Jozi to host the 2016 Iqhawe Rugby Week
The City of Johannesburg and the Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation have welcomed the staging of this year’s Iqhawe Rugby Week at the Bill Jardine Stadium in Industria West in the first week of October.
The Under-15 rugby tournament, a joint venture between South African Rugby and the South African Rugby Legends Association, focuses on the development of young rugby players from disadvantaged communities who have been historically excluded from structured rugby training and lack grassroots level competition.
It seeks to nurture the personal growth and athleticism of youngsters by giving them skills and confidence they need to succeed both on and off the field. The tournament creates a gateway for players from lower-league and non-traditional rugby schools to take part in mainstream rugby events.
Speaking at the launch of the tournament this week, Faried Loonat of the Sport and Recreation Unit in the Community Development Department of the City of Johannesburg, said the best thing about Iqhawe was that it focused on public schools.
“This forms a big part of the City of Johannesburg’s core development in the sport and recreation sector. As the City, this is a very exciting project for us,” he said.
“Because it is an under-15 league, it will strengthen our core area, which is mass participation.”
Loonat also said the Golden Lions, the rugby federation in Johannesburg, was overseeing the recruitment processes and served as mentors.
Pieter Muller, former rugby player and National Manager of Iqhawe who also heads the Bokke Programme, said the initiative was aimed at giving youngsters an equal opportunity. “There are many kids in townships and rural areas who are yearning for such an opportunity. They can also be picked and developed. That is our mission,” he said.