these matches,” he says.

The match between the Tom van Vollenhoven 81 Team and President X111 team started at 2.30pm.

Prior to the match, all players was introduced to Tom, who’s an icon recognised by the Rugby League Hall of Fame. Tom couldn’t stay for the full game, as he wasn’t feeling well.

Before he left, a special Tom van Vollenhoven 81 team jersey was handed over to him, by the captains of the two teams: Cyle Hendrickse and Marcelle Viljoen.

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The curtain raiser was between an Gauteng Invitation X111 and The Nomads Invitation X111. That contest followed junior matches.

The Tom van Vollenhoven 82 years celebration will form part of the South African Rugby League’s (established 1988/9) 30 year celebrations in 2017 – more details on that event will be available later.

Anna Robertson

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