Cape Town - The SARU coaching education department has been praised by union president, Oregan Hoskins, following a record-breaking year.
In total 13 656 coaches (including 1 040 women) have now completed either the Level 1, 2 or 3 coaching programmes of World Rugby (formerly the IRB) under the auspices of SARU. Hoskins said the totals were more than any other rugby playing nation that delivers World Rugby courses.
“An enormous amount of work goes on behind the scenes to develop coaches and officials in South Africa,” said Hoskins. “The coaching department in conjunction with member unions and World Rugby delivers thousands of courses in a number of areas across the country and these figures make that very clear.”
The department has also accredited 1 089 Level 1 and Level 2 Sevens coaches (including 171 women) - also more than any other nation - while the referees’ education department has accredited the greatest number of Level 1, 2 and 3 officials (3 260) in XVs and Level 1 and 2 in Sevens officiating (155) in World Rugby.
SARU has the largest number of World Rugby Educators and more than twice as many South Africans (1 163) completed World Rugby’s online Rugby First Aid module than any other nation.
World Rugby Chairperson Bernard Lapasset praised SARU’s work: “Rugby is experiencing unprecedented growth as we reach out, engage and inspire new players and audiences around the world.”
“Sustainability in terms of coaching and education underpins this growth and SARU should be commended for their dedication in training and accrediting record numbers of coaches in order that more men, women and children can enjoy rugby in all its forms.”
Hoskins added: “In all, almost 32 000 South Africans have undergone online or Face-to-Face training in some aspect of coaching, officiating or player welfare in programmes designed by World Rugby and delivered or promoted by SARU.”
“I’d like to thank all the educators and trainers at SARU and at the provincial unions for their hard work and dedication in facilitating and delivering such a volume of rugby expertise. The benefits to young players in particular are enormous and these kinds of numbers are critical for the future of well-managed and safe rugby in the future.”
In addition, SARU accredited 16 164 coaches and referees on the BokSmart national rugby safety programme - without which an official is not allowed to operate - to bring to 60 138 the number of currently accredited BokSmart coaches and referees in South Africa.
SARU also introduced 24 000 primary schoolchildren to the sport as part of the World Rugby designed, ‘Get Into Rugby’ programme.
“The days of only needing to have played the game to coach it or having a better understanding of the Laws than your mate to referee it are long gone,” said Hoskins. “The ordinary, unpaid rugby men and women who have undertaken these courses and assessments are the bedrock of the game and I thank them for their involvement.”