National Coaches Inspire U18 Youth Week Players

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Springbok coach Allister Coetzee and Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell on Wednesday evening took time out to inspire the U18 SA Rugby Youth Week players at Kearsney College in Durban and advised them to work hard to achieve their goal of becoming professional players regardless of the challenges on their path.

All 44 teams participating in the U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week and Coca-Academy Week attended the special function, where a player from each provincial union received the opportunity to ask either of the coaches a question.

Coetzee opened up the evening with the remark that the talent at school level in South Africa was among the best in the world, and he encouraged the players to learn as much as they could and to put in the extra effort to improve their game to become the best players they could be.

The best players from the U18 Coca-Cola Youth Weeks will be selected for the SA Schools squad in the next few weeks, which will participate in the Under-19 International Series in August. Coetzee advised the players to keep believing in themselves even if they were not selected for the SA Schools team.

“There are talented players and hard-working players, and hard work will always beat talent unless talent works hard,” Coetzee said. “Back yourself and keep working hard even if you don’t make the SA Schools squad. A number of Springbok players including Frans Steyn and Eben Etzebeth didn’t play for the SA Schools team and they became top Springboks.

“You may not believe me, but some of the players participating in these tournaments this week may be members of the 2019 Rugby World Cup squad, so keep working hard to achieve your goals.”

Powell echoed Coetzee’s sentiments and named a number of Springbok Sevens players who made the first meaningful steps in their rugby careers in the SA Rugby Youth Weeks.

“The SA Rugby Youth Weeks serve as the bedrock of rugby development in South Africa and some of the top Springbok Sevens players such as Kwagga Smith, Werner Kok, Cheslin Kolbe and many other star players have come through these structures,” said Powell. “In fact some of our top players were drafted into the SA Sevens Academy directly from these competitions and they are now stars on the World Sevens Series.”

SA Rugby’s national selector Peter Jooste, as well as SA Sevens Academy manager Marius Schoeman and former Springbok Sevens player, Paul Delport, who fulfils the role as an assistant coach in the Men’s and Women’s national Sevens structures, have attended the SA Rugby Youth Week tournaments to scout for players who have the potential to make it to the highest level of the game in the next few years.

The U18 Coca-Cola Youth Weeks will conclude on Saturday with a jam-packed day of rugby as all 44 teams will be in action at Kearsney College and Glenwood High with a total of six fields accommodating the final day’s matches.

Saturday 16 July 2016          
Academy Week          
Kearsney JH Smith Oval          
08:15 Pumas CD   vs   SA LSEN
09:35 Free State   vs   Sharks CD
10:55 Pumas     vs   Boland
12:15 Lions   vs   Sharks   
13:35 WP   vs   Bulls
Glenwood Bassons field          
09:00 Griquas CD   vs   Border CD
10:20 Griffons CD   vs   Limpopo Bulls
11:40 Falcons CD   vs   EP CD
Glenwood Dixons Field          
09:00 Border   vs   SWD
10:20 Griffons   vs   Leopards
11:40 Falcons   vs   Griquas
12:50 Namibia   vs   EP
Craven Week          
Kearsney Stott Field          
08:50 Boland   vs   Border
10:25 EP   vs   SWD
12:00 Pumas   vs   KZN
13:35 Blue Bulls   vs   Free State
15:10 WP   vs   Lions
Kearsney Osler Field          
08:00 Zimbabwe   vs   Namibia
09:35 Griquas CD   vs   Border CD
10:50 Limpopo Bulls   vs   EP CD
12:15 Griffons   vs   Leopards
13:40 Falcons   vs   Griquas