Call to schools for rugby revival
In order for rural kids who want to play professional rugby to progress, the province needs more schools to play more rugby.
The Berlin Schools Rugby Revival Programme, which was Berlin Tigers coach Leo Mbini’s brainchild and is now supported by Border Rugby and the Eastern Cape Sport Council, speaks to the need for more rural schools to be included in tournaments such as the Craven Week, and so forth.
Mbini, whose team is currently campaigning in the Border Super League, said this was why he came up with the idea of reviving rural schools rugby and he was glad the two sport organisations didn’t need much convincing.
“I saw the need to do this after seeing the hunger of young kids flocking into our senior team rugby practice each afternoon.
“And I’ve seen there is nothing going on in their schools in terms of sport participation. Hence I decided on this programme.
“I named it the Leo Mbini Rural Schools Rugby Tournament and later changed it to the Berlin Schools Rugby Revival Programme.”
The programme takes place in Berlin, which is a neutral venue for all surrounding schools who are interested in participating.
“We have schools in and around Berlin so we are using two fields, Nkosinathi Fields and Berlin Primary fields.Mbini said they were strictly focused on the crucial age groups U12 and U13 since they were looking to feed the Border Bulldogs and Springboks from this programme.
“We have about 14 schools in and around Berlin that have already joined the programme and we are looking for more who are interested. “The provincial sport council was happy with this idea, as well as Border Rugby – they were showing interest from the start and we thank our sponsors PK Livestock & Kleanit.”
Eastern Cape Sports Confederation secretary Hlathi Phumelele said under the conditional grant they had four areas they were supporting with junior rugby development – Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, Chris Hani District, McClear and BCM Metro. “We have R367,000 for all four areas and R80,000 has been allocated to the Berlin revival programme.”