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March 2021 1st edition

Empowering women to become rugby coaches

Written by Allison Cooper

Women’s rugby is often overlooked, despite the wealth of local talent in South Africa. The South African Rugby Legends Association (SARLA) aims to change perceptions and build the sport from the ground up, at coaching level.

SARLA and SA Rugby recently hosted the first World Rugby Level One Training Course, exclusively for women, at Newlands in Cape Town.

The training session was part of SARLA’s mission to empower 600 women to become coaches, with a strong focus on the importance of giving women opportunities to upskill in school and club environments.SARLA's mission in 2021 is to develop and upskill 600 female rugby coaches across the country.

“Rugby has always been a big part of my life and it’s such an honour for me to be involved in the sport. I learnt to be more assertive and to voice my opinions on the field,” says Jordan Konnight from Milnerton, who participated in the first course.

“There is so much untapped potential in women’s rugby. For SARLA to empower 600 women as coaches is amazing… We can’t wait to transfer this knowledge to our communities,” she adds.

Training courses were also held in the South Western Districts and Boland in March.

The courses signal a renewed focus on professional women’s rugby as the Springbok Women prepare for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand this September. SA Rugby’s first high performance manager for women’s rugby, Lynne Cantwell, will join the team for the tournament.

 “Quality coaching is a much-needed commodity in rugby. We want to see a long-term impact on the sport and get the message out there that women’s rugby in South Africa is world-class,” says Gavin Varejes, the president of SARLA.

SARLA’s other development projects focus on young players in disadvantaged communities who have traditionally been excluded from structured rugby training and grassroots level competition. For more information, contact SARLA at 031 312 0444.