Providing a Solid Rugby Foundation at Grassroots Level

Providing a Solid Rugby Foundation at Grassroots Level:

Former Springboks, professional coaches and provincial players, grounded in the belief that a solid knowledge of the basic elements of rugby are essential components to the development, safety and success of the future of the game, come together to share their skills and knowledge with South Africa’s future stars as part of the Investec International Rugby Academy’s bi-annual courses.

Uniting their experiences and expertise, icons such as Murray Mexted, Dick Muir, John Smit, André Pretorius, Ian MacDonald, Ian McIntosh and many more, will be working closely with school players and coaches from 13 to 19 December at St Charles College as part of the Academy’s December 2018 courses.

“Together we all have a great deal of specialisation and by bringing this sort of expertise together sets a certain standard. We aim to give players the right knowledge for the right start, and it’s then up to them whether they make it or not,” says former All Black Captain, Murray Mexted.

Regardless of team, school or level of the game, these greats of the game hope to help young players fast-track their games by transferring an understanding of what it takes mentally, behind-the-scenes and on field to become a professional, and to grow the pool of talent available for selection.

“We put players in pressure situations to learn to be able to make decisions and, also, not to be scared when they make mistakes. A platform like the Academy is a great way to enhance yourself as an individual and as a player or coach, and to be able to be taught by players who have experienced the professional game – you can’t get a better area to learn from,” says current Sharks consultant coach and former Springbok Assistant Coach, Dick Muir.

Understanding that school coaching goes hand-in-hand with developing future talent, the Investec International Rugby Academy also focuses on keeping coaches up-to-date with the latest, international coaching methods to maintain the professional standard from an early age.

“Knowledge-sharing, especially amongst coaches, is one of the most important things we have to work on as a country. If we can introduce an environment or culture of knowledge-sharing by creating a network amongst players and coaches, it makes everyone comfortable to, not only learn something new, but also to be able to impart something that has worked for them,” says former Springbok Captain, John Smit.

Position-specific coaching, skills work and mental toughness are high on the learning agenda for all age groups. High school players (ages 13 to 17) are offered two options – a 5-Day Players Course and an Advanced Players’ Course (seven days), while primary school players (ages 10 to 12) spend four days in the Intermediate Players’ Course, and junior primary players (ages seven to 9) three days focusing on the building blocks of playing a safe game in the Prestige Players’ Course.

“There’s always a feeling of character on the Academy’s courses; character players and coaches that you meet here. It’s like-minded people who want to be involved, give back, and learn during a strenuous week,” says former Springbok, André Pretorius.

For more information about The Investec International Rugby Academy’s Courses, taking place during the school holidays from 13 to 19 December at St Charles College in Pietermaritzburg, visit or contact Greg or Bernadine Miller on (031) 940 5565.

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