The South African Rugby Legends Association (SARLA) and SA Rugby hosted the first ever World Rugby Level One training course for women at Newlands in Cape Town last weekend. This was the first session of its kind and exclusively for women. The training session is part of SARLA’s mission to empower 600 women to become coaches, with a strong focus on the importance of giving women opportunities to up-skill in the school and club environments.
Training courses will also be held in the South Western Districts and Boland in March. Jordan Konnight from Milnerton, who participated in the course says, “Rugby has al-ways been a big part of my life and it’s such an honour for me to be involved in the sport. I’ve learned to be more assertive and to voice my opinions on the field. There is so much untapped potential in women’s rugby. And for SARLA to empower 600 wom-en as coaches is so amazing. Thanks to the SA Rugby Legends. We can’t wait to transfer this knowledge to our communities”.
Women’s rugby is often overlooked despite the wealth of local talent in South Africa. SARLA aims to change perceptions and build the sport from the ground up at coaching level. These courses signal a renewed focus on professional women’s rugby as the Springbok Women prepare for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand this September. SA Rugby’s first High Performance Manager for Women’s Rugby, Lynne Cantwell, will be joining the team for the tournament.
Gavin Varejes, President of SARLA says, “We’re very excited to be a part of this initia-tive. We have so many talented female players who deserve the opportunity to receive the best training possible, and we have some of the best coaches on board to make this happen. We were also very privileged to have both the President of WP Rugby, Mr Zelt Marais, and Mr Patrick Khun, SA Rugby’s representative for Women’s Rugby, at the event. Quality coaching is a much-needed commodity in rugby. We want to see a long-term impact on the sport and get the message out there that women’s rugby in South Africa is world-class”.
Jeanette Bailey from Mitchell’s Plain, who also participated says, “This was a momen-tous occasion and I’m so proud to have been a part of it. Our generation has seen so many male coaches and this is proof that female coaches are equally capable. I am so grateful for the programme that SARLA is offering to enrich women’s rugby. This has made a change on the streets. On behalf of all the women, I’d like to say a big thank you to Jessie Claassen and SARLA for making such a big difference in our communi-ties and in the sport”.
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