The 2019 U16 Grant Khomo Week saw the launch of the South African Rugby Legends’ (SARLA), Iqhawe XV, a national squad consisting of the top players identified at SARLA’s 2018 Carfind.co.za Iqhawe Week. This is considered an incredible feat for SARLA’s grassroots rugby programme, VUKA, as it’s the first time a development team of this nature has been included in the prestigious high-performance rugby week line-up.
A squad of 23 players was announced after the 2018 u/15 Iqhawe Week that was hosted at the Bill Jardine Stadium in Johannesburg. Of the original squad, eight boys were scouted by mainstream rugby schools and were not available to represent the Iqhawe XV at the 2019 u/16 Grant Khomo Week with most of the eight boys present at the u/16 Grant Khomo week representing their adopted provinces.
Of the current Iqhawe squad an additional three boys were identified by schools and offered scholarships during the 2019 Grant Khomo Week.
The 2019 team was coached by former SA Rugby Legend, the Springbok, SA 7s and Cheetah loose forward, Kabamba Floors. Floors said of the event “Our boys exceeded all expectations, winning 2 out of 3 games, with their one loss being really narrow adding “We only had two days of training and I am extremely proud of their achievements.”
The Iqhawe XV Team won 2 of their 3 games; losing to the Everest Wealth Pumas but winning the hearts of all supporters. It was an enthralling game with a total of 10 tries, 4 from the Iqhawe side and 6 from the Pumas. Wednesday’s second match saw the team take on Namibia, with a score of 23-20 and a penalty awarding the win to the Iqhawe XV team and Friday’s final match against Border Country Districts was dominated by high-energy and exciting action, with a final score of 45-7.
Kabamba shared a moving final word with the Iqhawe XV team members at the end of the tournament, telling them that they should be incredibly proud to be representing SARLA's rugby development initiatives and that they should fully embrace the experience and focus on having a positive mindset to secure their future success.
Stefan Terblanche, SARLA CEO, proudly stated that “We’re exceptionally proud of the progress we’ve made through our dedicated work, with programmes such as VUKA, to the development of rugby talent across South Africa” further adding that “Grant Khomo Week is a great example of how we are succeeding at our goal of providing ongoing opportunities for rugby development and recognition.”