The under 13s held a 7s rugby tournament on Sunday 1st October which saw 14 teams playing fast, running rugby. Jordi Murphy was on hand to talk to the boys and hand out trophies. We were delighted with the support and positive feedback from participating clubs. Our thanks to those who helped pull it together, including Conor Cleary, along with the referees and pitch co-ordinators.
We were proud to have special guests participating in the tournament: a team of 9 boys from the Tshuma Stingers Rugby Club of Johannesburg. Most of the boys were from some of the poorest and most densely populated townships in Johannesburg, places where children struggle to escape a cycle of poverty, drugs and violence. The Tshuma Stingers club is developing rugby at a grass roots level, drawing players from a range of backgrounds, including the poorest townships, under the guidance of Trevor van den Berg, an old school friend of David van Zuydam. Rugby is helping build discipline, self-belief and hope for children from the townships.
We sponsored these boys to come to Dublin to give them a tangible reward for their hard work and to show them a life that might be possible outside of the townships, helping motivate them in their rugby development and studies. But we also gained so much from the experience ourselves. The boys stayed in our homes, and quickly built strong relationships with our families. These are great kids, who through no fault of their own were born into a life that most of us cannot imagine. They deserve opportunities, and hopefully they will get some lasting benefit from this experience. It certainly was unforgettable and enriching for us as hosts.
The boys stayed in Dublin for 5 days, enjoying a full itinerary thanks to the generosity of many local organisations, who gave their support without hesitation: Investec, Willow Park Junior School, Bank of Ireland, Arthur Cox, Viking Splash tours, Eddie Rockets, Skills Zone and Wild Wicklow Tours. Also thanks to the host families and those who helped organise the weekend, including David van Zuydam and Rachel Sullivan. The boys went home tired, but having had a great experience.
We believe this initiative reflects the ethos of our sport: mutual respect, fellowship, hard work and heart. It is the second time in succession that the club has hosted a team from South Africa, and we hope the initiative will continue into the future.
Head Coach, Under 13s