Thumbs up for superb Heritage fare

RAMPAGING MOVE: September 22 2018 , Sandile Mphakati of Dangerous Lions tries to break away with the ball against Peace Makers at the NU1 rugby fields on Heritage Day.
RAMPAGING MOVE: September 22 2018 , Sandile Mphakati of Dangerous Lions tries to break away with the ball against Peace Makers at the NU1 rugby fields on Heritage Day.
Image: Micheal Pinyana

Rugby action was in full swing in Mdantsane over the past long weekend as Umzuvukile Sport Development hosted its annual Heritage tournament at the NU1 Stadium from Saturday until Monday.

Although not as many teams as expected competed, the teams that did put on an absolute show with fierce action entertaining the supporters who came out to watch.

“From day one the level of the competition was very high, with a huge number of supporters from the surrounding areas,” said tournament organiser Mzuvukile Tempi.

“The value of sport to our communities extends beyond sport for sport’s sake.

“It brings communities together, having a social and cultural impact, developing social capital and, most important, reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.”

The action kicked off on Saturday morning, with 10 teams in action. The 11th team in the tournament was given a bye in to the next round.

By the end of the day, five teams had dropped into the losers section, and five advanced to the quarterfinals.

In the biggest result of the opening day Strand Lopers hammered Rocks of Ages 51-7, while the other four games were much closer, with Star of Hope beating Sky Blues 26-17, Black Tigers beating Young Lion 22-18, Winter Rose edging Barbarians 20-18, and Peace Maker just clipping Dangerous Lions 17-16.

In the losers section it was Dangerous Lions who went on to take the honours, beating Sky Blues in the semis, and then Rocks of Ages 20-18 in a thrilling final.

This meant Dangerous Lions walked away with the R5,000 voucher for winning the losing section, while Rocks of Ages picked up the R2,500 voucher for finishing runners-up.

In the main section Peace Makers went all the way.

The first knockout round saw them beat Eastern Leopards 3914, Strand Lopers beat Star of Hope 42-34 and Winter Rose edged Black Tigers 12-9.

Peace Makers then received a bye into the final while Strand Lopers were too good for Winter Rose, winning their play-off 15-7.

The final was a thrilling affair, with Peace Makers emerging victorious 24-23 over Strand Lopers, to walk away with the R20,000 grand prize voucher, while the runners-up took the R10,000 voucher prize.

“Mdantsane was a proud rugby area in its own right, but those days are over,” said Tempi.

“The challenge for us is to revive those days by introducing school rugby programmes and hosting of annual tournaments, because the talent is there and we are losing it to other provinces.

“This was proved by the performance of a newly established club, Peace Makers, which was dominated by young upcoming star, mostly schooling at Port Rex High that finally won the tournament.”

In all a fantastic tournament was enjoyed, despite many of the clubs who had signed up to take part not pitching up.

“Regular involvement in this kind of tournament can benefit individuals and communities and contribute to a range of positive outcomes, so we really extend a word of appreciation to ‘Flyer Sports Wear’, a local sports gear manufacturer, for journeying with us in our endeavour to change the status of rugby in particular in Mdantsane,” said Tempi.

“Twizza also brought us energy drinks to support, which we’re planning to engage with them to pursue a partnership.”