Get Into Rugby forms part of SA Rugby’s strategy to grow the game and encourage players of all ages to try, play and stay in rugby. It is a grassroots initiative spread across all nine provinces and aims to support young people and discover raw talent.
“As a longtime supporter of sports development, Engen is proud to back an initiative such as Get Into Rugby because it will empower our young people with the skills, confidence and self-esteem to chart their own paths, for their families, communities and for their country,” said Bulela Mkandawire, Engen’s Brand and Sponsorship Manager.
The 2021 Valke Rugby Union Blitz Festival is deliberately being held on Heritage Day (24 September 2021) to foster social cohesion and ‘South Africanness’ amongst the 160 young players, who will be drawn from across the socio-economic spectrum.
And while Get Into Rugby is certainly about rugby and discovering the rich talent we have in the country, it is also about life skills, leadership and teamwork as well as hard work, dedication and discipline, added Mkandawire.
“In a country with amongst the highest inequality in the world, the learning of these important skills will help support South Africa’s young people to find their place in a complex and competitive world.”
SA Rugby President, Mr Mark Alexander, said the organization is committed to playing its role sport in helping uplift the youth of South Africa.
“There is a wealth of untapped talent in the country waiting to be discovered and when it is we have such gems emerge as Lusanda Dumke, Makazole Mapimpi, Lukhanyo Am and many others,” said Mr Alexander.
“It is our objective to continue to hold the mantle of representation and inclusivity high, in order to help encourage and inspire children from different communities around the country.”
The 2021 Valke Rugby Union Blitz Festival will be hosted in line with strict Covid-19 health and safety protocols. It will focus primarily on skills development, including ball handling, tag rugby and touch rugby techniques.
Maxine Engelbrecht and Edwaline Dickson, who have represented the Springbok Women's team and are part of the wider national training squad, as well as Piwokhule Nyande from the Mastercard Golden Lions Women, and Pulane Motloung, a former Springbok Women's player who is now head coach at the Gauteng Women’s Rugby Institute, will be on the field to encourage and impart their valuable knowledge.
Also present will be representatives from the Gauteng Department of Education, Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, City of Ekurhuleni’s Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture, and the Gauteng Sports Confederation.