Pride eyes: Pretoria
The Southern Africa Rugby Explorer (‘SARE‘) 2018 expedition kicked off with the Pride working from the Mamelodi township in Pretoria.
The children this week were a mix of U13s to U15s, with a separate rugby crèche set up for the high numbers of younger children who joined us throughout the week. The location we were working in immediately presented challenges, as without centralised schools to work through it was up to the Blue Bulls community coaches to round up the children onto the chilly playing grounds. However throughout the week the numbers increased as word spread around the township of the exciting rugby coaching that was on offer.
A clear indication of how popular this week’s sessions were was that the numbers increased from 100 on the first day to nearly 300 by the end of the week plus at least another 100 in the U9 crèche. The standard of play started high, with plenty of rugby experience on show. This enabled the new coaches to roll out plenty of high quality drills to challenge the players and linked well with the coaches’ aim of improving on the ground work of the Blue Bulls community coaches.
A particularly inspiring aspect of the tournament was the competitive nature shown by all the players. Despite having spent only a few hours in their teams, a fierce competition shone through on tournament day, most notably between two brothers who lined up on opposing sides of the U15s final.
Koketso and Kutlwano Mnisi, both 15, both dream of one day playing for a Super Rugby side. An element of competition emerges as Koketso says he will only play for the Lions (Johannesburg), whilst Kutlwano will only play for the Blue Bulls (Pretoria). This is so that they can, as Kutlwano says: “I will continue to challenge each other whilst having fun”. When asked about their time training with the Pride, Koketso said that he felt his skill set had grown as he learned more specifically how to “draw the defence”, whilst brother Kutlwano was excited to test out what he felt was a much improved defence against his brother.
One of the more prominent buddy coaches we worked with this week, Thabang Mawela, said that the BPF work this week had “inspired young people to play rugby, as seen when more young people came throughout the week to train”. When asked what he had learnt this week he said that he’d “learnt to respect others and the players as equals, whilst also leading by example”.
G4S was invaluable in helping to cater for the week by providing the necessary support on tournament day, as snacks at the end of each session were certainly a highlight of the day for the children!
Wendy Hardy, the G4S communication consultant, commented that this new Pride coaching location in Pretoria, close to G4S HQ:
“The location will help our relationship to continue to build year on year, as it will be more accessible for the G4S employees to see what goes on within the Pride. This way they will better understand the inner workings of the group and what we’re trying to achieve, which should lead to greater involvement in the future.”
Off the pitch, the Pride enjoyed exploring the local mall for supplies and generally settling as a group with all the new Pride members and surroundings. England’s [football] World Cup progress was closely followed by some – not our Scottish members quite so much!
The Pride also had the opportunity to gain additional coaching qualifications in the form of attending a Boksmart workshop delivered at Loftus Versfeld stadium, which focuses on safe practice in South African rugby. On the theme of education, the more experienced Pride members, Ryan, Warren and Brendan laid on a coach education workshop for the rest of the Pride, in order to help us further prepare to impart our expertise to the other coaches we will meet on our travels.
Saturday brought a farewell to Pride member Warren Kearney who’d been with the team for 3 months in Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, and we celebrated at the Bulls vs Jaguares game, again at at Loftus Versfeld.
To conclude the week, and especially the exceptionally well organised tournament on the Friday, our quote of the week comes from Vince Lombardi:
“The achievements of an organisation are the results of the combined effort of each individual.”