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Soweto rugby champs call on companies to take notice Print E-mail
02 May 2017
sowetorugby

The Soweto Joburg Giants were crowned champions of the 2017 edition of the Soweto Rugby tournament after thrashing Harmony 37-6 in a nail-biting final match in Bramfischerville, Soweto, on Sunday April 30.

The tournament, part of a drive to transform the state of South African rugby, is sponsored by the City of Johannesburg in partnership with the Gauteng Provincial Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation and the Soweto Rugby Union (SRU).

The tournament, which is already in its sixth year, has produced no fewer than 13 professional rugby players who have plied their trade in entities such as the Gauteng Lions, Cheetahs and Border Rugby Union.

The Bramfischerville community has since Friday April 28 been gripped by rugby euphoria as four teams from various parts of the country battled it out for top honours, with the Soweto Joburg Giants showing their mettle early on and leading the charge by beating Amandabeault 35-15 on the first day and walloping Mpumalanga’s Embalenhle 47-7 the following day.

Soweto Joburg Giants captain Tshepo Maboe said the team had experienced what he termed “hiccups” in the period leading up to the tournament.

“It’s obviously great to win the tournament. We had a lot of challenges along the way. However, the boys managed to overcome them. They knew what they needed to do as a unit. We stuck to the game plan and got the results. Going forward we hope potential sponsors would have seen what we have achieved as a team,” he said.

Maboe said his dream was to see young and upcoming rugby players from Soweto being given the opportunity to don the colours of professional teams such as the Blue Bulls and the Cheetahs.

The fourth team that competed in the tournament was Mines, which represented Welkom, Mpumalanga, North West and Gauteng. This year saw a much smaller number of teams competing compared with those that participated in 2016.

Tournament organiser and Soweto Rugby Club general secretary Zola Ntlokoma said there were a number of off-the-field challenges that had threatened the integrity of the tournament.

“We’re going to address these issues in the 2018 event. We’ve spoken to all officials of the clubs. We had meetings afterwards to deal with this,” Ntlokoma said without disclosing the nature of the challenges.

“In terms of the standard on the field of play, there was no problem. People also came in their numbers to support the tournament,” said Ntlokoma.

He said the SRU was looking forward to introducing a women’s category in the 2018 tournament. He said he appreciated the City of Johannesburg’s sponsorship and appealed to it to continue providing support to the tournament.

 

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