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The 2017 edition of one of the most exciting new events in South African schools rugby, the Iqhawe Week, will be hosted at the Bill Jardine Stadium in Johannesburg from 2 to 5 October.

The development rugby tournament, initiated by the SA Rugby Legends Association (SARLA), aims to bring together representative Under-15 development teams from 14 rugby unions in South Africa.

Talented young athletes, many of whom are from underprivileged areas, have a chance to showcase their abilities through this event, and could even have a shot at a bursary from traditional rugby-playing schools. 

The Iqhawe Week is part of SARLA’s broader mandate to use sport as a tool for social upliftment, with other initiatives in its rugby development programme being Vuka Rugby and the Legends Cup.   The tournament is endorsed by SA Rugby as an official Youth Week and is hosted in partnership with the City of Johannesburg.

SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said the Iqhawe Week as been an important cog in SA Rugby’s transformation and development initiatives since 2013.

“The fact that 45 players have graduated from this tournament to the U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week since 2015 shows the significant platform it creates for players to advance their rugby careers,” said Roux. 

“Transformation is about creating opportunities for all South Africans and through this tournament players from non-traditional rugby schools and rural areas are able to showcase their skills on the provincial stage. I would like to thank SARLA for the fantastic work they are doing to give back to rugby, as well as the City of Johannesburg for supporting this event.”

Previous years have seen tight matches, big wins and a thrilling week of excellent rugby, as Stefan Terblanche, CEO of SARLA comments: “Last year’s event unearthed some incredible raw talent, and those youngsters have gone onto achieve even further in their regions.”

Terblanche and the SARLA leadership have worked tirelessly to ensure that the Vuka Rugby programme structures implemented at various unions around the country will bear fruit, and it has.

Young players from all levels of society are beginning to access the same opportunities as those from the more established rugby schools and are seeing the same benefits from training and competing. 

“This is a special year for rugby in South Africa, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Springboks winning the 2007 Rugby World Cup and the 25th anniversary of the unification of rugby in South Africa,” said Terblanche.

“SARLA believes that the values of rugby, such as sportsmanship, dedication and integrity, can help transform the lives of young South Africans. This is why we, as SA Rugby Legends, are proud to be a part of the transformation of the game and will continue to contribute to the development of rugby at all levels.”

Terblanche extended his gratitude to the City of Johannesburg for their support and assistance with this initiative and said: “There is no doubt that Iqhawe Week is firmly on the map as one of the country’s definitive rugby development showcases, thanks to SA Rugby’s official acknowledgement of the tournament as one of their youth weeks.”

“Now in our second year of sponsoring the Iqhawe Week, we are proud of the association and the progress made within the tournament,” Managing Director Mike de Charmoy.

“Furthermore, as a proudly South African company we are proud to be part of Iqhawe Week where it’s not only about the one week of the tournament, but more about the year-long programme around the country that gets underprivileged youngsters onto the playing fields with opportunities to develop their skills and unlock their potential. through our sponsorship of the Iqhawe Week are excited to know that we are helping create potential opportunities for the youth of South Africa, and for this we thank SARLA and SA Rugby for the opportunity and wish them everything of the best with their 2017 Iqhawe Week tournament.” 

For news updates, visit / Facebook –@SARugbyLegendsAssociation / Twitter – @SARugbyLegends /Instagram – sarugbylegends 

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