Ex-Blitzbok joins Boland’s ranks

Mpho Mbiyozo (Gallo Images)
Mpho Mbiyozo (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Former Springbok Sevens captain Mpho Mbiyozo has been appointed to assist Stanley Raubenheimer at the new Boland Rugby Institute, which from this season will be based in Riebeek West.

Apart from Mbiyozo, who captained South Africa at the Sevens World Cup in 2009, Raubenheimer will be assisted by Andras Molnar, while Barry McDonald will be the institute’s manager and Alan Zondagh its performance director.

The new rugby academy aims to give more black players the opportunity to develop their talents and will be operated by a non-profit company, Transforming Rugby NPC, in association with South African investment group Remgro’s 100% subsidiary, Stellenbosch Academy of Sport (SAS).

“The decision by SAS to fund an institute in the Boland was timeous and will allow the continuation of the good work that was done by the SA Rugby Academy in a new guise,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.

“SA Rugby will be supporting a number of players at the new Boland Rugby Institute, under our new funding model, as well as at other provinces. I am sure that the new institute will make an important contribution to rugby transformation.”

SAS chairperson, Faffa Knoetze, commented: “We want to make a contribution to transformation in rugby and considered a number of options. We particularly liked the idea of a rugby academy under Alan Zondagh’s leadership and the impact that it can have on the development of black rugby players over years to come.

“The fact that Alan’s Rugby Performance Centre in Riebeek West already provided a ready-made facility in the Boland allied to the wealth of talent in the region and Boland Rugby’s enthusiastic support for the initiative, allowed us to quickly conclude that this was the way to go.

“We worked closely with the Boland Rugby Union and SA Rugby in our planning and they, as well as SuperSport, will be providing financial support and other expertise to the project.”

Boland Rugby Union President, Ivan Pekeur, also commented: “We are entering exciting times at the Boland Rugby Union. With the assistance of SAS and Alan Zondagh, the clear vision in terms of player development, world class facilities in Riebeek West, top quality coaching, as well as the structures that are being put in place, we cannot help but be excited for the season that lies ahead.”

The academy will be known as the Boland Rugby Institute and the players will be in contention for selection to Boland’s teams in SA Rugby competitions. It has an intake of 29 Under-20 players in 2016, of which 23 are black players.

The institute will also run squads in the Boland region from Under-16 upwards to identify talent to be nurtured and absorbed into the Institute in subsequent years.

*The Boland Rugby Institute has completed recruitment to its first year intake but those interested in joining the institute in future can contact Alan Zondagh on 022 461 2400.

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