Willem Strauss with Marco van Staden Future Blue Bulls

Get Ready for the FUTURE BLUE BULLS Festival of Youth Rugby!

The President of the Blue Bulls Rugby Union announced the Future Blue Bulls Youth Rugby initiative a few weeks ago. The tournament is now a reality and will take place from 19 to 22 June 2019 at Warmbad Hoërskool, Warmbad Laerskool as well as the Zwartkop Adventure Camp in Bela-Bela, Limpopo.

The purpose of the tournament is to identify rugby talent and create an additional pipeline from players who fell through the cracks after school in the past due to an ineffective & expensive contract system that often saw players becoming bench warmers for their contracted period at Rugby Unions. Players and coaches will now be effectively exposed to the provincial and professional structures of the Vodacom Blue Bulls and afford them opportunities within the club structures and tertiary institutions of the Blue Bulls Rugby Union.

According to Mr Willem Strauss, President of the Blue Bulls Rugby Union, the tournament will bridge the gap between players and the Blue Bulls community club rugby brands which will elevate talented player profiles who didn’t receive exposure at mainstream selection opportunities like the Craven Week, etc.

“Vodacom Bulls Stars like Lood de Jager, Marco van Staden and Lizo Gqoboka never played representative rugby at school level. As a matter of fact, Lizo Gqoboka only started playing rugby at the age of 19”, said Strauss. The Future Blue Bulls Tournament and the Volcano Super Cup Rugby u/20 League are important tools in broadening the base of junior rugby talent within the Blue Bulls Rugby region.

With fewer players that will be contracted, this new pipeline will create an additional exposure platform for tomorrow’s rugby talent. Strauss also added that the players being scouted at school level played an integral part in recruiting players to the Vodacom Bulls structures over the last couple of decades, and that this system should not only be nurtured, but also broadened with initiatives like the Future Blue Bulls Tournament and Volcano Super Cup Rugby u/20 League, which caters for the late developers, etc.

The Future Blue Bulls Tournament will focus on players in the u/11 to u/19 age groups as well as an Academy Cup division. Private academies based at the Blue Bulls’ professional clubs will further continue to develop players for junior representative teams as they’ve been doing in the past.

For the first time in Blue Bulls amateur rugby history, our 52 contracted junior players were allocated to playing rugby at our top clubs currently participating in the Volcano Super Cup Rugby u/20 League.

The FBB Tournament will further feature high profile Blue Bulls coaches conducting coaching clinics and will also be scouting for talent during the event.

Matches will take place on Wednesday, 19 June, Thursday, 20 June and Saturday, 22 June. The tournament will take place in the form of a community sports festival featuring entertainment for the whole family with tons of prizes to be won.

According to Mr Paul Liddle, Headmaster of Warmbad Hoërskool, the Future Blue Bulls Tournament promises to be a massive injection for sport in the Bela-Bela region and will create much-needed opportunities for boys representing the country districts.

The tournament is expected to attract more than 1200 participants for the event!

Story by JAY J BOTES

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