Playing ball with Stormers

2020-02-04 06:00
Zwaanswyk Academy learners and coaches with Stormers captain, Siya Kolisi, and Heart FM’s 326 Drive radio hosts. PHOTOS: Racine Edwardes

Zwaanswyk Academy learners and coaches with Stormers captain, Siya Kolisi, and Heart FM’s 326 Drive radio hosts. PHOTOS: Racine Edwardes

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The excitement was palpable as u.12 and u.13 rugby players from Zwaanswyk Academy waited to meet their DHL Stormers counterparts, at the Western Province Rugby High Performance Centre in Bellville, on Tuesday 28 January.

Altheo Mathys, sports HOD at the academy, said a parent sent the school a link to the Heart FM DHL Stormers and Drive 326 competition. As first prize, selected players at one lucky school would get the chance to meet and train with the local team.

Zwaanswyk Academy entered and won.

“It’s not rugby season yet but they are extremely excited and, hopefully, this will motivate them when rugby season starts.

“It’s not every day you get the opportunity to stand here, next to the field, and learn from professional rugby players,” said Mathys.

Mikaylin Rhode, u.13 head coach for the academy, added: “It’s a good experience to learn as much as they can from these guys – these are their role models at the end of the day. And, for me, it’s really nice to see the Stormers giving back to the community.”

The school rugby team, which has one female player, was able to observe the professional rugby players’ training session and even run drills with some of the Springboks Rugby World Cup winners.

Siphukhanyo Dyanti, Jude Miles and Tyron Mathys, all 12-year-olds, had the chance to meet their rugby idols.

Jude, whose favourite player is Steven Kitshoff, said: “I feel very happy that we can learn more. My parents said it would be very good if I want to become a rugby player.”

Tyron said that his favourite player was Herschel Jantjies. He added: “I’m loving the opportunity.”

Siphukhanyo said he owed the opportunity to meet his idol, Siya Kolisi, to a few people. “I thank my coaches and my friend’s mother for actually telling us about this competition.”

Stormers player Seabelo Senatla psyched up the learners with his high-energy antics. He said this meet-and-greet was special for him too.

“It was great to be with these kids and give them a little bit of hope.”

Stormers kicked their 2020 Super Rugby season with a 27-0 victory over the Hurricanes on Saturday 1 February at Newlands Stadium.

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