Learners from four Gauteng schools capped a memorable week as part of the Coca-Cola School of Excellence Programme by attending the second Springbok Test against Ireland at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday.
The Coca-Cola School of Excellence programme was launched by SA Rugby in 2012. It was initially rolled out to 20 schools in Western Province, Boland, Border, South Western Districts and Eastern Province, but have since expanded to all the provinces, with a total of 42 schools and more than 5,000 players benefiting in the last five years.
Since April this year players from FH Odendaal and Voortrekkerhoogte High Schools in Pretoria, and Queens High and Kliptown Secondary Schools in Johannesburg, were involved in various trial sessions and warm-up matches.
This formed part of the inaugural Gauteng Coca-Cola School of Excellence Challenge, which culminated with the events during the week of the second Castle Lager Incoming Series Test match between the Springboks and Ireland.
The teams and their coaching staff attending the Springbok training session in Johannesburg and met some of the Springbok squad members, four of whom – Scarra Ntubeni, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Jesse Kriel and Jaco Kriel – were in attendance at the players’ kit hand-over during a ceremony at the Southern Sun Monte Casino Hotel.
On Saturday morning, the two teams clashed at Pirates Rugby Club in Johannesburg, a tense affair with some great running rugby on display, with the Blue Bulls winning 22-17. All rivalries were soon forgotten as the boys enjoyed lunch at the famous club and then went to Emirates Airline Park by bus to watch the Boks take on Ireland.
On Thursday last week, five schools from Border plus additional schools from neighbouring communities and as far afield as Transkei, participated in a Youth Day Sport Day. The day included various events (including a fun-run), but the headline event was the rugby tournament.
The Border teams that took part were from Alphendale, Chief Boklein, Jamangile, Maria Louw and Thubalethu Senior Secondary Schools.
Through the Coca-Cola School of Excellence Programme, SA Rugby assisted the Border Rugby Union with kit for all the kids, subsidized transport for schools in outlying areas, as well as sponsoring the various man-of-the-match medals and team trophies.