Gavin Varejes, South African Businessman has greatly contributed to Lithuanian rugby development. He has assisted with the Lithuanian rugby club “Enerstena”, a talented club whose players have continued to improve their skills through the support of South African rugby.
A few questions were posed to Mr Varejes on his support of Lithuanian Rugby.
- Gavin, could you please tell us about your roots and connection to Lithuania?
My father was born in Lithuania in a town called Telshe
- How often do you visit Lithuania and keep in touch with people living here in Lithuania?
We have no more relatives living in Lithuania since World War II
- Could you please tell us your international business story and secrets of your incredible success?
I am a very patriotic South African and believe our country has so much to offer the rest of the world in terms of our rich resources. I love travelling abroad and talk proudly about how our country has managed to evolve through apartheid and hard times, making us a much stronger nation. I believe in this country and want to make a difference here so that people are as proud of South Africa as I am.
- Could you please tell us about your incredible memorabilia collection and your office, Rytis visited few years ago?
I have been collecting memorabilia since the mid 1980's and have 1000’s of pieces covering all sports, music and world history. My favourite collection is my Nelson Mandela collection which really inspires people when they walk through our offices.
- How did you get into contact with rugby? How did you find it? Is it your passion?
It started in 2001 when I and a former Springbok & Scotland rugby player, John Allan wanted to make a difference to this country using sport as the vehicle. This is when we started the South African Rugby Legends, which has become the biggest sporting charity in South Africa today.
- What does Lithuanian rugby mean to you?
It was in the late 1960's & early 1970's that rugby was first effectively introduced to Argentina by South Africa. In 2007, they placed 3rd in Rugby World Cup. I see no reason why Lithuania with its extreme talent cannot do the same. Remember that New Zealand only have approximately 4,5 million people and they are consistently no.1 in World Rugby.
- What do you think Lithuanian rugby could achieve in the future? Do you see yourself as a long-term investor and supporter of Lithuanian rugby, as Richard is running exchange program.
I think that Richard de Jager and his team have done a wonderful job in getting the exposure for Lithuanian rugby. I see a lot of strong, new talent coming up through Lithuanian rugby which could never have happened before this exchange program. I have no doubt that if the rugby development initiative is as strong as the Lithuanian Basketball Structure, Lithuanian rugby will be amongst the strongest teams in the world. With a relatively small population, Lithuanian Basketball is 2nd in the world to the USA, what an incredible achievement! My wish is to be able to assist
- When are you going to attend Lithuanian rugby game?
I have been speaking to Rytis and Richard and Rytis has very kindly invited me a number of times to visit, watch and support Lithuanian rugby. I have a hectic travel schedule this year but will try to include a visit to Lithuania very soon.