The Blue Bulls have decided to thank their most influential figure of the past five years, Anton Leonard, for his unselfish sacrifices and contributions to the success of the team with a benefit year.
The benefit year will comprise various events and golf days as well as gala dinners in Pretoria as well as George are in the offing. A special video and DVD detailing Anton’s career will be distributed at these dinners as a gift. An exhibition match in aid of the benefit year is also planned for early 2006.
Leonard has already left his mark in Pretoria, but has also played in 68 matches for the SWD Eagles before he made the decision to further his career with Heyneke Meyer and the Blue Bulls.
It is fitting that the most influential Blue Bulls player of the new millenium still personifies the old values. Leonard is the epitome of commitment and leadership and an all-out team player.
Leonard recently completed his 200th first class match, of which 79 were in the coveted light blue jersey. Of these, he led the team 48 times, ending on the winning side an astonishing 40 times.
Leonard’s presence as a senior voice in the team is one of the reasons for the Blue Bulls’ success in bringing youngsters through at the highest level. This influence was one of the cornerstones of the Blue Bulls’ success in the past three years’ Currie Cup vicories.
Leonard aims to win the Currie Cup as captain with the Blue Bulls for a third consecutive time. If he reaches this milestone, he will only be the second player in history to achieve this feat.
With regards to the Super 12, Leonard led the Bulls to a semi-final spot in 2005 and a third place on the log, their highest finish yet.
In the modern game, players often “earn” credit for matches played for a few minutes off the bench. Anton is, however, the unsung hero who sweats blood for his team for the full 80 minutes week in and week out.
Leonard is one of the few players in SA rugbgy who served his country’s rugby public by not earning a big pay day overseas. For the Blue Bulls it is therefore only fitting that he be rewarded with a benefit year in 2005. A portion of the funds generated will be donated to charity.