Rugby

East London 10s caps off successful sporting year for SA

2019-12-23 15:24
Tera Mtembu (Kamva Somdyala)
Tera Mtembu (Kamva Somdyala)

East London - South Africa has had a relatively successful year on the sporting front - with the exception maybe of the Proteas and Cricket South Africa, who, up until a few weeks ago, seemed like they didn’t know what to do with themselves on both a playing and administrative level.

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It was the codes of netball, soccer and rugby that would give us something to shout about though.

The Proteas netball team reached the bronze medal playoff of the Netball World Cup in Liverpool this year, losing out to the England Roses.

Bafana Bafana did what many thought was the impossible when they stunned Africa Cup of Nations hosts Egypt to reach the quarter-finals of this year’s continental showpiece, while Banyana Banyana participated in their first FIFA Women’s World Cup.

And when nary a betting person gave the Springboks a chance of winning the Rugby World Cup, the Boks showed us that they had other ideas, beating England in a stunning final in Japan, eliciting a feel good mood across the country.

So when the annual 10s rugby and netball series descended onto East London, in the Eastern Cape this past weekend, the temptation was to conclude that it was due to the recent Boks’ exploits in Japan.

“The majority of us players - who represent various teams across Super Rugby - come from the Eastern Cape,” said Tera Mtembu, ambassador for the series, adding, “funny enough, we had this idea before the Rugby World Cup”, seemingly putting to bed that the idea to bring it to the Eastern Cape came as a result of the Boks’ exploits in Japan.

“This (Eastern Cape) is the hub of rugby. Rugby in the province will never die. Hopefully this is the start of something amazing.”

While bad weather threatened the turn-out on Saturday, thousands of people showed up to the event - which was also graced by World Cup winners Lukhanyo Am and Makazole Mapimpi.

What the inclement weather did do was disrupt the netball tournament - with the playoffs being cancelled - resulting in top group winners in the premier and social league respectively being named overall winners.

On the rugby side of matters, the Old Dalian Union team went down to Abantwana Bomgquba in the premier league final with Ubumbo winning the social league final.

Before the tournament proper, players hosted a rugby coaching clinic for young kids from across the city on Friday. 

The message from new addition to the Sharks’ playing stock, Sikhumbuzo Notshe (on the coaching clinic) was simple: “Hope”.

“The kids must be able to see that they too can be the next Am or Mapimpi ... I heard a kid asking Lukhanyo why he passed the ball ... these are the stories they want to hear,” Notshe says, adding that “I was one of them growing up in Nyanga East in Cape Town, meeting my heroes (at the time).

The social sports event was healthy with competition with 20 rugby teams having participated and 12 on the netball side.

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The event was attended by familiar rugby faces in Makazole Mapimpi, Lukhanyo Am, Scarra Ntubeni and Aphelele Fassi (Kamva Somdyala)

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Cape Town-based Ubumbo Legends won the social league trophy at the 10s series (Kamva Somdyala)

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