The DHL Stormers forwards spent some time with the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) during their bye week, to learn about the important rescue work done to save lives on South African waters – and to experience the power of the icy cold Atlantic Ocean first-hand.
Following a comprehensive safety briefing, with all COVID-19 protocols strictly observed at Station 03, the NSRI base at the Waterfront in Cape Town, the DHL Stormers’ big men were taken out on the open seas, on several different sea rescue vessels.
Once out on the Atlantic, with Table Mountain and Cape Town as a scenic backdrop, the forwards were invited to show off their strength and power when they were challenged to participate in several NSRI routine training exercises, one of which was to self-right a capsized boat in groups of four.
Diversity of skills, technique, discipline and teamwork are what makes the work that the NSRI does special, and it soon became clear, that much like on the rugby field, skills and technique are just as important as power and strength, with the DHL Stormers players eventually self-righting the boat with some help from their new friends – the NSRI crew.
Soon enough, all of the DHL Stormers forwards and their coaches were in the water, safely in their lifejackets, to learn about the importance of coming together and supporting one another while out of their comfort zone.
DHL Stormers captain Siya Kolisi said that the players have incredible respect for everyone who helps to keep our oceans safe and the important work they do at the NSRI.
“This was an amazing experience for all of us, to get out there and appreciate what these people do to keep others safe in our waters. The power and strength of the ocean is something that must always be respected, as well as the time and effort that the NSRI put into keeping us all safe out there,” he said.
DHL Stormers Head Coach John Dobson said that he could not think of a better exercise for the forwards, ahead of the Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked campaign which begins next week.
“The ocean is powerful and unrelenting, which is what we would like to see from our forward pack on the field this season, but this outing with the NSRI was about far more than just that.
“We experienced the teamwork and organisation that goes into the selfless work that the NSRI do and we cannot thank them enough for giving us the opportunity to get out there and see for ourselves what is possible when we work together.
“We went through some tough moments in the freezing water, but the players pulled together well, which was fantastic to see,” he said.
DHL Stormers’ title sponsors DHL are also involved with NSRI as a platinum partner, lending valuable support to both teams.
“What an awesome day out on the water with the DHL Stormers. The energy and brotherhood shared in that huddle is something I will never forget”, said Lee Cooper, volunteer Crewman at Station 08 Hout Bay.
“An epic day spent with the DHL Stormers forwards sharing the challenges of what we face during rescues. With both Sea Rescue and the DHL Stormers drill training, planning and being able to adapt when that plan is not working is of huge importance. Love the team spirit, what a great bunch of guys, GO DHL STORMERS!”, said Graeme Harding, NSRI Training Officer.