As a playmaker for the Springbok Sevens team, Justin Geduld is often confronted with making important decisions: “stick with the planned move” or “is there another option” are two choices regularly faced by the Blitzbok flyhalf on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, Geduld was well equipped to make the relevant calls on how to deal with the challenges it brought, despite being in the middle of moving house, having to change his training regime and finding a valuable and soul-enriching option of helping those in need.
With keeping fit a given for professional rugby players and their relocation curtailed by lockdown regulations, Geduld found his energy transferred to the Be the Difference Foundation, a community-based organization that assists needy and hungry families in and around Cape Town.
The foundation caters to the educational, nutritional and sports developmental needs of various communities and Geduld is amongst a host of well-known sports personalities that contribute with their time and effort.
“We have been feeding around 1000 people a day, including handing out food parcels and care packages to those in need. The feeling of giving to those in need is even greater than to score a winning try or kick,” Geduld said.
The Blitzboks playmaker also offered some of his playing kit for auction in order to raise funds, with his 50th tournament commemorative jersey a very prized possession that parted ways.
“Yes, playing 50 tournaments for the Blitzboks is a very big thing, so it was a huge item for me to part with, but the cause is greater, so it was an easy decision in the end,” he said.
“Hunger is a real thing, especially in these trying times, so I am just pleased to contribute, if only in a small way.”
The jersey has now gone to the lucky bidder who bought a fund-raising ticket, but for Geduld the race is far from run.
“People might not understand that even the smallest of contributions will help. If everyone who can, contributes, the end result is massive,” he urged.
There was more than giving his time to the needy, with keeping fit and moving to a new house other priorities during the various stages of the lockdown.
The Gedulds stayed with Springbok speedster Cheslin Kolbe and his family during the early stages of the lockdown and the two world stars could train together.
“My partner and Cheslin’s wife are family and with him and myself being close friends, we decided to spend the lockdown together at his house,” said Geduld.
“We were in the process of moving house, so that worked out nicely. With the regulations eased, we are now in fact completing the move, so it remains a busy time for me.”
Geduld is keen to get back to the training field and eventually the playing field.
“You get into a routine at the Blitzboks and I missed that, to be honest – I also missed the banter and camaraderie from the squad,” he said.
“In reality, this also gave me invaluable time to spend with Mymoena and our daughter, Niyah, who is growing up so fast! In normal times, I would most likely have been away from home for the tournaments in Hong Kong, Singapore, London and Paris, so having that time at home with my loved ones meant so much.”
Getting back to rugby is always a pleasure: “Often, in the past, your season is interrupted by injury and then rehab, this time it is a bit different. I am really keen to get back on that field and play some rugby.
“Obviously there are still some guidelines and protocols in place but knowing that return to play is getting closer does help to keep the energy levels up and fitness programme going,” he said.