Under the spotlight of the sun, SARLA’s young rugby talent succeeds

The prestigious U16 SA Rugby Grant Khomo Week came to a successful end on Fri-day. With fields full of future rugby talent, this well-supported event took place between the 23rd-28th June 2019 at Rob Ferreira Highschool in White River, Mpumalanga.

The South African Rugby Legends (SARLA) proudly announced, prior to the event, that a total of 16 players, all of whom played in the 2018 carfind.co.za Iqhawe Week, were selected to represent their respective unions at the 2019 Grant Khomo Week.

The 2019 U16 Grant Khomo Week saw the launch of the South African Rugby Leg-ends’ (SARLA) Iqhawe XV, a national squad consisting of the top players identified at SARLA’s 2018 Carfind.co.za Iqhawe Week. This is considered an incredible feat for SARLA’s grassroots rugby programme, VUKA, as it’s the first time a development team of this nature has been included in the prestigious high-performance rugby week line-up.

VUKA, SARLA’s Rugby Development Programme, is celebrating its 10-year anniver-sary this year and the participation of this team in Grant Khomo Week is considered an incredible achievement. VUKA has proved to be fundamental in the ongoing success of the transformation of rugby in South Africa, providing opportunities for the identifica-tion, development and showcasing of potential talent from non-traditional rugby play-ing schools from all 14 provinces.

Grant Khomo Week provided an opportunity for all participating players to play against their peers and establish themselves in the SA Rugby database. The 2019 team was coached by former SA Rugby Legend, the Springbok, SA 7s and Cheetah loose for-ward, Kabamba Floors. Floors said of the event “Our boys exceeded all expectations, winning 2 out of 3 games, with their one loss being really narrow” adding “We only had two days of training and I am extremely proud of their achievements.”

The Iqhawe XV Team won 2 of their 3 games; losing to the Everest Wealth Pumas XV but winning the hearts of all supporters. It was an enthralling game with a total of 10 tries, 4 from the Iqhawe side and 6 from the Everest Wealth Pumas XV. Wednesday’s second match saw the team take on Namibia, with a score of 23-20 and a penalty awarding the win to the Iqhawe XV team and Friday’s final match against Border Country Districts was dominated by high-energy and exciting action, with a final score of 45-7.

Kabamba shared a moving final word with the Iqhawe XV team members at the end of the tournament, telling them that they should be incredibly proud to be representing SARLA’s rugby development initiatives, and that they should fully embrace the experi-ence and focus on having a positive mindset to secure their future success.

Stefan Terblanche, SARLA CEO, proudly stated that “We’re exceptionally proud of the progress we’ve made through our dedicated work, with programmes such as VUKA, to the development of rugby talent across South Africa” further adding that “Grant Khomo Week is a great example of how we are succeeding at our goal of providing ongoing opportunities for rugby development and recognition.”

Between matches, the Iqhawe XV Team took some time out to visit the Kruger National Park, much to their delight, evident in the high spirit of the team.

The spotlight shone brightly on South Africa’s young rugby talent at Grant Khomo Week, with all supporters witnessing the strength and skill of our future players. With-out doubt, history was made.

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