Rassie shows support for grassroots rugby


ALL nine municipalities of the Cacadu district participated in training their rugby coaches, referees, team management and advanced administrators at Port Alfred High School over the week of June 25 to 29.

The initiative of the Cacadu department of sport, recreation, arts and culture, saw 49 sports educators from around Cacadu participate in the intensive week of study in the hope of attaining official certification in the various aspects of the game of rugby.

To the great delight of those participating, Rassie Erasmus, South African Rugby Union (Saru) general manager of high performance teams, also made an appearance at the school and showed his and his organisation’s support for grassroots rugby.

DRIVING FORCE: General manager of high performance teams at the South African Rugby Union (SARU), Rassie Erasmus, showed his support for grassroots rugby by visiting the Cacadu rugby programme courses for educators in Port Alfred last Thursday Picture: ROB KNOWLES

Among his many accomplishments, Erasmus can count 36 Springboks caps, as well as being successful as coach of the Free State Cheetahs and director of coaching with the Stormers.

He was appointed general manager of high performance teams at Saru in April this year, and his responsibilities now include the Springboks, the Baby Boks (the South African u-20 team who recently beat New Zealand’s Baby Blacks to lift the IRB u-20 Rugby World Cup earlier this month), the South African Sevens Rugby side (the Blitz Bokke) and the Lady Springboks.

Erasmus said he was approached by a Cacadu official at the final test match, played at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, and told about the initiative.

“I was only too pleased to come,” said Erasmus when TotT interviewed him at My Pond Hotel on Thursday afternoon. Having just flown up from Cape Town earlier in the day, Erasmus was going to hop back onto a flight to Johannesburg to attend a meeting there on Friday morning.

“It has been a busy time, working at Saru. But I wanted to show my and Saru’s support of this programme,” he added.

Coordinator of the programme, Sharief Gamiet, assistant manager of sports development at the Cacadu department of sports, recreation, arts and culture, said he was particularly pleased that all nine municipalities in the Cacadu district were represented. The courses involve online internet training and examinations, along with hands-on training and one-on-one discussions.

The courses are aimed at developing a better understanding of the game of rugby, including the Boksmart rugby programme levels 1 and 2, and the International Rugby Board’s (IRB) modules. All courses, as well as the examinations are presented on-line and include such topics as being rugby-ready, rugby laws and strength and conditioning of players.

“This is the first time some of the participants have ever used a computer, and basic training in computers was required before we were able to begin the course,” he said.

Cacadu chose to host the event at PAHS mainly due to the type of infrastructure already in place.

“Easy access by road, plus the hotels, guest houses and restaurants makes Port Alfred the obvious choice for Cacadu to host an event of this nature. The school itself (closed for the mid-year holidays) can provide us with enough online capacity for the entire week,” said Gamiet.

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