• Eastern Cape Rising Sun

Super talent on display

In celebrating their tenth year, the South African Rugby Legends' (SARL) Vuka program, in partnership with the South African Rugby Union (SARU) held their inaugural tournament for under 15 boys in the Border region at Lilyfontein School on Saturday.

The program started on the Cape Flats ten years ago with the intention to create a platform and opportunity for small rural schools to play in structured leagues and widen the search for players at grassroots level eligible to become professionals. With over 300 boys participating, Border's first event was a huge success with some exceptional talent on display, according to Director for SARL and National Manager at Vuka Rugby, Jesse Claassen. “We are pleased that the Border Vuka Program has been kick started, the assistance and input from local coaches and administrators; Robbie Du Rand, Maxwell Levine and Mr Tempi (Mdantsane Project Director) ensured it was an overwhelming success,” said Claassen.

The day's rugby culminated in a terrific final between Middledrift and King Williams Town 2 with Middledrift winning 20 - 5. Anticipation then filled the air as a provisional squad of 30 players was announced by Mr Tempi for the Iqhawe Week to be held in Paarl next month. They will be up against boys from similar backgrounds from across the country which promises to be an exciting first-time experience. From this week, an Iqhawe team will be selected to play in the national under 16 Grant Khomo Week next year. Claasen admitted that although SARLA and SA Rugby were doing their utmost to expand the program in the Border region, they are ultimately hampered by lack of funds. The transportation of players accounts for their biggest expense across all the regions.

However, Claassen remains optimistic as this challenge presents an opportunity for corporate sponsors to assist in unearthing the games future stars. “From what I have seen at Lilyfontein School, the talent in the Border region is there in abundance. Working together our aims and objectives can be reached,” he concluded.

The provisional Border squad selected to participate in Vuka Rugby’s Iqhawe Week in Paarl next month (22 - 26 September). Seen is SARL Director, Jesse Claasen (far left), in black coat is Mdantsane Project Director, Mr Tempi (centre). Behind Mr Tempi are coaches Bonde Mene (blue top) and Wandile Ngoma (brown top). Far right is the Border Regions Vuka Program Director, Robbie Du Rand. Due to protocol within SA Rugby the boys names could not yet be published.


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