After two successful sets of courses in KZN, the Investec International Rugby Academy will be returning to St Charles College in Pietermaritzburg these school holidays, adding position-specific courses, for both players and coaches, to the course line-up.
The 5-day course aims to provide high school players with the skills and expertise they need by matching them with former national and international players in their position and teach coaches to learn alongside these players.
The exciting line-up that attendees can look forward to working with are former Springbok flank Ian MacDonald and utility-back Brent Russell, former Springbok assistant coach Dick Muir, ex-Wallabies kicking coach Braam van Straaten, former Sharks coach Grant Bashford, Sharks forwards coach Ryan Strudwick, Sharks under-19 coach Paul Anthony, Super Rugby referee Archie Sehlako, as well as local coaches Greg Miller, Greig Wegerle and Ryno Combrink.
Behind the scenes training is also a feature of the academy and specialists such as Mark Steele (former Springbok conditioning coach) and Ruan Fourie (former Sharks and Lions physiotherapist) will be educating players on conditioning for the season and injury prevention.
“The academy affords players the opportunity to meet, interact and learn from the greats of the game. It can only have a positive effect on one’s development,” says former Springbok, Brent Russell.
World renowned kicking coach, Braam van Straaten, who has been a coach at the academy for the past seven years, is passionate about his role at the academy.
“In a week you see boys become men. We get players to function outside their comfort zone,” says van Straaten.
Players’ courses on offer in July are the Prestige Players’ Course (aged seven to 10 years), the Intermediate Players’ and Coaches Course (aged 11 to 14 years), the 5-Day Players’ and Coaches Course (aged 14 to 17 years).
Former Eastern Province player and GM of the Investec International Rugby Academy, Greg Miller, believes that in order to remain competitive on an international level, it is vital that more emphasis is placed on school level players.
“Instead of setting up structures that will allow players to develop over time and then reach their true potential only when the leave school, we want to feed the funnel from the top. We need to plough resources and money into this every year,” says Miller.
The academy, while focused on developing SA’s talent base, is also passionate about the life skills that boys can gain from playing rugby.
“We want to create young men who will become great leaders in their community and schools. With our intense programme and the way we challenge them, we get them to come out of their “shells” with confidence. Rugby is just the vehicle that gives us that opportunity,” says van Straaten.
The Investec International Rugby Academy’s players’ and coaches courses will take place from 9 to 13 July at St Charles College in Pietermaritzburg. Visit www.investecacademy.com or contact Bernadine on 031 940 5565 or firstname.lastname@example.org.