It is important for us at Forward Foundation to celebrate those who have walked a remarkable journey alongside us. Below is Patrick Van Wyk’s story in his own words. We applaud Patrick’s Journey thus far and are looking forward to seeing his journey unfold in the feature.

In 2008 Nigel Phillips approached me and asked if I would like to join his touch rugby team he wanted to start called “Mynhardt Touchies” – named after Nigel’s good friend and businessman, Tobie Mynhardt. He had a vision and mission for us, to make it a “dream team” – the number one team in the province, and to make a change in our lives through sport. So, I agreed to join his team. Nigel formed together a great group of young talented players from the Strand area, but through the starting phase we as a group had our ups and downs.  In 2009 the whole team separated, some made their own teams, and other went to join another team. It was then when Nigel asked me to stick with him as he promised me that he will build a new, and even greater team, in the same year – and so he did. Again, we formed a great group of talented players residing in Strand and Macassar.

Our team played in a few local tournaments and a winter league before the big one at the end of 2009, that was The Beach Series (Also known as the Hot Summer of Touch Series (HSOT)). HSOT also had a new format that year where it divided into the Pro division and the Open division, so we went on to win the first ever Beach Series Pro Division.

A week before The Beach Series started, we lost one of our teammates (a brother – like we called each other) in a car accident. They were on their way home from Gqeberha (in those days we knew it as P.E.) where they took part in a 7’s rugby tournament. From that moment we had a saying that “we are Brothers Beyond” and that drove us to achieve great things. It brought us closer as a team and also motivated us to win.

In 2010 our group stayed together and ended up finishing second at The HSOT. In 2011 big things came our way as we started playing under the Living Legends brand after Nigel was approached by Mr Conradie. We also recruited 3 more players that year and won The HSOT for the 2nd time. What helped us was that we had a well-balanced team and the backing of sponsors through Living Legends. In 2012 we finished 2nd in The HSOT again. That same year we also added “Four Cousins” as a new sponsor where we felt very privileged to have such a sponsorship that Living Legends got for us, as other teams had to work for their kits, tournament registration money, food on the day, and transport money.

From 2013 to 2016 the Living Legends Touch Rugby team was unstoppable (“laughing”), and we won the HSOT Pro Series 4 years in a row, as well as a few leagues and some local tournaments. We had a great group of players, mixed with youth and senior players that supported and also guided each other in the right direction. We were willing to learn from each other and were very humble.

In 2016 we also started a sevens rugby team and some highlights of 2016 were when we won one of the most prestigious 7’s rugby tournaments in the Western Cape, The Castle Wesbank 7’s, that took place in Malmesbury. We also participated in a lot of local and international tournaments, such as Stellenbosch Assupol 7’s, Rhino 7’s, Maties 7’s and Western Province 7’s. We also played friendlies against countries like Georgia, Germany and even the Blitzboks which was great opportunities and experiences for us. I also had the opportunity to represent Living Legend’s 7’s rugby team in Namibia at a national tournament where we finished 4th overall.

At the end of 2016 I also stopped playing touchies for Living Legends and started helping with coaching as I began to get too big and heavy to run around with the young lads specifically on the sand.

Mr. Conradie (co-founder of Living Legends) with Nigel (our manager) always told us that there will come a lot of opportunities for us as players in the future and that we must be patient. From 2011 till 2012 I worked at a Screen-Printing company. In the beginning of 2014 Mr. Conradie approached me with a Development Project that Living Legends wanted to begin. Middle August 2014, myself, Christopher Josephs (also a player at that time) and Morné Adams (who coached us at that time) were given the great opportunity to become Physical Education Instructors at Weber Gedenk Primary in Jamestown, Stellenbosch. We immediately made an impact and difference in the school as well as in the lives of the learners, with the physical education programme, in combination with our skills and experience in our own sport circles and our life lessons. I ended up being a Physical Education instructor at Weber Gedenk Primary from 2014 – 2018. From 2018 till today I am also the Head Coach of Forward Foundation Legends touch rugby team.

In 2019 I was moved closer to home (which is the Strand). I continued to be a Physical Education instructor, but at Rusthof Primary School (which was also my primary school). I still work there today. I am also part of the Forward Foundation 7’s rugby team. My future ambition is to join the 7’s coaching management when I stop playing myself.

I’m so thankful and grateful for this journey and opportunities so far in my life – it can only get bigger and better from here. I only wish good things for our under-resourced communities and try to help through sport to recruit young players out there to join the Forward Foundation Legends touch rugby team for a better future.

To Nigel, Mr. Conradie, Living Legends, and also now the Forward Foundation, thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity!!!

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