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Boland and Griquas faced off in the unofficial final of the Iqhawe Week at Paarl Gymnasium this Thursday, and ultimately, it was Boland who pulled off a convincing 29-10 victory in front of their home crowd after three days of impressive play.

The Iqhawe Week is jointly put together by the South African Rugby Legends Association (SARLA) and SA Rugby, to bring U15 teams from the 14 South African Rugby unions together.

Iqhawe Week is part of SARLA’s broader mandate to achieve true transformation and social upliftment in rugby, by creating development opportunities at grassroots level. And Iqhawe Week is specifically aimed at developing talented Under-15 players.

SARLA CEO Stefan Terblanche said, “This year’s tournament was bigger than ever. We were very proud of the performances we saw from the boys, and it’s great to see them grabbing this opportunity to excel in sport.

“Our aim is for the Iqhawe Week to set a precedent among young people and inspire long-term change in communities that need role models. Well done to the boys this year for proving that they have what it takes.

“We are very grateful to SA Rugby, Digital Solutions and MyPlayers for helping us make the Iqhawe Week 2019 such a success”.

MyPLayers – the players’ organisation that represents all professional rugby players in South Africa – also lent their much-needed support to the Iqhawe Week. MyPlayers member Sikhumbuzo Notshe said: “As a group of professional rugby players, we decided to contribute towards Iqhawe Week again this year, not only to develop young talent but also to reward one promising player with a R120 000 MyPlayers bursary. This bursary will support him throughout his school career and equip him with the education he needs to kick-start his rugby career”.

A Digital Solutions also made a generous contribution of R120 000 towards SARLA’s Rugby Development Programme. The funds will go towards bursaries for some of the extremely talented young players discovered at Iqhawe Week. Director and Owner of A Digital Solutions, Peter Nyman, came to offer his support at the Iqhawe Week opening ceremony, where he handed over a cheque for the full amount.

In this year’s intense final, Boland scored four tries before the break, including two by Michail Damon (fullback), giving them a 26-5 half time lead. This helped secure their victory against Griquas, even though the only points scored in the second half were from a single penalty goal, bringing Boland’s score up to 29 and sealing the deal.

The Sharks won a hard-fought 26-15 victory against Eastern Province and the Leopards scored six tries, leading to an impressive 43-5 victory against the Pumas. The Golden Lions pulled off four tries to SWD’s three, securing their 31-17 victory.

There was certainly no shortage of action on the tournament’s final day, with the Griffons and Valke drawing 17-17. Both teams scored three tries and one conversion in a very evenly-matched contest. Border narrowly beat Western Province 32-31 after a challenging second-half comeback from the Capetonians, who were behind 20-5 at half time. And finally, Free State worked extra hard for their 21-19 victory against the Blue Bulls, with just one conversion being the final decider.

Several great players stood out and it wasn’t easy for organisers to choose the Player of the Tournament. But ultimately, Border’s No 8, Siseko Mani, took the title.

SARLA looks forward to another great tournament next year, and would like to thank all the dedicated players, sponsors and SA Rugby for their help and support in making Iqhawe Week 2019 such a resounding success.

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