Southern Africa Rugby Explorer 2017 – Part 1
Benediktas Lynch, Selebi-Phikwe & Maun
It was in Gaborone that the Pride was joined by me (Benny Lynch), Arran Hain, Harry Ryan, Tim Hardie, and Freddie Mann. It was straight onto the road for us to Selebi-Phikwe the next day for the first stop of the ‘SARE’.
For the charity, it was Bhubesi Pride Foundation’s first time in Selebi-Phikwe, so it was important the Pride got off to a good start. Tosca Segaise, BPF’s host in the area, had a full-on two days of coaching prepared for the Pride, starting with an U19 session in the morning followed by two afternoons of festivals at Kobane Primary School!
The Pride was treated to an incredible braai on their last night in Selebi-Phikwe, attended by the local buddy coaches who had helped over the two days they were there.
Following this great start to the trip, the Pride made their way westward to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary in central Botswana for one night. Here, the Pride were lucky enough to go on a sunset game drive and see white rhino, wildebeest, and giraffe, alongside a host of other animals.
Early the next day, the Pride set off to Maun. It was unknown what the standard of rugby would be like in this part of the country, however, our host and local coach Glyn Maude (Maun Puppies RFC) stated that rugby in Maun “relative to the rest of the country is pretty good.” This meant the Pride had a solid foundation to build on!
It’s in Maun that Bhubesi Pride Foundation would lead its first ever full coaching week of the Southern Africa Rugby Explorer. Working in groups, Pride members hosted a number of sessions in Moremi and Matlola primary schools, alongside trainings with the local club, Maun Puppies RFC.
With an increased focus on the charity’s goal to EMPOWER, a local coach education session was held on the Friday before Saturday’s tournament day. Glyn highlighted the importance these sorts of events can have on local coaches:
“It’s been great for our coaches to learn about coaching techniques and methods. It’s been fantastic for them to be inspired. Seeing people come full-circle makes them realise rugby is something to be valued.”
For our tournament, a great day was planned by Pride members Floyd Kesson and Toby Stolarow. With two teams from Moremi and Matlola primary schools, alongside various age grade teams from Maun Puppies RFC, a successful day was had by all. Floyd noted:
“Tournament day was really, really good. We had a festival of rugby with a touch tournament between the schools and a contact tournament for the Maun Puppies, plus several coaching stations which the kids took part in. The weather was beautiful and the rugby was good, so, overall, a great day.”
Being Bhubesi Pride Foundation’s first time in Maun, it was especially important to inspire the children to continue playing rugby, even after the Pride leave. Toby Stolarow highlighted the importance of increasing interest:
“If our input has increased the children’s interest in playing rugby, then that’s a great thing!”
All in all, the Botswana leg of the inaugural Southern Africa Rugby Explorer expedition has been a huge success. The U19 team the Pride coached in Selebi Phikwe went on to win the national championship; the number of participants at both Moremi and Matlola primary schools increased significantly over the coaching week; and a tangible legacy has been left for future BPF visits to Selebi-Phikwe and Maun!
Maun coaching week in numbers
- Number of participating schools/communities: 3 (Matlola and Moremi primary schools, plus Maun Puppies)
- Number of children coached: 90
- Boys / girls: 80 / 20
- Percentage of children participating in 3 or more sessions: 89%
- Number of participating local coaches: 15
- Number of participating local coaches awarded a BPF buddy coach certificate: 4
What else did they say?
Interview with Glyn Maude
“Come back! If we know there’s a regular group coming every year for a certain period of time, then we can get more out of you guys. Bhubesi Pride Foundation knows more about what’s happening here now, you can see the gaps in our development and get those gaps filled and get rugby going.
It’s been great for our local coaches to learn about genuine coaching techniques and methods. It’s been fantastic for them to be inspired.
For the kids it’s been fantastic. It’s inspired so many here; they’ve been trying to get [rugby] going in the schools so this is just fantastic.”
Interview with Toby Stolarow
“The tournament was more of a festival than a tournament day so it was all around a great success. The kids had fun because they were always engaged; when they weren’t playing a match, they were at a coaching station playing kick tennis or warming up or smashing into tackle pads!”