New rugby academy to find local stars

New rugby academy to find local stars
The Sharks Midlands Academy was opened on Monday with 14 of the 23 registered players at the opening, the remaining of the players are on route. Of the 23 registered players, 10 are local, 7 from the Boland and 6 from Gauteng. The players were on hand, with their Manager, J P Smit (standing left) who comes from the Valke Rugby Union, and Assistant Manager Damien Hoarau (standing right).

The academy seeks to encourage local youngsters to cultivate an interest in in the sport so that Pietermaritzburg produces more players. The focus will be on transformation and bursaries will be awarded to previously disadvantaged players.
The academy was opened by Piet Herbst of the Midlands Rugby Sub-Union at the Woodburn Rugby Stadium in the city.
Speaking at the event, Herbst stated, “We identified that there were no young rugby players coming from Pietermaritzburg and we decided to strengthen club rugby in the Midlands area.
“We had to look at a way to do that. In the past five years, there was no U20 rugby team in Pietermaritzburg. We don’t know what is happening with the youngsters but after school they disappear and then we decided to solve the problem is to start a rugby academy.
“We went to the Sharks and they loved the idea. We started working on it last year and that was the start of the Sharks Midlands Academy.”
Twenty-three youths have already signed up and JP Smit has come on board as the academy’s manager and coach.
Besides playing the sport, the boys will also do coaching courses and leave the academy as qualified coaches. They will also learn first aid, refereeing and video analysis.
“We were looking to start the academy with 10 boys and what we did was that we started raising funds which we used to identify 10 previously disadvantaged boys from local schools and we gave them a bursary of R40 000 each to come to the academy,” said Herbst.
To join the academy, applications can be found at or contact Piet Herbst at 083 232 4938.

Maritzburg Sun Reporter

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