Kick-off with the greats

2015-07-08 06:00
PHOTO: jonathan burton

At the Investec International Rugby Academy event at St Charles    College (from left) Feroz Amod, Ross Boast, Butch James and Jake Shuttleworth.

PHOTO: jonathan burton At the Investec International Rugby Academy event at St Charles College (from left) Feroz Amod, Ross Boast, Butch James and Jake Shuttleworth.

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THE Investec International Rugby Academy recently took place at St Charles College, where 28 specialists in the rugby field conducted a training week for up-and-coming school rugby players.

The week of training hosted about 100 pupils between the ages of eight and 18 who had the opportunity to meet and get tips from a mix of South African rugby players and coaches, including former Rugby World Cup players John Allan, Werner Swanepoel and Butch James, former Springbok assistant coach Dick Muir, former British Lions coach Andy Keast, ex-Wallabies kicking coach Braam van Straaten, ex-Springbok assistant coach and current Sharks coach Gary Gold, former Sharks coach Grant Bashford, all-Blacks, Chiefs and Blues technical advisor Nico le Roux, former Springboks Brent Russell, Gcobani Bobo and Ian MacDonald, most capped South African rugby player Jacques Botes, local coaches Ryan Strudwick and Greg Miller (Investec International Rugby Academy GM), international referee Mark Lawrence, Peter de Villiers (2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cup coach), Ian McIntosh (Springbok coach, selector and director of Natal Rugby in the nineties) and Mark Steele (former Springbok conditioning coach).

Butch James said this is the second year he has helped with training.

“It’s good to help coach the younger kids. There is such a great energy among the boys and the mix of different coaches and boys makes the week of training really enjoyable,” he said.

Dean Riley from the host school, St Charles, said it has been a fantastic week with the boys.

“It’s been long six days, but the boys have maintained their enthusiasm. It’s been a completely business approach to training, the boys have been pushed to the limits which helped them understand what is really needed if they want to get into the big leagues.”

Speaking to some of the boys who participated, there was a sense of excitement and achievement being able to train with some of the legends in the sport.

“I’ve learnt so much and meeting the greats has been amazing,” said Sibusiso Mkhize from St Charles.

“This is an awesome academy. There is so much I learnt together, and the one thing that we will take away from here is that we can never stop learning and improving on our skills.

“I just want to thank Greg Miller for organising this for us, it’s not every day you get to spend with legends,” said Maritzburg College pupil, Xolisa Guma

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