The three-year cycle for the Coca-Cola Schools of Excellence class of 2015 came to an exciting end at Arcadia Secondary School in Port Elizabeth this past weekend in what marked the last of rugby three rugby festivals since June.
The Central festival, which featured six schools – Leseding, Kutlwanong, Tsotsoletso, Sehunelo, Concordia, and Homevale High Schools – was hosted at the Bronville Community Stadium in Welkom in June.
This was followed a week later by the Gauteng festival at Queens High School in Johannesburg, where 10 schools from the Limpopo Blue Bulls, Blue Bulls, Pumas, Golden Lions, Valke and Leopards rugby unions took to the field.
The Eastern Cape festival, which took place this past weekend, included eight schools – Ndzondelelo, Chatty, Arcadia, Beaufort West, Gerrit du Plessis, Haarlem, Humansdorp and Solomon Mahlangu – with the event bringing down the curtain on the three-year cycle for the current crop of players.
The Coca-Cola Schools of Excellence programme, which is facilitated by SA Rugby’s Rugby Department, was launched in 2012 with the objective to provide a functional and measurable rugby assistance and skills development programme, which could also serve as a pathway for the players to the Coca-Cola Youth Week tournaments.
A total of 40 schools participated in the last cycle of the project in partnership with the respective rugby unions’ development departments and officers.
In the first year of the programme, capacity building, sending coaches on courses and the supply of equipment were the focus areas, while the players were the focus in the second year, with the main elements being conditioning education and working with the players to improve their fitness levels.
The final year of the programme, in turn, zoomed in on the on-field aspects and getting the children to play as much rugby as possible.