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Springbok vs All Black rivalry at GODZone

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Former Springbok rugby great, Stefan Terblanche, is looking forward to representing South Africa and competing against All Black legend Richie McCaw at this year’s GODZone.

Terblanche, now aged 42, played 37 tests as a wing for the South African Springbok team from 1998 to 2003. As a passionate rugby player, he remains involved with the sport as CEO of the SA Rugby Legends Association and the VUKA rugby development programme.

Terblanche will race at the world’s largest expedition adventure event, in Fiordland, New Zealand from the 1st - 10th March 2018 with highly experienced South African team Merrell Adventure Addicts.

He sees it as a golden opportunity to brush up against former rugby rival Richie McCaw.

"I initially said no and thought that would be the end of it but the team captain Graham Bird asked me again and told me I would be fine. So I phoned around to get some info, emailed Richie and got his input, then phoned a good mate who has done many of the toughest endurance races in the world and he said I would be mad not to say yes and so here I am," says Terblanche.

Since retiring from professional rugby, the formidable South African sportsman has kept in shape completing the Cape Epic cycle tour, Ironman 70.3 and summiting Mount Kilimanjaro. He says he is nervous but ready to take on the GODZone challenge despite disliking being cold and wet.

"I have learned in professional sport that one must never be too proud to let your teammates help you; you will be strong and weak at different times during an event or rugby game, and you will need one another to get through it together."

Speaking of the classic Bok vs. All Black rivalry Terblanche says it’s all about mutual respect between the two rugby nations.

"We know what it takes to compete at the top level against one another and the hard work it takes to get there and stay there. Springbok and All Blacks are massive rivals on the field but then we enjoy a beer together afterward, which I will be looking forward to doing with Richie McCaw and his PwC teammates at GODZone."

Team captain Graham Bird, an AR veteran with 21 expedition races under his belt, has raced GODZone before, leading an international Merrell team, and is thrilled to be heading back with his all South African Merrell team, ranked amongst the top ten in the world. He says team members Grant Ross and Jane Swarbreck will use their extensive experience and good humour to make sure Stefan gets through to the touchline.

"GODZone race director Warren Bates and I have chatted about this concept since 2016 when Richie first tackled the event. Merrell’s tagline is ‘Do What’s Natural’ and what could be more natural than putting a Springbok into the field when an All Black is around!" says Bird.

"We haven't raced as a team in 2017 and have had to accept that to take on the top Kiwi teams in their backyard and expect to clamber on the podium is a stretch too far for us at this stage. So we’re going to have a bit of fun and focus on beating one of them. Every true, pure, adventure racer craves the kind of terrain and challenge GODZone presents, so we are looking forward to being there."

100 teams from around the world will compete at GODZone Chapter 7. The 450km multidisciplinary course will include mountain biking, kayaking, pack rafting, trekking and a ropes section with teams given ten days to complete.

For more info on GODZone go to: or

For more info on Team Merrell go to

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