The Vusa Rugby Academy team has proved it can compete against some of South Africa’s best rugby-playing primary schools. PETROS AUGOUSTI reports.
This year brought into sharp focus the uncanny ability of South Africans to unite through sport, with the Springboks picking up their third World Cup and in doing so endearing themselves to the country and the world at large.
The Boks inspired a nation and it was in no small part thanks to the achievements of Siya Kolisi, who led the team majestically.
Kolisi must feel overwhelmed by the response but will reflect on what will be a life-changing event – not just for the affable captain but for the entire rugby fraternity.
The tearaway flanker did not just captain the team but managed to create such a vibe in previously disadvantaged communities like Zwide, Hanover Park, Soweto, Nyanga and Langa that the legacy of 2019 will never be forgotten.
Kolisi is a brand ambassador for the Vusa Rugby Academy, based in Langa, Cape Town, and his inspirational leadership no doubt inspired the team to take the country by storm.
The Vusa team may come from the humblest of backgrounds but they provided some of the biggest primary school highlights of the season – if not echoing the achievement of the Boks then coming a very close second.
The team has been in the national mainstream media for more than a year, and for good reason, picking up the Team of the Tournament award at the prestigious Paarl Boys’ Primary School Festival. Such was their performances that they will highlight the 2020 edition alongside the home team, Paarl Gimnasium and other school luminaries.
They have also become the first Cape Town township team to be invited to the nationally acclaimed King Edward School VII Festival in 2020. They have been consistent performers in the southern suburbs derby games, and once again enjoyed a successful season taking on the likes of Bishops Prep, Rondebosch, Wynberg and SACS.
There are not many township teams that play against such heralded competitors on a weekly basis and this hub of excellence, surrounded by the dust, shacks and paraffin-filled smog is rightly seen as one of the most effective models to nurture previously unmined talent.
Kolisi and fellow Bok players Sikhumbzo Notshe and Scarra Ntubeni are all ambassadors for one of the most exciting rugby ventures in the country. Notshe is a Vusa graduate, while Ntubeni helped coach the team in 2016 (when recovering from injury).
‘The boys at Vusa have grown in leaps and bounds since 2016 and they deserve a spot to compete against some of the country’s best schools in 2020 … they earn that right every day, just by making it to training,’ says Ntubeni.