The changing face of rugby in communities – Tsogo Sun’s SunCares rugby opening tournament. On Saturday the Tsogo Sun team and a few ‘boks had loads of fun at the first SunCares Rugby Opening Tournament. Before I post some of the photos, here’s a bit of a background into this CSI project of ours:
“Rugby development needs to be a smooth running conveyor belt from school level right through to super rugby and national team level, where coaching, training, encouraging and advancing of talented players must be consistent throughout the process. Our national Springbok team can only ever be as strong as its nursery – and the nursery starts in every school where rugby is played.
If rugby is not happening at school level, there cannot be the great success we all expect to see at national team level.” says SARU deputy president Mark Alexander on the occasion of Tsogo Sun’s second SunCares Sports Academy rugby festival for schools in Diepsloot on 3 August.
The Tsogo Sun SunCares Sports Academy rugby programme is one of our group’s corporate social investment initiatives, operating with extensive collaborations that include Golden Lions Rugby Union, Gauteng Department of Education and the Department of Sports and Recreation. The festival will see more than 600 youngsters from seven Diepsloot primary schools participating at Bophelong Sports Complex in Diepsloot.
“Before the SunCares programme, no rugby had been played in any of the Diepsloot schools – now the youngsters are developing a passion for it and are keen to put in the hard work and the practice necessary to advance in the game,” says Glenn Joseph, general manager of Montecasino, a primary sponsor of the rugby programme .
Alexander says that many of SARU’s top players started playing rugby at schools located in far-flung rural areas, and then played for their own communities before joining the higher ranks at provincial or even national rugby level.
Joseph adds, “At the time of the Rugby World Cup in 1995, Nelson Mandela said, ‘Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand.’ We’ve seen this in our country. We’ve seen sport add a new dimension to the culture of national unity in South Africa. We’ve seen it add to the hope of our nation for a bright future for every South African. We’re now seeing it in action in our community – and we’re immensely proud to be a part of it.”