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UMTATA, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 11: Pierre Spies during the SARU coaching symposium at Mthatha Rotary Sport Ground on July 11, 2013 in Umtata, South Africa. (Photo by Richard Huggard/Gallo Images)

UMTATA, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 11: Pierre Spies during the SARU coaching symposium at Mthatha Rotary Sport Ground on July 11, 2013 in Umtata, South Africa. (Photo by Richard Huggard/Gallo Images)
 
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) and the Eastern Cape government have joined forces to fly a delegation of top SARU officials along with senior Springbok players to Umthatha for a coaching symposium and clinic that is the first of its kind in the region.

The coaching symposium and clinic follows the announcement that the Eastern Cape government is investing in the development of the SA Women's Sevens team over the next three years in the build-up to the 2016 Olympics. During this time, the Eastern Cape government will make funding available for the team to undergo training and physical and mental conditioning at the Eastern Cape Academy of Sport where the team will live over the course of the next three years.

In acknowledgement of this commitment, SARU is sending top members from its high performance department with a mobile coaching unit, as well as current Springbok players to Umthatha to share their knowledge and experience with young players and coaches from the region.
 
A total of 50 rugby coaches from Umthatha and the surrounding areas, who are coaching at both a schoolboy and a club level, have been invited to take part in the coaching symposium that kicks off this Wednesday. The symposium will be lead by ex-Springbok and current general manager of high performance teams at SARU, Rassie Erasmus.
 
At the end of the coaching symposium, all the coaches attending will be given hardcopy info packs as well as DVDs with all the day's presentations on them to refer back to as and when they need to.
 
The following day, a coaching clinic will kick off in the morning at the Rotary Stadium in Ngangelizwe Township where 50 boys and girls identified by the local union will attend with their respective coaches for a one-on-one morning coaching session with Springbok coaches and players.
 
For many of the local children who will attend the coaching clinic, rubbing shoulders with their Springbok heroes and spending the morning being coached by them is a dream come true and one that will hopefully take their commitment to and passion for the game to new heights.
 
"Though this is the first time SARU and the Eastern Cape government are hosting a coaching symposium and clinic of this kind in Umthatha, we see it as an important step forward in terms of rugby development in the region," said SARU GM of commercial and marketing, Andy Marinos.

UMTATA, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 11: Trevor Nyakane and John McFarland during the SARU coaching symposium at Mthatha Rotary Sport Ground on July 11, 2013 in Umtata, South Africa. (Photo by Richard Huggard/Gallo Images) 

UMTATA, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 11: Trevor Nyakane and John McFarland during the SARU coaching symposium at Mthatha Rotary Sport Ground on July 11, 2013 in Umtata, South Africa. (Photo by Richard Huggard/Gallo Images)
 
"The symposium and clinic, along with the generous sponsorship of the SA Women's Sevens team that the Eastern Cape government has committed to, are important initiatives when it comes to safeguarding the future of rugby in South Africa. The Eastern Cape is widely regarded as the birthplace of black rugby in SA and as such, SARU is focussing on developing the abundance of natural talent from this region so that more great Eastern Cape players such as the Ndungane twins and Lwazi Mvovo are given an opportunity to rise up through the ranks right from a grassroots level to hopefully one day represent the Springboks," concludes Marinos.