Today marks five years since our Connect Sports Academy youngsters took their first steps in competitive rugby.
Invited to take part in a sevens competition at the Atlantic Academy in Cape Town, our Under 13 and U11 squads got their first taste of contact rugby – and they haven’t looked back since.
Now in their senior and U16 years of rugby respectively, the vast majority of them remain a core part of our academy and well on the way to becoming professional young adults.
Several have gone on to receive high school scholarships in Cape Town, as well as representing Western Province in both the 15s and sevens formats on the national stage, including Ilitha ‘Mister’ Ntinini (main picture, above).
Others continue to make the most of regular training sessions and fixtures and will do so in 2020, coronavirus lockdown permitting.
It’s all part of our ambition to create consistent access to quality resources and opportunities for young people.
We began with mass participation sessions on a field in Makhaza, Khayelitsha, introducing the kids to the power of sport through mini rugby and touch rugby.
Remarkably, from such humble beginnings, it is the progress of our initial crop, as young people as much as rugby players, that has led us to set up our own high performance centre and take our work to the next level.
Our commitment is to see these trailblazers and the aspiring young professionals that have joined our academy since through to the adult world.
Whether they go on to careers in professional sport, to further education or into the working world, we’ll continue to walk side by side with them as they unlock their full potential.
Here’s to the next five years and beyond!
Rising through rugby
If you or your company can help our athletes fulfill their potential on and off the rugby field, we’d love to hear from you so please get in touch.
Connect is a registered non-profit company and can issue a Section 18(A) certificate for South African donations.
You can also donate from the UK right here, with Gift Aid applicable to all donations.