This past weekend, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay youngsters got together at Loerie Park in Knysna to get a taste of rugby in a safe, noncontact version of the game under the SuperSport Let’s Play schools rugby programme.
On Saturday 15 September, seven schools in the area converged in Knysna with both boys and girls aged eight to 13 playing in this mini rugby festival aimed at sharing the fun of the game with as many children as possible.
The Let’s Play festivals target nonplaying or dormant, and less-established rugby schools throughout the country by not only creating a platform for these children to be introduced to the game but also by providing coaching clinics. On the day, the little rugby players are accompanied by a coach, on the field, while they are playing to give pointers as they go along. The kids are also introduced to some basic rules of the game.
Watching one of the games at Loerie Park’s field was quite a humorous experience for this journalist. Already you can see these eager boys and girls taking on personas of their favourite players, throwing their hands up at the ruck when the whistle is blown for a penalty even though they currently have no idea how the penalty system works.
There were the more sizeable boys who, when they successfully called for the ball, headed into their opponents like South Africa’s Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira, and the lanky, faster boys headed straight down the touchline as if possessed by the spirit of Cheslin Kolbe. All the while the comments they made to each other created for many a giggle.
This year’s festival, held by SuperSport in partnership with SWD Rugby and the department of education, comprised Sunridge, Brackenhill, Hornlee, Chris Nissen, Thembelitsha, Kranshoek and Concordia Primary. The winners move on to the cluster championships in George on 28 September. They are the U9 boys from Hornlee, the U11 boys from Sunridge, and the U13 girls from Concordia.
Thembelitsha Primary’s team watch a game while they wait for their turn on the field.