The 2019 Iqhawe Week – South Africa’s premier development rugby tournament for U15 boys – will kick off at Paarl Gimnasium on Monday, 23 September.
The annual tournament is jointly put together by the SA Rugby Legends Association (Sarla) and SA Rugby. While it has been to the Western Cape before, this is the first time all 14 unions will be represented there.
The Iqhawe Week is an opportunity for newly discovered young rugby talent to shine on the field. Many of the players come from non-traditional rugby-playing schools and rural, underprivileged areas.
The tournament is also a chance to win life-changing educational aid. The Player of the Tournament will be awarded a full-time bursary and scholarship at a traditional rugby-playing school, while donors will provide further academic assistance and support for other top performers.
The Iqhawe Week is part of Sarla’s broader mandate to achieve true transformation and social upliftment in rugby by creating development opportunities at grassroots level. Sarla’s other ongoing programmes include the Vuka Rugby Development Programme and the Legends Cup.
Sixteen top Iqhawe Week players in 2018 were selected to represent their unions in the 2019 U16 Grant Khomo Week in White River, Mpumalanga.
Thirty-nine players who have been part of Sarla’s ongoing development programmes took to the field in White River this year.
The Iqhawe Week Team of the Tournament in 2019 will go on to play in the U16 Grant Khomo Week in 2020.
‘Every year, we see new talent developing right before our eyes at the Iqhawe Week,’ said Sarla CEO Stefan Terblanche. ‘We’re so proud of the impact we’ve been able to have on these young people’s lives through opportunities in sport.
‘We hope that the positivity and spirit we see at Iqhawe Week will cause a chain reaction in communities throughout the country, uplifting generations to come.’
Photos: Howard Cleland