It’s going to be a busy weekend in the mother city for the SA RUGBY LEGENDS ASSOCIATION as they present a full weekend of rugby in the region.
On Thursday, they welcome a representative U16 team from Monaco, as part of the SA-MONACO Rugby Exchange programme presented in association with the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation and the Monaco Rugby Federation.
The programme, now in it’s second year, serves to promote the game of rugby at this age group in both countries, in South Africa focussing on those youngsters from disadvantaged areas.
Earlier this year, a group from Mannenberg on the Cape Flats travelled to participate in the St Devote U12 Rugby Tournament hosted by Princess Charlene of Monaco and her Foundation.
The group will participate in the SA-Monaco U16 rugby tournament to be held at City Park Stadium in Athlone on Sunday 10th July, featuring teams from SARLA’s Vuka Rugby programme. They will play a round robin format in the morning to determine placings in the knockout stages.
“It is a privilege to welcome the Monegasque Rugby Federation to South Africa. The association between Monaco & South Africa has been quite unique. Prince Albert and Princess Charlene have spent significant time, effort and money in bringing our two countries together and forging stronger sporting relationships”, said SARLA’s President Gavin Varejes.
“We are always welcomed with open arms and receive such incredible hospitality from Princess Charlene and the people of Monaco, when we travel there”, he said, “so it’s wonderful that we can return the hospitality by welcoming the young team to our shores”.
Besides participating in the tournament on Sunday, the team will enjoy a private tour of the Springbok Experience accompanied by a Springbok rugby legend, receive a rugby master class at the Stellenbosch based SA 7’s rugby academy and watch the Vuka programme’s Legends Cup finals at UCT on Saturday.
“The exchange is also in place to foster an understanding of our different cultures and to give the children from both countries and opportunity, through rugby, to learn more about each other”, said SARLA’s CEO Stefan Terblanche.
“Princess Charlene has been a wonderful supporter of SARLA and we are working closely together to help develop the game she loves dearly in Monaco, as well as working together to help develop the youth through sport, something she is very passionate about.”
On Saturday morning, SARLA will host the 2016 final of the U15 Legends Cup at UCT.
The Legends Cup is an extension of their Vuka Rugby league programme that is played in 96 schools in the Cape Town region. During the weekly games, stand out players are identified and placed in zonal teams to represent their region in the Legends Cup that takes place during the July holidays.
After a week long round of matches and the semi-finals, the two teams to contest the legends Cup for 2016 are The Highlanders from Atlantis and Crusaders from Cape Town Central Zone.
This year, for the first time, the girls get a chance to contest for their own Legends Cup in the U16 age group. The finalists who will be vying for it are The Chiefs from Khayelitsha and Gladiators from Mitchells Plain North.
The Vuka programme has been running for 9 years in the Western Cape and has now started to roll out around the country with the support and backing of SARU and the relevant unions, as well as a national tournament for U15 development rugby teams – the Legends Iqhawe Week.
“What we are especially proud of is that in the current U16 Grant Khomo Week, we have 26 young players representing their respective unions, who all played in the Legends Iqhawe Week last year”, said Terblanche.
“Our rugby programmes are in place to help nurture and develop rugby talent in areas where rugby is not usually offered as a sport at school but where lots of potential talent lies. Through Vuka, the Legends Cup and the Legends Iqhawe Week, we are able to help SARU achieve its objectives of taking rugby throughout the country .”
We would like to once again extend our thanks to Mr Thelo Wakefield, President of WP Rugby Union and to Mr Mervin Green Head of Development at SARU for sharing SARLA`s vision on rugby development and affording us the opportunity to develop the game with their backing.