In the bigger picture of rugby history, try number 166 for a South African team in the 2018 Vodacom Super Rugby competition may not go down as anything significant. But for a number of children with facial abnormalities such as cleft lip and cleft palate, it will prove to be the most important try ever scored.
When Warrick Gelant scored for the Vodacom Bulls in their Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Cell C Sharks on 12 May, South African rugby teams reached R500 000 in this year’s Vodacom #Tries4Smiles campaign.
The #Tries4Smiles campaign sees Vodacom donate R3 000 to the Smile Foundation for every try scored by a South African team in this year’s competition, in a drive to give as many children as possible the chance at having free facial corrective surgery, and to quite literally change their lives.
Gelant’s try would have brought a huge smile to several other faces as well, including that of Dr Alexander Zühlke, who is one of the surgeons who generously gives his time and skills to perform these surgeries.
“It makes a huge impact to see the difference the surgery makes in not only the child but the whole family. They have a better start in life again. Just like the players, we do our job with passion because we love it.”
This weekend, a sponsor’s commitment came together with the passion of several doctors, the dream of an organisation, the support of a team of hospital staff and the talent of every South African Vodacom Super Rugby player to become bigger than the game.