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The Vuka Rugby programme – a joint rugby development initiative between the SA Rugby Legends Association (SARLA) and SA Rugby – was a big winner at three 2017 Department of Education Awards Ceremonies in the last two weeks, with the project in the East Rand region receiving nine awards.

The Vuka programme is a grass-roots development initiative aimed at promoting rugby in disadvantaged communities across the country.

The initiative received awards in a variety of categories in the Gauteng East region including Sport Code of The Year, while Temperence Sibutha won Administrator of The Year, Tebogo Mochabo Technical Official of the Year, Alra Park Secondary School Team of The Year, and Miqual Fredericks Male Athlete of the Year.

The Ekurhuleni region awards were split into north and south, with four awards being received up north and one in the south.

In Ekurhuleni South, Vuka earned the Sport Code of the Year and Nande Maduna Male Athlete of the Year award, while special awards were granted to the Vuka Development Programme for its role in the development of sport in the wider community, and Vuka coordinator, Nomvula Ncqala, for her role in the development of Sport in the community.

In the north, Valke region Vuka coordinator, Jacobus Coetzer, won the award for Code of the Year at the 2017 Ekurhuleni North Districts Awards for an outstanding achievement in rugby development in townships.“Rugby development at grassroots level is one of our key priorities, and this goes hand-in-hand with boosting transformation,” said SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux.

“The Vuka programme is vital in assisting us achieve these objectives, and these awards illustrate how successful the programme is.

“I would like to congratulate the individuals who won awards and all the role-players who put in the hard yards on the ground for their fantastic efforts to ensure that the programme is a success. SARLA is doing fantastic work to grow rugby and the Vuka programme, and it is pleasing that they are making such a significant contribution the game.”

SARLA CEO Stefan Terblanche said: “We are exceptionally proud of the incredible work that has been achieved by the Vuka coordinators in the Valke region since we began our programme there. The aim of our development programmes are to offer rugby in both schools and regions where the sport is not a traditional offering as an extra mural activity. 

“The fact that our programme has been recognised by the Department of Education in these regions is testimony of the positive impact Vuka Rugby is having in the region.” 

The 2018 Vuka Rugby season begins in the second school term with weekly training and matches before teams are selected for the Legends Cup Tournament in July and the U15 Iqhawe Week teams in October.

In another development, a Vuka team will represent Gauteng at the Tricolore International Games – an initiative by the OR Tambo and Soncini Foundations – in Italy in July.

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