Ruggas.co.za will undertake a scouting tour to Europe from the 08th until the 23rd December 2019 to open up new opportunities for talented school leavers who were not contracted by the local Unions for the 2020 year.
Ruggas.co.za has taken hands with the new exciting venture of Len Olivier from RugbyTravel to ensure the success of this tour. Len has extensive knowledge of European rugby and conditions and also organised several tours to France successfully. He played several years in France and also coached in South Africa for several years.
With the cancellation of the u/19 Currie Cup competition 50% or even more boys who would normally be contracted by Unions for the u/19 Currie Cup will now find it extremely difficult to get proper exposure to be selected in the Union squads.
Varsity Young Guns will still be played at the u/20 level but it is expected that the Unions will use the Varsity Cup competition to ensure that their contracted players will get game time, thereby almost completely shutting the door on non contracted students. Club rugby will, unfortunately, it seems more and more concentrate on senior rugby with the junior age groups not getting a lot of attention.
Rugby Academies are currently contacting a lot of players and their parents with the costs varying from R 120 000 to R 200 000 per year. Unfortunately, Ruggas.co.za have seen many appearing just to disappear after a while. Admittingly in South Africa, there are a few good ones doing good work but, unfortunately, none of them can guarantee provincial exposure.
Who is eligible for selection? – All school leavers with a maximum age of 19 who is not contracted by a Union. There will be no quotas and only the best will be taken on tour.
How big will the squad be? – A maximum of 40 boys will go on tour.
How will selection work? – A selection panel who is spread across South Africa will nominate boys for selection on an ongoing basis. Boys on the list will immediately be disqualified as/if they sign contracts as the year progresses. The final team will be announced after the u/18 Craven Week was played.
Who is the coaching staff? – Tjaart vd Walt, Ruggas.co.za’s 2018 coach of the year will be joining us on tour with hopefully a forward coach if the finances can be secured. Tour organiser Len Olivier who is an established coach will also form an integral part of the coaching staff with his knowledge of European conditions invaluable.
Who will join the touring squad? – This tour was initiated by scouts and they will join the squad in Europe to assess the boys on the playing field as well as off the field. Scouts from the USA, France, Ireland and the UK have expressed interest with their names to be published as they confirm.
Preparation? – Boys will be monitored on a continuous basis with trial matches on the 24th of Augustus in Cape Town. The final squad will convene on the 1st of December 2019 at Camp Discovery just outside of Pretoria for a preparation camp before they depart on the 7th of December 2019 for Europe.
Who will their opposition be? – Top teams from Europe including some International age groups squads. As the opponents are finalised they will be announced.
How many games will be played? – Five games will be played.
Costs? – Unclear at this stage but Ruggas.co.za is already in talks to help carry the burden.
Ruggas.co.za is not claiming that this is the answer to the desperate boys and parents calls I received recently. But hopefully, some boys will get a chance in Europe and one day come back to South Africa to make a difference at the top level.