Engen and SA Rugby back Get Into Rugby’s Valke Rugby Union Blitz Festival

The 2021 Valke Rugby Union Blitz Festival kicks off on September 24

23 September 2021 - 08:00
Springbok women's rugby player Piwokuhle Nyanda.
Springbok women's rugby player Piwokuhle Nyanda.
Image: Gallo Images

As the official Get into Rugby (GIR) development partner, in collaboration with the SA Rugby Union (Saru), Engen will be supporting young rugby players when the 2021 Valke Rugby Union Blitz Festival kicks off on Heritage Day on September 24.

GIR forms part of Saru’s strategy to grow the game and encourage players of all ages to try, play and stay in rugby. It's a grassroots initiative spread across all nine provinces and aims to support young people and discover raw talent. 

“As a longtime supporter of sports development, Engen is proud to back an initiative such as GIR because it will empower our young people with the skills, confidence and self-esteem to chart their own paths, for their families, communities and for their country,” says Bulela Mkandawire, Engen’s brand and sponsorship manager.

The 2021 Valke Rugby Union Blitz Festival is being held on Heritage Day to foster social cohesion and “South Africanness” among the 160 young players, who will be drawn from across the socioeconomic spectrum. 

And while GIR is certainly about rugby and discovering the rich talent we have in the country, it is also about life skills, leadership and teamwork as well as hard work, dedication and discipline, says Mkandawire.  

“In a country with among the highest inequality in the world, the learning of these important skills will help support SA’s young people to find their place in a complex and competitive world.”

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander, says the organisation is committed to playing its role in helping uplift the young people. “There is a wealth of untapped talent in the country waiting to be discovered and when it is, gems like Lusanda Dumke, Makazole Mapimpi, Lukhanyo Am and many others emerge,” says Alexander. “It's our objective to continue to hold the mantle of representation and inclusivity high to encourage and inspire children from different communities.” 

The 2021 Valke Rugby Union Blitz Festival will focus primarily on skills development, including ball handling, tag rugby and touch rugby techniques. It will be hosted in line with strict Covid-19 health and safety protocols.

Two Springbok women players, Maxine Engelbrecht and Edwaline Dickson, who have represented the Springbok Women's team and are part of the wider national training squad, Pulane Motloung, a former Springbok Women's player who is now head coach at the Gauteng Women’s Rugby Institute, as well as Piwokhule Nyande from the Mastercard Golden Lions Women, will be on the field to encourage and share their valuable knowledge.  

Also present will be representatives from the Gauteng departments of education, and sports, arts, culture and recreation; the City of Ekurhuleni’s department of sports, recreation, arts and culture; and the Gauteng Sports Confederation. 

This article was paid for by Engen.