Don’t be puzzled when the Emirates Lions take the field for their Super Rugby clash with the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday morning at 06:15 in the FMG Stadium in Hamilton with a distinct blue and white flavour.
Yes, blue and white.
The Emirates Lions will proudly be wearing the blue-and-white awareness colours of the Els for Autism Foundation during this years’ Super Rugby competition which will appear in the number on the back.
It is a well-known fact that Els has been an avid Lions supporter since childhood and in turn the GLRU will once again support the Els for Autism organisation as one of their charities.
“I’ve always known Ernie as a true South African rugby and Emirates Lions supporter. We want to take this opportunity to thank him for his support through the years and throw our weight behind a cause that is very close to his heart,” said the CEO of the GLRU Rudolf Straeuli.
“The Els for Autism Foundation was established in 2009 by Ernie and Liezl Els to focus on the issue of autism, just a few years after discovering that their son, Ben, was profoundly impacted by the disorder, which affects an estimated 1 in 68 individuals. The Els for Autism Foundation based at the Centre of Excellence in Jupiter, Florida, aims to provide access to families across the globe to best practice interventions and support for dealing with the challenges of autism.
In early 2011 Ernie and Liezl Els made an impact in South Africa by opening the Ernie Els Centre for Autism in Johannesburg to allow lower-resourced families with Autism Spectrum Disorders to receive free intervention utilizing an online treatment tool “Rethink First”, as well as provide advice and guidance for the parents and care-givers.”
Els, who has won four golf majors, sent this message to the Lions this week:
“As a proud supporter of the Emirates Lions, I am thrilled to be working with the union to raise awareness for Autism. I just cannot wait to see how the special jerseys will look on the field. These kids with autism need our help and I am so happy to have these great players and role models supporting the cause. I want to personally wish MY team, the Emirates Lions, a hugely successful Super Rugby season ahead.” – Ernie Els (World Golf Hall of Famer & Proud Lions Supporter)