Lions scrumhalf Ross Cronje says the players showcased the great camaraderie that exists off the field among South African players at Newlands last weekend.
A photo taken by Gallo’s Thinus Maritz captured a special moment (below) after the Stormers-Lions Super Rugby derby in Cape Town last Saturday. The image went viral on social media, with various players from all South African teams and fans commending the players for their unity off the field.
Ross Cronje, who was part of the circle, said it was a special moment for all the players.
“It was a very hard match on the field, so it was great to come together after the final whistle,” Cronje told MyPlayers. “It was a moment that proved how South African rugby players can be opponents off the field, but still enjoy friendship off it.
“We stood together after a great match and thanked the man above. It was definitely a special moment for the guys and a great way to end the night.”
The Lions managed an impressive win against the Stormers, who were undefeated during the opening seven rounds. Cronje said the men from Johannesburg were delighted with their performance.
“We weren’t completely happy with our performances this season, but we were very happy with our game at Newlands. The guys really played hard and put in extra effort to fix our problem areas, which saw us beat a difficult Stormers team in Cape Town,” said Cronje.
“We are now focused on our next game against the Jaguares at home on Friday evening. It will be a tough, physical challenge, but we’ll ensure we’re deliver what’s needed to continue our good momentum.”
Meanwhile, Cronje said he’s enjoying life on and off the field this season. While he’s working hard on his game, he’s exploring other opportunities outside of rugby.
“My goal for this season is just to add value to the Lions’ campaign this season. I want to do well for the team, so we can achieve our collective goals,” said Cronje.
“Off the field, I keep myself busy. I’m involved in a new business venture as we’re preparing a wedding venue on our family farm in the Cradle of Human Kind (based in the north-west of Johannesburg). I’m also part of an investment club, so there are a few things I’m involved in to prepare me for life after rugby.
“I also try to play a mentoring role among the young players around me. Rugby is a very short career, so it’s important that they start thinking of the long term from a young age.”
By Gareth Duncan