Sixteen Under-16 and Under-18 girls’ teams, from SA Rugby’s various Youth Training Centres (YTC) across the country, will celebrate Women’s Month this weekend when they take part in a YTC Festival at Florida Park in Ravensmead, Cape Town.
The teams will play each other in seeding matches on Friday, 10 August, while the playoffs will take place on Saturday, 11 August.
DHL Western Province U16 girls will be looking to defend their title on home turf, while DHL Western Province U18 girls are targeting a third national title.
Like last year, the U16 and U18 teams will take on one other in a combined tournament rather than being split into the North and South Sections as they have been since the inception of these events in 2015.
Western Province Rugby Football Union President, Mr Thelo Wakefield, said that it is an honour for the union to host the tournament.
“The development of women’s rugby is key to the future health of our game. I would like to welcome all of the players and wish them all of the best over the weekend.
“Women’s Month is a time for us to reflect and appreciate the role of women in our communities and our sport, so what better way to celebrate than through this tournament,” he said.
The U16 and U18 players at the various YTC’s train on a weekly basis, while they also have access to conditioning and nutritional programmes, as well as gymnasiums within the SA Rugby network to improve their strength and fitness levels.
They work from a coaching blueprint designed by SA Rugby’s Rugby Department to ensure a uniform approach in the structures and systems at the various centres, and the girls also participate in scheduled matches to expose them to regular competition.
“We have already started seeing the graduates of the YTC’s feeding into the Women’s Interprovincial League, which is part of the pathway into the national team, said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.
“We are committed to growing women’s rugby and increasing participation in the sport throughout the country and we have made a significant investment in the last few years to achieve this.
“The opportunity these girls have to play in a proper provincial tournament this weekend will assist them with a high level of competition, but they will also get a sense of what rugby is about in terms of camaraderie, respect, discipline and building friendships.
“The Youth Training Centres have played a key role in equipping young girls with the necessary skills and techniques to groom them into quality players since the inception of the programme a few years ago.”
Day 1 Fixtures – Friday, 10 August
10h00: Limpopo v Border
11h10: Griquas v Blue Bulls
12h20: Eastern Province v South Western Districts
14h00: DHL Western Province v KZN
11h10: SWD v Limpopo
12h20: Blue Bulls v DHL Western Province
14h00: Border v KZN
15h10: Griquas v Eastern Province