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The South African Rugby Legends Association (SARLA) officially welcomed the Boland region into their Vuka Rugby programme on Human Rights Day, 21 March 2018. As part of their on-going commitment to the development of rugby at a grassroots level, it was truly an appropriate day to launch the programme with the full support of the Boland rugby Union.

SARLA continues to blaze a trail across South Africa as its Vuka Rugby programme grows from strength to strength. Working in close partnership with rugby unions across the country and with the full support of SA Rugby, SARLA has been successfully operating for over 9 years in the Western Cape region.

The launch event of rugby games by participating schools took place at the Wysersdrift Primary School in Worcester, in association with the Boland Rugby Union. The Boland programme is the twelfth programme to be launched, with the Border and Pumas regions to follow, which will then be the realisation of the inclusion all 14 rugby unions. Jessie Claassen, Vuka Co-ordinator proudly claimed that this recent addition was an exceptionally proud moment for SARLA as it has brought them closer to their realisation of the programme running throughout South Africa and is quoted as saying “In 2017 over 17000 boys and girls participated in the Vuka programme in 11 of the rugby unions with the involvement of 463 schools and 330 coaches. This year we celebrate the growth to 574 schools in the U15 age group and 238 schools in the U17/19 age group. It is a remarkable achievement, a dream come true!”

SARLA CEO, Stefan Terblanche added to Claassen’s statement that “We are exceptionally proud of the work that has been achieved since the initial launch of the Vuka programme. Just consider for a moment the impact that this programme has had to date, and for the future – the possibility of potential talent to be discovered within nearly 800 schools!” adding that “We all feel enormous pride and excitement for the future as we focus on achieving our goals for talent discovery and transformation.”

Terblanche shared SARLA’s holistic vision for the future of the Vuka programme. Whilst the key focus remains on unearthing potential players, the programme includes the development of coaches, rugby administrators and referees.

The Vuka programme is unique to South Africa in that it not only offers the opportunity for young players to participate in the sport, but further, an incredible opportunity to identify and develop potential rugby talent into the more formal structures of the sport in our country.

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Issued By: Philippa Harvey
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