Having lost a number of senior players, the University of Johannesburg will make a fresh start when the popular FNB Varsity Cup competition kicks off on Monday. Under the guidance of head coach Werner Janse van Rensburg and captain Jannes Snyman, UJ will have a tough opener in Johannesburg against defending champions North-West University. While they have a number of new faces in their squad, Janse van Rensburg said they were motivated to be the best they could be "in the challenging circumstances that the Varsity Cup brings". "We are at the start of a new cycle, having lost quite a few senior players who have been involved over the last four years due to them completing their degrees," he said. "We have two new senior additions to our team in centre Sipho Phiri and flyhalf Ewan Adams, along with some young players who will form the greater part of our squad, which will help them gain experience for future Varsity Cup competitions. "The squad is completed by a few stalwarts who have been with us for the last few years." The UJ mentor said their challenge would be to maintain a strong sense of self-belief. "We know we have to handle whatever comes our way in terms of the opposition and the attention on you during this competition. "The test for our players will be to keep believing in what we are doing and knowing that it is good enough to get results." Janse van Rensburg said the squad, who began preparations for the competition last year, were full of excitement as the opening game approached. "There are also some nerves but the guys are looking forward to what this experience will bring. We can't wait to get going as it is a fantastic competition to play in." After initial strength and conditioning phases in October, the squad continued their preparations from late November to mid-December before a break until January 3. "We have had some good contributions in friendly matches against University of Pretoria and Wits," said Janse . . .
Even though they face the demanding challenge of playing all their matches away this year, coach David Maidza's FNB NMMU-Madibaz team are focused purely on producing a strong showing in the FNB Varsity Cup. The Madibaz kick off their campaign against UCT in Cape Town on January 30 and an upgrade to the Madibaz stadium venue, which has not yet been completed, means they will not have the benefit of home support in the tournament. Maidza acknowledged that it would be a test for the squad, but said they would not let that concern them in their planning for the upcoming competition. "Whatever the situation, we all know we are privileged to be representing NMMU in the Varsity Cup and we are only focusing on putting in good performances," he said. "We have a good team to look after the needs, physically and mentally, of these talented young men." After experiencing a testing season last year, Maidza said their aim would be to inject an improvement into their performances. "If we can do that we can better our log position from the last two years," he said. "This is a fresh start for everyone in the squad and with that we need to build a good team ethos, which will in turn give us good performances on the field." The Madibaz scored their only victory last season against UCT to avoid the relegation match and they will meet the same opponents in their opening game this month. "It is always important to have a good start," said Maidza. "That good start can be a win or a solid performance and that is our simple aim." The Madibaz mentor said he was happy with the squad's preparations. "We started last year at the beginning of November, followed by a two-week break before resuming on January 3. "The boys have worked hard during this period and the preparations have been sound." Maidza said they had continued with their process of looking within the Madibaz ranks for the best talent. "With this in mind, I am happy to say that the majority . . .
BRONSON WEIR - BELHAR RUGBY CLUB The game of rugby is more than just a sport. It creates a sense of community for both players and the supporters. This is one of the most important roles that it has played to Bronson Weir from Belhar in Cape Town. Weir’s passion for the game grew as a young boy when rugby took away the dangers of ending up in troublesome situations. Now, many years down the line, Weir was recognised as Old Mutual’s most outstanding volunteer by combining his love for playing rugby, and his volunteering efforts to develop youth in the area. A marketing consultant at Old Mutual for the past four years and a rugby player himself, Weir recognised the need for school rugby to receive proper conditioning and support, so he started coaching at Excelsior High school in 2007. He saw the opportunity to secure additional financial support - from the Old Mutual Foundation and registered his organisation as part of the staff volunteerism programme. The Belhar Rugby Club now has a practice facility that is home to four league rugby teams; both boys and girl schools rugby, as well as a gym facility. Earlier this year, the club hosted the Springboks as part of the #LoveRugby campaign, which proved to be a great success and offered the club an opportunity to showcase its exceptional facility available to players and teams alike. Weir believes there is a great synergy between rugby and work and said that “through the game of rugby, we can install discipline and focus. It teaches you to play and work together as a team and these are invaluable skills to have in a work place environment as well. ” One of Weir’s coaching career highlights was: “seeing the guys succeed on a provisional level. Knowing that we are able to supply a talented player with all the support and conditioning that he needs to reach his full potential. Often it’s the case that these guys don’t have any support available due to their underprivileged backgrounds. Being part of a . . .
World Renowned Rugby Innovation Summit to be hosted in Cape Town in December! The internationally acclaimed and globally recognised Rugby Innovation Summit is heading to Cape Town this December. Hosted at the Century City Conference Centre and Hotel from 6 - 8 December, this unique sport summit is the only sporting conference specifically targeted for elite and grassroots rugby and is a must attend for sport coaches, sport development officers, performance coaches and rugby agents. The summit has been carefully designed to optimise attack, improve performance and reduce injury across every level of the game and will cover a host of crucial topics ranging from physical conditioning, skill development, mental training, decision making, coaching strategy, technology innovation and injury prevention. The rugby focused summit will also incorporate live player-testing and an interactive vendor show, covering all areas of rugby performance, sports performance and injury. Attendees will be enriched with invaluable insights into the latest, cutting-edge rugby practices from a host of world class rugby and sports coaches as well as leading medical, performance coaches and sports scientists. Rugby fanatics can look forward to informative and interactive sessions with: England defensive coach, Paul Gustard as well as the Golden Lions high performance manager, Bart Schoeman and Argentina’s current skills coach German Fernandez, to mention just a few. Since Rugby Union turned professional following the hugely successful Rugby World Cup in South Africa in 1995, the game has evolved at an incredible speed, with players becoming bigger, stronger and fitter than ever before. With the influx of technology, data analytics and video analysis over the last decade, rugby has become more systematic and better coached than ever before. The need to host high performance summits such as these is essential! If you’re serious about creating a well-rounded sports team or a . . .
South Africa’s rugby fraternity can look forward to working with five former Springboks as part of the Investec International Rugby Academy’s courses which will be held at St Charles College in Pietermaritzburg these December holidays. Among the iconic line-up of coaches spending a week with aspiring players (aged 7 to 17) and school coaches are former Springbok players Braam van Straaten (fly-half), Dick Muir (centre), Andre Pretorius (fly-half), Ian MacDonald (flank) and Marius Hurter (prop); as well as former Bath Rugby player Hentie Maartens (scrum-half) and current Sharks Strength and Conditioning Coach Mark Steele. The Investec International Rugby Academy’s players’ and coaches courses will take place from 10 to 16 December at St Charles College in Pietermaritzburg. Visit www.investecacademy.com or contact Bernadine on 031 940 5565 or firstname.lastname@example.org. CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
The inaugural Tshwane 10s powered by Stor-Age is literally a drop kick away! Happening in less than 10 days, the event will be hosted at Harlequins Rugby Club in Groenkloof, Pretoria from 28 to 29 October and is set to take the Capital by storm. So what can you expect? Apart from former World Cup Winners making comebacks, EFC Champions in a custom built Dodgeball Cage, Radio and TV celebrities in action, 12 bands on stage and some awesome prizes for best dressed teams and spectators with #HalloweenOlympics as the theme - don't joke - we don't know that to expect either! Here are some other highlights to look out for: Meet SA Rugby Legends: rub shoulders with Cape Town 10s co-founders Rob Fleck and Bob Skinstad as well as the likes of Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield, Derick Hougaard, James Dalton and Derick Kuun Sensational Entertainment Line-up: Me and Mr Brown, Brent Harris and the Anton Botha Band will get the crowd going on the Friday while Arno Jordaan, Pieter Smith, the Barboza Experience and SA/DC will be on stage on the Saturday whilst DJ’s keep the beats flowing throughout the weekend Social Olympics: enjoy nail-biting sporting action from more than 100 teams across 7 different sporting codes: rugby, netball, beach volleyball, dodgeball, lawn bowls, touch rugby and squash Celebs Galore: a number of SA’s biggest celebs and media personalities will also make their debut and will form part of the celeb team, including: Thando Thabethe, Lunga Shabalala, Ms Cosmo, Nicole da Silva, Janina Oberholzer, Mika Stefano and Arno Jordaan, to mention a few 10s Gees: license for you to enjoy the weekend of the year, there really isn’t anything quite like it and there is a reason why the Cape Town 10s has been voted BEST LIVE EXPERIENCE The Beer Tent: a gargantuan beer tent to keep the cold ones flowing Fancy Dress: expect the most brave, fun and bizarre costumes and insane wardrobe malfunctions as people dress to the weekend theme . . .
The University of Johannesburg have no fear of taking on an unbeaten Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) when the final of the Varsity Football tournament is played in Tshwane on September 22. UJ and TUT qualified for the final when they won their semi-finals last week, ironically by identical margins in penalty shoot-outs against Central University of Technology (CUT) and NWU-Mafikeng respectively. The Johannesburg outfit and CUT played to a 1-1 draw in Bloemfontein before UJ took the penalty shoot-out 4-3, while TUT and NWU were goalless at the end of regulation time in Tshwane. Now they will meet at Tshwane to decide who will be the new Varsity Football champions, with UJ determined to go one better than the runners-up spot they achieved in 2014. Coach Mandla Zwane said they were determined to improve on their 2014 performance when the only game they lost was against UP-Tuks in the final. Last year UJ failed to qualify for the Varsity Football competition, but they had now made amends, said the coach. "This is what we wanted to achieve," said Zwane, "because it gives us the chance to bury the memories of 2014. We now want to go one better than what we did two years ago." Despite TUT's efforts in topping the log this year, the UJ mentor said playing in Tshwane did not bother them. "We have been good playing away from home and this team is good enough to handle the conditions in Tshwane. "I do not want to sound arrogant but we're one of only two teams to take points off TUT," he said in reference to their 1-1 draw at the TUT Stadium. UJ showed their ability to handle conditions away from home when they beat NWU-Mafikeng 6-2 in their opening game and Fort Hare 4-2 in their final fixture before the play-offs. The result over Fort Hare was a crucial one in that it enabled UJ to qualify for the semis after they had dropped points in other matches. Zwane, though, never lost faith in their ability to qualify for the last . . .
Tshwane 10s sponsored by Stor-Age set to take the Capital by Storm! (South Africa, August 2016) Off the back of eight highly successful events, South Africa’s biggest sport and lifestyle festival, Cape Town 10s will be launching the Tshwane 10s in October! Proudly sponsored by Stor-Age, South Africa's leading self-storage brand, the Tshwane 10s will be hosted at Harlequins Rugby Club in Groenkloof, Pretoria from 28 to 29 October 2016. With over 10 000 people expected to stream through the gates, the event aims to bring the unique atmosphere of the 10s sporting festivals to Tshwane and cement itself as a mainstay in the sporting calendar. According to Gerhardi Odendaal, CEO of the Old School Group & Festival Director of the Cape Town 10s, “After months of careful planning and hard work, we are extremely proud to announce our plans to expand the Cape Town 10s offering with the launch of the Tshwane 10s. Last year we set an unprecedented benchmark with the introduction of beach volleyball as a new sport and we strived to maintain that momentum. With that came the bold move to take the Cape Town 10s formula to the capital, but also to expand the offering in Tshwane to 7 different sports on offer and a truly unique Social Olympics sports festival.” The Old School Group - the team behind the Cape Town 10s, has upped the ante and introduced a number of new elements to the event modelled on the Cape Town 10s by including three completely new sporting codes: dodgeball, lawn bowls and squash. Players and spectators will have loads to look forward to including sporting action from more than 100 x teams taking part across the various codes on offer, including rugby, netball, beach volleyball, dodgeball, lawn bowls, touch rugby and squash. Along with the action on the sports fields, the event will feature a sensational entertainment line-up and guest appearances from some of SA’s most iconic sporting legends and celebrities. Title sponsors of the event, Stor-Age, . . .
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 renown 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, . . .
Raucous roughhousing: Rugbytots for little ones Encourage your future Springbok with sporting sessions designed to fill a gap in the childhood development sector, by using rugby specific skills. Rugbytots will develop your child’s physical, psychological, and social attributes, as well as gently encouraging rugby specific skills such as running with the ball, finding space, kicking, catching, scoring a try, and much more. Two Holiday Clubs will run this winter, with the first scheduled for 4 to 8 July and the second from 11 to 15 July. Each Holiday Club will have three classes per day, organised by age group. Sessions have been organised for children aged 2 to 3, 3 to 5, and 5 to 7 years, and will take place on the Croquet Lawn at the V&A Waterfront at a cost of R300 (for one weeks’ worth of sessions) or R550 (for two weeks’ sessions) per child. Pre-booking is essential: www.rugbytots.co.za Rugbytots First series: 4–8 July Second series: 11–15 July Mornings: 10h00–10h30: 2 to 3.5 yrs 10h30–11h15: 3.5 to 5 yrs 11h15–12h00: 5 to 8 yrs Afternoons: 14h30–15h00: 2 to 3.5 yrs 15h00–15h45: 3.5 to 5 yrs 15h45–17h00: 5 to 8 yrs Croquet Lawn (outside Springbok Experience Rugby Museum) Cost options: R300 for one series only R550 for both series CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .