The Springboks warmed the hearts of hundreds of Soweto residents on an unseasonal cold and rainy day when they visited the famous Vilakazi Street and held a coaching clinic with aspiring rugby players from nearby schools.
The 17 members of the Springbok squad who didn’t travel to Washington DC for Saturday’s Test against Wales in the USA capital took time out from their busy schedule on Thursday afternoon.
Not only were they treated to a hearty meal at the famous Sakhumzi Restaurant, but they also paid a brief visit to one of Soweto’s best-known landmarks, the Nelson Mandela National Museum, also known as Mandela House.
With the rain clearing, the day was rounded off with a coaching clinic at Jabulani Technical High School, where approximately 100 boys and girls from high schools in the vicinity were given coaching tips on the game by their Springbok heroes.
Coaches from the Golden Lions, who form part of SA Rugby’s Elite Player Development programme, also assisted with the clinic.
“It’s wonderful for us to be able to give back in a small way like this and to hopefully plant a seed with these kids to pursue their dream of playing rugby,” said Springbok prop Tendai Mtawarira, the most experienced member of the squad on 98 Tests.
“Even though it was cold outside, the kids came with such enthusiasm and I think for us as players, it’s great to see how the youth of today embrace the game we all love so much.”
Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard said: “Many players who reach the top of the game here in South Africa started out playing on fields such as these and who knows, in five or ten years from now, some of these kids could be playing provincial or even international rugby.”