Four SARU Academies, funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF), were established in Border, Eastern Province, South Western Districts and Boland towards the end of 2012 with the objective of broadening the base of talented players in those regions and grooming them for elite rugby.
This year, 14 players in the EP Kings’ match-22 and 10 players in the SWD squad that participated in the Absa Under-21 B Division final in Welkom were products of the SARU Academy Programme, while eight players who represented Boland in the Absa Under-19 B Division final were members of SARU’s Boland Academy.
This achievement was bolstered by the fact that two of the players, EP Kings Under-21 fullback Selvyn Davids and Boland Under-19 fullback Lohan Lubbe finished their respective Absa Junior Championships as the third and fourth highest point scorers respectively.
This success followed on a fantastic opening year in which several players who participated in the knock-out stages of the Absa Under-21 and Under-19 B Division competitions were linked to the SARU Academy Programme as the EP Kings were crowned the Absa Under-21 and Under-19 B-Division champions last year following victories against Boland and the Junior Valke respectively.
So then why do I still get the feeling that EP Rugby is being fed a bunch of horse manure by the richer franchises? Why are we concentrating on more development in a depressed part of the country that was feeding players into the system and is now feeding even more into the other franchises who, when these players sign up with them, then turn around and slap EP for their lack of transformation? Or is it EP’s lack of being able to pay the big bucks?
My head hurts thinking about it!
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