Junior Springbok assistant coach Bafana Nhleko and his SA Schools counterparts wrapped up a productive series of Elite Player Development (EPD) webinars with schools coaches from across the country last Friday.
The aim of these webinars was to align SA Rugby’s structures with the schools, which seeks to ensure an effective pathway to the SA Schools and Junior Springbok teams in future.
Nhleko was joined by SA Schools coach Lance Sendin and SA Schools A coach Wessel du Plessis, as well as their respective assistant coaches, Cobus van Dyk and Katleho Lynch.
They participated in a string of webinars with the Under-16 and Under-18 SA Rugby Youth Week coaches and schools coaches in the last fortnight to outline the fundamental skills required at age-group international level.
The purpose of these presentations was to ensure that the players are well equipped with the necessary skills when they are selected for the SA Schools team, which in turn would contribute to successful SA Schools teams and later Junior Springbok sides.
With the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in the cancellation of all the EPD camps this year, the webinars offered the SA Rugby’s junior coaches the opportunity to share their blueprint with the schools coaches, while also equipping them to assist with holistic player development further down the rugby chain.
“We believe these webinars will assist in aligning our schools rugby structures with the needs at SA Schools and Junior Springbok level, and that will not only be beneficial to the teams, but to the players as individuals as well,” said SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus.
“The international game is different to inter-schools rugby, and with that the players require a different skill-set, so by sharing our SA Schools blueprint with the schools coaches we may be able to close that gap.
“This is particularly important from a preparation point of view when the players reach the SA Schools teams, as they play physically demanding matches at school on the Saturday and assemble in camp on Sunday only to play their first international on the Friday, so there is very little time to work on their skills.
“By aligning these structures and positional requirements, the SA Schools coaches will be able to spend more time working on their systems, which is vital if one considers that the teams face the likes of England, France and Ireland, who enter the Under-18 International Series after a Six Nations campaign.”
Erasmus added: “Another benefit of this initiative is that it will stretch over the Junior Springbok team a few years later, as that is the next step for these players when they finish school.
“I would like to thank Bafana, Lance, Wessel, Cobus and Katleho, as well as our EPD 2 manager, Herman Masimla, and Louis Koen, manager of High Performance Programmes for this fantastic initiative, and the schools coaches for their participation. I have no doubt that we will reap the rewards in the years to come.”
The areas covered in the player development category during the webinars included the physical, technical, tactical and mental requirements for players to advance to the SA Schools team, as well as the vital positional skills needed to compete successfully at junior international level.
The webinars contributed to a productive offering by SA Rugby’s High Performance Department during the national lockdown, which also included off-field technical engagement for players, nutritional workshops, strength and conditioning monitoring and Rugby Laws webinars and tests.
Issued by SA Rugby Communications
SA Rugby announced a ground-breaking three-year deal on Wednesday that leading African energy brand Engen will power rugby development programme, Get Into Rugby, and become the official fuel supplier of the Springboks, until 2023.
The Get Into Rugby programme – which forms part of World Rugby’s strategy to grow the game globally and encourage players of all ages to try, play and stay in rugby – is a grassroots development initiative, with its reach extending across all nine provinces in South Africa.
In 2019 alone 177 034 young girls and boys participated in the programme, while 1486 coaches, 1110 teachers, and 427 referees have been trained since 2016.
The programme was launched as a pilot project in 2013 and 2014, and was rolled out nationally in 2015, developing into SA Rugby’s biggest development initiative.
“Get Into Rugby forms a vital cog in the growth and development of the sport in South Africa for girls and boys, and we are delighted to have a leading brand in Engen as the official sponsor of the programme,” said SA Rugby President, Mr Mark Alexander.
“It is through programmes such as these that we can untap the hidden talent in both the rural and urban areas across the country, and develop the next generation of Siya Kolisi’s and Makazole Mapimpi’s.
“With 82% of the programme’s participants last year being African and 18% coloured, with 49% of them girls, Get Into Rugby truly reflects our objectives, especially in terms of transformation and equipping young girls to take up rugby.”
Mr Alexander added: “Sport worldwide is experiencing one of the most challenging times ever in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to have a major brand and partner such as Engen join hands with us in such trying times for all industries illustrates the quality of Engen as a partner, and their trust in SA Rugby, Get Into Rugby and the Springboks.”
Engen Managing Director and CEO, Yusa’ Hassan, said: “Engen is extremely honoured to be the Springboks official fuel partner and SA Rugby’s official Get Into Rugby partner.
“As a company, Engen strives for integrity, teamwork, and performing at the highest level every day - all characteristics at the heart of the three-time world rugby champions.
“SA Rugby have a sharp attention to dependability and working for a greater purpose, another characteristic shared with Engen!
“Our partnership with the Get Into Rugby initiative will help ensure Rugby continues to flourish at the community level upwards so that South Africa can keep producing winning teams and exciting their passionate fanbase.”
Issued by SA Rugby Communications and Engen