Former Springbok fullback Joe van Niekerk believes cannabis is a better post-match way of unwinding than alcohol.
Speaking to the French rugby newspaper, Midi Olympique, van Niekerk said the drinking culture associated with the sport was counterproductive: “There is nothing worse than drinking litres and litres of beer after a rugby match: it freezes the blood; it tires, it dehydrates and it slows healing.” He said that plants, including cannabis, were better at helping athletes recover from their efforts than booze or traditional pharmaceutical products like anti-inflammatories.
Van Niekerk has become an ardent proponent of the healing power of plants since he moved to the Costa Rican jungle after retiring from professional rugby in 2014. The 39-year old former loose-forward from Port Elizabeth said he faced a void when he reached the end of his successful sporting career, which included 52 Springbok tests and over 100 appearances for the French club Toulon. He said embracing nature gave him a new meaning in life. He now runs a farm Rama Organics, in the southern Pacific zone of Costa Rica, with the aim of living off the land and offering spiritual retreats.