St Marys Stadium , Sydney , Kick off - 3 pm Australia - 7 am South Africa
With just over two weeks to go ,final preparations are being put in place for the South Africa v Malta test match in Sydney Australia on June 24.
The South Africa side is made up primarily of South African heritage players in Australia ,with two domestic players from South Africa and one from New Zealand.
Players in Australia are from Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia.
A special mention to the two South African players ,Marcelle Viljoen and Zach Van Loggerenberg who were identified by South African Rugby League (SARL) selectors for outstanding performances in recent matches
Curtain raisers on the day are Africa United U-18s v Malta u-18s at 11pm. Africa United is made up of players throughout Africa. This is followed by QLD Universities v NSW Universities at
1 pm .QLD and NSW will play for the Tas Baitieri shield.
After the Universities match an Australian Universities side will be selected to tour South Africa in late October this year .The day has a real African feel about it and we encourage South Africans and people from all African nations to get out to the game and support rugby league and your country.
Due to South Africa’s rugby league isolation ,the SARL formed a division within their structures, the South African Rugby League Heritage Association (SARLHA) where the South African side will play test matches in Australia , New Zealand etc using players born in South Africa and with South African heritage. With Australia being so multicultural there is an abundance of International sides to play that use heritage players.
With rugby league being a major sport in Australia, International matches between over seas countries gives great exposure and can be played a lot more regularly and at a much cheaper cost to the National bodies in regards to international airfares and accommodation.
Also these International matches are played with Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) world ranking points on offer to improve the countries overall ranking which leads to much more exposure in regards to the media, a dedicated fan base and will build great sponsor relationships in Australia and South Africa.
This is why we see many small nations with an above average world ranking as they are playing regular matches in Australia using their heritage players. The SARLHA is dedicated to growing the South African Rhinos brand name around the world by playing more regular test matches leading to a much improved RLIF world ranking that will have more international sides wanting to tour South Africa . With such a large amount of South Africans raising their families in Australia today ,the SARLHA will play their part to develop a pathway for South African juniors to want to play rugby league and aspire to play in the National Rugby League (NRL) and ultimately for South Africa
This allows the SARL to focus on incoming International tours ,playing tests against other African nations and building a stronger South African domestic competition that will greatly strengthen the Rhinos .
It was not that long ago that South Africa was the only African nation to play rugby league. Today we have Ethiopia ,Ghana, Kenya, Burundi, Nigeria, Morocco, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, and the DRC Congo developing and playing the game. With South Africa the only national side to have full membership status ,the RLIF see the SARL as the “big brother type nation” to assist in developing the game with these nations in playing matches , coaching clinics etc
Lastly, by forming strong sponsorship relationships it will eventually lead to flying the most talented, skilful and hard working Rhinos from the SARL competition to Australia for test matches and to send the best heritage players to South Africa for important matches such as for the world cup qualifying matches in October 2019 .
Our opposition for the two matches will be the 7th placed Asia Pacific nation and the 3rd placed Americas nation.
In playing these matches the SARL will need the best players ,coaches and support staff on deck to give them the best possible chance of qualifying for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England
South African squad :
Benadie, Juan New Zealand
Boshoff, Willem Perth, Australia
Buckley, Seth Sydney, Australia
Bull, Ashley Brisbane, Australia
De Vries, Bevin Sydney, Australia
Frei, Brendan Sydney, Australia
Frei, Jackson Sydney, Australia
Gillham, Shane Gold Coast, Australia
Harris, Halvor Townsville, Australia
Hutchinson, Byron Gold Coast, Australia
King, Jason Emerald, Australia
Louw, Johan Perth, Australia
Luyke Jnr, Eugene Brisbane, Australia
Mzembe, Gideon Brisbane, Australia
Smith, Devyn Ipswich, Australia
Smith, Jean-Charl Perth, Australia
Smith Jnr, Willem Perth, Australia
Thomas, Tyler Perth, Australia
Tubbs, Joel Sydney, Australia
Van Loggerenberg, Zach Johannesburg, South Africa
Viljoen, Marcelle Johannesburg, South Africa