There are lots of things that bring us together as a nation but the most obvious of the lot has got to be our love for Nelson Mandela, our instinctive desire to braai whenever it’s sunny and, of course, rugby.
Professional rugby players and icons Tonderai Chavhanga, Murray Mexted, Dick Muir, John Smit, André Pretorius, Braam van Straaten and many more, know this all too well, and so have volunteered their services with the introduction of the Investec Internationla Rugby Academy.
With rugby players entering at provincial and national levels from as young as 19 years old it is clear that aspiring rugby professionals need to make their mark at school level in order to have a long, illustrious career in the game. Added to this, as a rugby nation, the abundance of school rugby players is overwhelming, making standing out vital.
Hoping to help aspiring rugby players with this and fast-track their knowledge and skills, understanding of what it takes mentally, as well as what goes on behind-the-scenes and on field to become a professional, former All Black Captain, Murray Mexted says, “We have a great deal of specialisation. 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.”
Current Sharks consultant coach and former Springbok Assistant Coach, Dick Muir explains their strategy saying, “We put players in pressure situations to learn to be able to make decisions and, also, not to be scared when they make mistakes.” He continues, “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.”
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.
Former Springbok Captain, John Smit comments, “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.”
Which courses are available and how much does it cost?
Position-specific coaching, skills work and mental toughness are high on the learning agenda for all age groups but there are different courses for each specific age group. The following are currently available:
5 Day Players Course (for ages 13 to 17): 25 – 29 June
The course fee is R6 000.00 which includes accommodation, all meals, some IRASA kit, certificate and transport to and from the airport
Intermediate Players (for ages 10 to 12): 26 – 29 June
The course fee is R3 000.00. Please note this does not include accommodation. Should he wish to stay in it is an additional R275.00 per day
Prestige Players (for ages 7 to 9): 26 – 28 June
The course fee is R1 500.00. Please note this does not include accommodation. Should he wish to stay in it is an additional R275.00 per day.
There aren’t currently any sponsorships and scholarships available, however, schools are encouraged to raise funds for their star rugby player and corporates can also get involved in sponsoring a player to watch. As the International Rugby Academy hopes to motivate aspiring players to realise their dreams regardless of the teams they are currently player in, which level of the game they play and what school they go to.
For more information visit the Investec International Rugby Academy website.