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The ‘Doc’ who played in two World Cups in different sports

Rudie van Vuuren is a Namibian physician, conservationist and former sportsman who achieved a remarkable feat in 2003. He became the first and only person to represent his country at two World Cups in different sports – rugby union and cricket – in the same calendar year.

From medicine to sports

Van Vuuren, who was born in 1972, is a qualified medical doctor as well as an obstetrician. He has been treating HIV/AIDS patients and working as a wildlife veterinarian. He is also the founder of N/a’an ku sê Foundation, a charity that aims to conserve Namibia’s wildlife and improve the lives of the local people.

Despite his busy schedule, Van Vuuren found time to pursue his passion for sports. He played both rugby and cricket for Namibia at the national level, as an amateur. He was a flanker in rugby and a medium-fast bowler in cricket.

The ‘Doc’ who played in two World Cups in different sports

A double dose of World Cup action

In 2003, Van Vuuren made history by playing in both the Rugby World Cup and the Cricket World Cup, which were held at different times of the year. He became the first and only man to compete in two sport codes in World Cups in the same calendar year.

He started with the Rugby World Cup, which was held in Australia from October to November. He played in four matches for Namibia, against Ireland, Australia, Argentina and Romania. Namibia lost all four games, but Van Vuuren scored a try against Romania.

He then switched to the Cricket World Cup, which was held in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya from February to March. He played in six matches for Namibia, against Zimbabwe, Pakistan, England, India, Australia and Netherlands. Namibia also lost all six games, but Van Vuuren impressed with his batting and bowling.

Facing the world’s best players

Van Vuuren faced some of the world’s best players in both sports. In rugby, he tackled the likes of Brian O’Driscoll, George Gregan and Agustin Pichot. In cricket, he bowled to Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Marcus Trescothick.

He also had some memorable moments on the field. In cricket, he hit Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar for fours, and sledged Waqar Younis by telling him that his seamers were not fast enough. He also took four wickets against England, including that of Nasser Hussain.

In rugby, he scored a try against Romania after a brilliant solo run from his own half. He also played against his wife Marlice van Vuuren’s cousin, Jacques Burger, who was also a flanker for Namibia.

A legacy of inspiration

Van Vuuren retired from both sports after 2003, but his legacy lives on. He is widely regarded as one of the most versatile and inspirational sportsmen of all time. He is also a role model for many young Namibians who aspire to follow his footsteps.

He continues to work as a doctor and a conservationist, dedicating his life to helping people and animals. He is also a proud father of two children, Zacheo and Neveah.

Van Vuuren’s story is one of courage, passion and determination. He proved that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it. He is the ‘Doc’ who played at World Cups in two sports.

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