Founded in 2001, the South African Rugby Legends Association is a registered non-profit company (NPC) with two complimentary objectives: Developing rugby at the grassroots level and supporting the needs and interests of Legends.
Our development projects, under the name of VUKA, focus on young players in disadvantaged communities who have traditionally been excluded from structured rugby training and grassroots level competition. By nurturing the personal growth and athletic potential of these youngsters, we hope to give them the skills and confidence they need to succeed both on and off the field. Our broad aim is to uplift individuals, and by extension communities, create advancement opportunities for talented players and create a deeper, broader pool of professional level talent.
Under VUKA, some 2200 youngsters receive regular training from qualified coaches. Their teams engage with one another at regional tournaments; they come to know a sense of belonging and aspiration. As Nelson Mandela has said, ‘Sport has the power to change the world………it speaks to youth in a language they understand and creates hope where there was only despair’.
Not only do our 15 to 17 year-old VUKA fellows participate in vital team-work, but they are also introduced to life-skills via the ‘Cool Play’ programme. The benefits of structured and professionally managed activities for kids after their school day has ended produces caring individuals; it steers them away from all the unpalatable alternatives, such as drug-taking and gang participation.
In September, 2013, we aim to hold our first national tournament in conjunction with the SA Rugby Union. In time, we plan to roll out VUKA across all the rugby-playing regions.
Legends contribute to our projects thorough coaching, training, fundraising, organising matches and ‘passing on the passion’ of the game. Their enthusiasm for ‘giving back’ to the rugby community is critical to our success. As an organisation, we strive to give them a home base for building careers off the field, supported by the camaraderie, loyalty and shared passion of fellow Legends. Rugby Legends include not only former players, but also all the other hard-working folk who have contributed over so many years; the coaches, administrators, referees, and all those who have supported the sport from the side of the field. Our Legends have access to International Rugby Board certification training themselves; this promotes their own welfare and opens up employment opportunities. Legends also participate in local and international tours under the SARLA banner. Rugby clubs across the country are supported by Legends who contribute toward their individual community projects.
The South African Rugby Union endorses and participates with us in our VUKA and Legends programmes, as does the Springbok Supporters Club. Across the country, we interact with the individual Rugby Unions and Clubs to further our goals of rolling out our development programme around the country and bringing as many Legends as possible “on board”. VUKA ‘Cool Play’ is backed by the international Laureus Sport For Good Foundation and we also associate with other sporting development organisations such as Bhubesi Pride, JAG and Tag Rugby. We are proud to be associated with the Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund who fundraise to assist former players with catastrophic rugby injuries and we also lend our support wherever we can to other charities such as LIV Village and Joint Aid Management (JAM).