Pro Rugby back – Workshops carry on

This has certainly been a good news week for rugby, not only did the President announce the change from lockdown level two to one but SA Rugby also formally announced the resumption for professional rugby matches for 2020 going into 2021.

The teams will now go into a double round of action including the Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup over the next sixteen weeks. The first round will see our DHL Stormers up against six other provincial sides from 26 September, and the team with the most log points will then go into the Currie Cup from 28 November up until January next year.

In addition, SA Rugby also announced a five-team Provincial Under-21 competition between the Blue Bulls, Free State, Golden Lions, Sharks and Western Province. This is great news for our u21 side as for many of the players this will be their final season u21 with no less than thirteen in our squad coming from our club structures.

This is great news for WP Rugby fans as we know that a number of matches will happen at DHL Newlands with most of the matches televised.

This week saw the Northern and City leagues attend the media, marketing and sponsorship workshop and with next week being the final week of the first module being the Paarl and Simonsberg regions. Any clubs that have not registered yet should do this now by sending an email to dtitus@wprugby.co.za. Clubs are reminded to nominate up to three members per club.

The sessions have been well attended and have certainly offered some new ideas with a major point made that club leadership structures should delegate more often and that the MMS team function forms part of a separate focused structure which reports to the management.

Many of our clubs have over the past few months increased their engagement with their past player’s structures, quite often referred to as the “Old Boys” This has very much come to light since the COVID lockdown impact which has seen these structures lend a hand at the club during these difficult times. It’s exciting to see that the clubs are building on this in order to grow their past player’s supporters club.

In addition to this, we’ve also seen an active engagement by some of our clubs to increase the number of women and girls participation. This again stems from the fact that some of the women’s teams have actively engaged in the outreach projects at their clubs.

Our WP Rugby referee recruitment continues and clubs are reminded to nominate a minimum of two delegates to join the WP Rugby referees structures. Applicants are reminded to complete the pre-requisite courses in preparation of the World Rugby Level 1 course on the World Rugby website, the courses are 1. Rugby Ready, 2. Introduction to Rugby Refereeing, 3.Laws of the Game and 4. COVID19 Return to Play. Once the course is completed a certificate is generated, this certificate needs to be sent to the recruitmentrefs@wprugby.co.za

The tentative date for the first World Rugby Referees Level 1 course is on 17 October 2020

Next week sees Jerome Paarwater and Nazeem Adams go into the final week of the WP Rugby Level 2.5 course as the coaches now do their final presentation. The presentation includes their learnings from the past few weeks and also their own unique plans at their school structures


Clubs stay busy and keep reaching out

Rugby remains inactive as per government regulation with only professional allowed to train, but our players are now at least able to do contact training and this has already made a tremendous positive difference both mentally and physically.

We still await further announcements from SA Rugby on the return to competition but our players are happy to be playing rugby again during training. This week saw our players take a break from training as we know that if the proposed plan gets the go-ahead it will be a very busy time until next January.

On the club front, our clubs continue to remain active on several fronts. As we have seen several of our clubs are still busy with outreach project as a manner of supporting their players or those in need in their areas. These projects include NGO partnerships, team initiative and individual initiatives.

Some examples include St Georges reaching out to close on five hundred people weekly, including a recent event for women’s day where their senior ladies and women’s staff received gifts chocolates and a card.

Eersterivier did a Sunday lunch at Kleinvlei together with their Women’s rugby team last week and Caledonian Roses has been reaching out to local schools with a focus on girls schools. Paarl Rangers and Vineyards have been busy with soup kitchens in the Paarl Region and Collegians has also been busy with soup kitchens to help more than one thousand people weekly.

Albions RFC juniors and seniors went to Rusthof home for the elderly in Paarl to support the residents by helping in the garden this past Sunday. This again showcasing the variety of incredible initiatives our members have.

For many of our clubs, these projects are not new and we commend everyone for their contribution as this truly showcases the true value of club rugby.

In addition to the outreach projects, it’s fantastic to see that some clubs have turned their attention to their facilities. These clubs have engaged their players, old boys and local fans to help and sees a wide variety of skills deployed by those that are so willing to commit their time and resources. In some cases, we’ve seen bricklaying, painting and fencing skills as well as individuals using their own vehicles to deliver sand, cement and other materials. We’ve also seen that some clubs have started slightly bigger construction such as levelling the surface of the playing field with a view to improving the grass layout. These efforts bode well for the facilities future and we look forward to our players return back to improved venues.

Some of our clubs have also begun club activity extensions outside of the immediate rugby activity but yet with a crossover in terms of training and additional benefits to their members. These include setting up functional outdoor gym facilities which can be constructed from basic materials.

With gyms and restaurants now allowed to operate under the regulated conditions, we also see some clubs opening their doors for business and although it’s not business, as usual, every bit helps.

Our players and clubs continue to engage outside of the training arena with many doing beach runs, mountain runs and even some cross-fit training.

Last week saw us conclude our second week of online media, sponsorship and marketing training with Super League C and the City League. The workshops have been enjoyed by all and there seems to be a real sense of value derived from the sessions. Each club has been asked to submit up to three members to fulfil the role at the club with a view to building the future of that club for a committed period. It was emphasised that dedicated individuals with a determined focus are required and that club management should fully support these individuals.


Contact training allowed – Ref recruitment drive on the go

The big news this week is SA Rugby’s announcement that franchise teams will resume full contact training as from next week. This is one step closer to match action, for which we hope to see an announcement soon. Our professional players have in the meantime stayed active with non-contact training. We await further announcements on return to competition.

Our clubs have begun the enrolment process for the forthcoming workshops which begins with the first module on 1 September. Super League A and B are first in the queue with four sessions spread over approximately four months. Each session happens online on Tuesdays from 7 pm to 8 pm.

The modules have deliberately been kept to only one hour to preserve data and allow for a more focussed approach. The modules are designed in such a manner that once the first module is completed the attendants can then return to their club structures to implement the learnings ready for the second module.

Each club can sign up to as many as three candidates from their club which allows for deeper education at club level and will see more members certified after completion. Much like we currently see coaches and referees certified by WP Rugby, this model now provides that candidates will in future be able to join other club structures as certified WP Rugby marketeers.

Our WP Rugby referee recruitment continues and clubs are reminded to nominate a minimum of two delegates to join the WP Rugby referees structures. There are currently two options, these being Standby Referees who will be available and appointed to their club’s home games and Active Referees which are registered members of the Western Province Rugby Referee Society (WPRRS) and graded according to their fitness and exam marks.

Applicants are reminded to complete the pre-requisite courses in preparation of the World Rugby Level 1 course on the World Rugby website, the courses are 1. Rugby Ready, 2. Introduction to Rugby Refereeing, 3.Laws of the Game and 4. COVID19 Return to Play. Once the course is completed a certificate is generated, this certificate needs to be sent to recruitmentrefs@wprugby.co.za

The tentative dates for World Rugby Referees courses are as follows

  1. Level 1 course on 17 October 2020
  2. Level 1 course on 24 October 2020
  3. Level 1 course on 14 November 2020
  4. Level 1 course on 21 November 2020

Joining the referee’s structure is a fantastic way to serve your club and stay involved in the game of rugby. Candidates are required to complete the laws exam which is free on the world rugby website and thereafter the BokSmart programme.

Each course attendee receives a Video-based instructional set, together with a BokSmart Toolkit manual, which covers all the essential points on paper, and a Concussion guide, that would assist coaches and referees on-field to make appropriate decisions.

Coach Jerome Paarwater and his team this week had DHL Stormers forwards coach Rito Hlongwane present to our coaches on the WP Rugby 2.5 course with a big focus on ball contestation and next week sees the course focus on sports psychology.


United Way helps feed six thousand, WP Rugby education rolls on

Last week’s food drive at WP Rugby has re-ignited the connections amongst our clubs, professional players and fans, and with the recent government announcement that we have now moved to level two, there seems to be an increase in spirit.

After last week’s United Way supported parcel packing and collection of more than one thousand parcels our clubs have this week been busy with distribution at ground level. Each parcel which can feed a family of six for a month has helped the recipient clubs with their individual food drives. Click here to see the video of our clubs and the DHL Stormers at Newlands working with United Way.

We know that many of our club structures remain busy with outreach projects and that all will take any support they can get. Some clubs have partnered with a local business or NGO’s and many individuals have found ways to support in their personal capacity. Please keep us informed of your projects by sending an email to ffelton@wprugby.co.za

This month is women’s month and we celebrate our WP Rugby women and girls. Many of the food parcels last week were delivered specifically to women and girls at Avonwood.

We’re exceptionally proud to see our WP Rugby Women’s team captain Babalwa Latsha nominated for the G-Sport awards 2020. Babalwa who is also the Springbok Women’s Team Captain has been nominated in three categories being Global Woman in Sport, Athlete of the Year and Woman of the year. The winners will be announced on 31 August and we hold thumbs for her as she is a true inspiration for women in sport.

The week also saw some of our WP Rugby Women’s Team management together with coach Laurian Johannes Haupt attend the Western Cape Provincial Sport Confederation Women and Girls commission online workshop. The session presented by SASCOC head of high performance and clinical psychologist Dr Debbie Alexander focused on sports psychology for women.

Coach Jerome Paarwater, Nazeem Adams and Wilfred Cupido this week held the second of their WP Rugby 2.5 workshops with the school’s coaches. The session this week presented by Cape Rugby TV presenter JP Naude focussed on online presentation and the dynamics of coaching in the future, with a strong emphasis on the fact that future coaching will see much more digital coaching. Next week will see DHL Stormers forwards coach Rito Hlongwane discuss forward play. We look forward to shortly hosting the Super League Coaches which qualified in the first course when they receive their certificates at a handover ceremony at DHL Newlands.

Our professional rugby training sessions continue weekly but still in non-contact format and we eagerly await the formal announcement, not only for the resumption of contact training but also for the first scheduled professional rugby fixtures. At the moment we still anticipate mid-September.

Our members are reminded of the fantastic benefits with African Bank and to enter the competition to win a signed DHL Stormers Rugby Ball and go in the draw to win a Signed DHL Stormers Jersey.

The process is very easy, sign up for any of the African Bank services by simply sending the word “Hi” to 060 094 2028 on WhatsApp. Follow the prompts and then choose the number “1” for WP Rugby.


All hands on deck and reaching out

This past week saw yet another wave of activity at WP Rugby, both on and off the field as our professional players prepare for their tentative return to play next month, and we’ve had all hands on deck with our outreach projects.

The week saw us partner with international NGO United Way as we prepared more than one thousand food and support parcels during the week. Our u21 players joined at DHL Newlands on Friday to help with packing in preparation for a drop off in Elsies Rivier at The Noordelikkes RFC on the same day and further distribution from the stadium on Saturday.

The drop off in Elsies Rivier saw in excess of two hundred parcels dropped off to various women in the area in support of women’s month and several children from neighbouring schools and juniors from the WP Rugby HUBS programme which included bags of rice, assorted fruit and vegetables, breakfast cereal, sanitary pads and a variety of other essential items handed out. We were thrilled to have our WP Rugby Women’s team Captain Babalwa Latsha, team coach Laurian Johannes Haupt and WP Rugby Executive committee member Mrs Nadeema Khan in attendance.

Saturday saw more than eighty clubs arrive at DHL Newlands in vehicles at scheduled times to collect food parcels which were loaded in a drive-through fashion one at a time. Each club will now go and distribute in their local neighbourhood.

The Newlands collection saw club members overjoyed to see each other on a day normally earmarked for match day activity. It was fantastic to see club members catch up and share stories and to see the DHL Stormers and members of the WP Rugby Executive committee arrive to lend a hand with loading the parcels.

Although we are awaiting news of the exact date, the first Currie Cup fixture is expected to be played in mid-September behind closed doors and with other approved regulations in place. Our Currie Cup teams have been back at training at the HPC for the past few weeks and although training can be somewhat awkward under the current training restrictions our players are in high spirits.

Coach Jerome Paarwater together with Nazeem Adams (manager education) and Wilfred Cupido (manager schools high performance) have now moved onto the next phase of our WP Rugby 2.5 coaching course. This phase sees more than twenty coaches from the WP schools structures including our Craven week teams doing the online workshops for the next six weeks. The ball started rolling this week with planning and next week starts with media education after which the coaches will follow the same programme as the club coaches.

Jerome has identified the media session as a starter to prepare the participants digitally for easier engagement for the weeks ahead. The first course with the club rugby coaches has already born fruit as these coaches are now well versed in the art of online presentation and the manner of dealing with components such as home-based sound, lighting and connectivity. All of which are crucial to the success of the future coach.

Our online workshops are now scheduled to start on 25 August with the media, marketing and sponsorship workshops with the first module looking at the media infrastructure at club level. This includes brand identity, building your support team, communication segmentation and other components important to lay the foundation for an effective supporter’s club model.

Our members will shortly be sent a form to register up to three nominees from each club to attend the workshop. Registration is important so that we have the contact details of the attendees to provide further information and assist with scheduling. Each attendee will have an opportunity to complete a short questionnaire on the workshop content and will receive a digital and print WP Rugby certificate of attendance upon completion.

Clubs should begin considering their nominees as soon as possible, as the role of club media liaison, content manager or sponsorship manager is a volunteer position which requires commitment for the success of the clubs initiative. Each participant will be offered the opportunity to create some basic content for presentation and broadcast.


Clubs reaching out and professional rugby on the cards

The good news this week is the government approval for a return to play for professional rugby under certain conditions. The directions stipulate that contact training and matches can be played in empty stadiums, with limited people allowed to attend games. At this stage, the target is to see the first matches played in mid-September. This is fantastic news for WP Rugby and our professional players, who we know can’t wait to back on the field.

We have now concluded the online planning sessions with all our regions involving more than ninety clubs. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and our clubs seem quite excited for the digital workshops rollout.

Our first workshop commences shortly with the first module of the media, marketing and sponsorship models. The workshops will roll out over four sessions with two leagues or regions at a time and the first leg looking at the club framework. The framework module considers your club infrastructure such as volunteers, databases and brand identity prior to launching the sponsorship plans.

There is no doubt that the impact of COVID-19 is having a devastating effect and many are struggling. The WPRFU has partnered with United Way a local NGO with a global footprint to somewhat help our club structures support those in need in their communities. United Way is sponsoring one thousand parcels with each parcel able to support a family of six.

Nominated club delegates will be collecting their parcels at DHL Newlands on Saturday 15 August. The DHL Stormers will be present to hand out the parcels and we are sure that our members will be thrilled to be on the grass during these difficult times.

It’s been heart-warming to see many of our club structures reach out to their members and local communities with outreach projects in place. Some of these projects are partnered with local NGO’s and some as club initiatives driven by the club itself.

In some cases, clubs have food pot cooking projects in place which see clubs gathering various groceries to contribute to the pot. These pots quite often have the capacity to feed a multitude of individuals. While other club structures collect ingredients to make soup or sandwiches, which are handed out to those in need, in most cases near the club location by management, coaches and players.

It’s again heart-warming to see how many players have stayed active within their club structures to help with cooking or hand-out process where possible. Please keep us informed of your outreach projects by sending an email to ffelton@wprugby.co.za

We would like to thank our partners African Bank for joining us together with the DHL Stormers at Eersterivier RFC, where together with some of our players we handed out several food parcels as part of a local food drive.

This week saw a number of our club members sign up for the fantastic benefits with African Bank. Our members are reminded to enter the competition to win a signed DHL Stormers Rugby Ball and go in the draw to win a Signed DHL Stormers Jersey.

The process is very easy, sign up for any of the African Bank services by simply sending the word “Hi” to 060 094 2028 on WhatsApp. Follow the prompts and then choose the number “1” for WP Rugby.


Regional meetings and NGO partnerships rolling out

Last week saw the rollout of our first online regional meetings as we began our off-field activities for club structures to roll out our various administrative workshops.

We concluded online planning sessions with six of our zonal structures with a good turnout on the digital platform. These structures are different from the league structures and are based on residential and club locations. These segmented zones were originally structured to co-ordinate with zonal facilities managers which saw us hold physical meetings with our clubs based on their locations.

With the restriction on physical activity and the current suspension of club rugby play, the foreseeable future will see us engage weekly with a view to building capacity within our club structures. Our initial sessions will see workshops on media, marketing, sponsorship and lotto application support.

We understand that media is a vital component for the success of any sport structure and not only drives participation and sponsorship opportunity, but also keeps the members and fans engaged. In the media component, we will look at various forms of media such as mainstream media and social media, including popular platforms such as Facebook and Instagram at club level.

As sponsorship and marketing go hand in hand we will look at various methods of acquiring sponsorship and methods to apply at club level in order to create a value proposition that our members can take to market.

The window period for Lotto applications is open and our clubs will need to get their applications in soon before the applications are saturated, as we are sure that there will be a lot of applications. As such we will be rolling out Lotto applications workshops with the various zones.

The rules of the game and referee recruitment remains one of our focal points and we remind our clubs to submit at least two nominees to join the referee’s society. These applicants names can be sent to btheron@wprugby.co.za additionally you can send an SMS with the word “referee” to 33090 and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

The laws of the game online course is easily available and free of charge on the world rugby website (click here to access)

We are aware that our clubs are heading towards their annual general meetings and that these meetings require updated constitutions and that constitutional inclusions or amendments take time and must be adopted at the AGM. The next few weeks will see us working with our clubs on constitutional policy matters to facilitate their process.

Many of our clubs have increased their social outreach initiatives and some have now included support structures for their players. These initiatives are welcomed and are a fantastic way for clubs to show their value to members over and above physical activity. Many people are struggling under the current economic conditions and these club to player support initiatives go a long way towards reducing the burden on some of our members. Please keep us informed of your outreach projects by sending an email to ffelton@wprugby.co.za

We have partnered with United Way, a global NPO who made available food parcels. Clubs have been sent a communication on the procedure to qualify and the handover of the food parcels will take place on Saturday, 15 August 2020 at DHL Newlands Stadium. Each club will have a designated champion to collect the food parcels on behalf of their beneficiaries. We look forward to clubs sending queries on applications to dtitus@wprugby.co.za


Club planning and workshops to start soon

The good news on the rugby front is the return to training for our DHL Stormers. After four months of training on their own, the players are now back together on the field. These training activities are still guided by national regulations as approved by the government.

On the club rugby front, we are ever so proud of our clubs. This past week again saw several of our clubs continue with their outreach projects and this happening under very difficult conditions. Many clubs have support from their previous players and sponsors and this has allowed for the club management and players to follow through on the projects they are busy with.

In some cases clubs have tied up with local organisations which are currently active with outreach projects, this has allowed for these clubs to support according to the needs of the organisation. Some clubs have chosen their charities and brought players and supporters together to work on their own chosen initiatives.

In the absence of game time, several clubs have proceeded with planning sessions to keep their members engaged. These engagements not only include rugby-related matters such as laws and technical matters but also planning around the needs of the players and the local communities. Please send us the details of your projects and initiatives with an email to ffelton@wprugby.co.za

The success of WP Club Rugby has always been attributed to good administration. We all to often think of this as logs and fixtures and other matters relating to matches, but the truth is that club rugby success is based on policies and several other administrative components such as constitutions, financial management, facilities management and more. Over the next few weeks, we will begin the process of regional online meetings to bolster the administrative capacity of our club structures.

The online sessions will look at various requirements and planning for the remainder of the year. Once the planning meetings have concluded we will begin our schedule of online workshops on finance, constitutions and other capacity-building initiatives such as our sponsorship, media and marketing workshops.

We have been hosting the media workshops for several years now and much of this has borne fruit. Today we see several clubs with successful sponsorships, databases and media platforms. These factors are now more important than before and are vital to keeping members and sponsors engaged. The workshop sessions will run weekly in segments which will allow for more intimate engagements. This year will see participants receive a certificate of attendance after completing a few basic questionnaires on the details included in the workshop.

Our referee recruitment drive continues and clubs are again reminded to put forward the names of two individuals from their club to join the referee’s society and become a referee. Although we are a long way from playing rugby it should not stop you from signing up and beginning the journey, as most of the preparation as a referee is online and now is a good time to familiarise yourself with the laws.

Our members are reminded of the fantastic benefits with African Bank and to enter the competition to win a signed DHL Stormers Rugby Ball and go in the draw to win a Signed DHL Stormers Jersey. The process is very easy, sign up for any of the African Bank services by simply send the word “Hi” to 060 094 2028.

We again remind all our members to adhere to the health and safety protocols to combat the spread of COVID-19. These include washing your hands, practising social distancing and wearing a mask.


Clubs active and reaching out

The past few months have been very hard on our club structures but it’s been quite amazing to see how our club structures have put the wheels in action to help their players as well as local communities. The initial weeks of lockdown saw our coaches and players immediately jump into action to ensure the players remain active. Training programs were sent out, videos were shared and online training sessions were held. Although these have continued we now see many of our club structures turning their attention to the needs of the less fortunate.

As club rugby, we know that our clubs are naturally suited to serve these causes as club structures already have the infrastructure in place. Management and players at clubs understand the concept of fundraising and group support initiatives. Currently, several clubs are doing feeding projects with support from members and sponsors. Whereas before we saw players preparing during the week to play on Saturday, we now see players and management prepare for the next social support initiative.

Please keep us informed of your activities including social initiatives and outreach projects by sending an email to ffelton@wprugby.co.za

Our referee’s structures have remained active with online sessions which sees them now engage with clubs via Zoom or MS Teams. A good example of this is Uni Mil head coach Isma-eel Dollie recently inviting referees to engage with their coaches on the dynamics of refereeing and the needs of referees before during and after match day. Should any club wish to have the WP Referees involved in their online sessions they should contact the manager of referees btheron@wprugby.co.za

Good news for the Boksmart members is that those with Bok smart licenses that are due for renewal this year have been given an extension until next year.

The referee recruitment program continues and clubs are reminded to submit the names of at least two members from their clubs to join the referee’s society. We also recommend that clubs encourage their members to do the World Rugby Laws course. The course is free and upon successful completion, the participant is awarded a certificate. To do the course please visit World Rugby Laws online here

Our WP Rugby 2.5 course was unfortunately postponed last week due to load shedding but continued this week with the coaches looking at planning and schedule preparation. Next week will see each coach doing individual presentations.

We will shortly begin online sessions with our regional structures which will see us discuss the 2020 season, preparing for lotto applications, upcoming online workshops such as our media, marketing and sponsorship workshops and various other activities to support our members.

Our members are reminded of the fantastic benefits with African Bank and to enter the competition to win a signed DHL Stormers Rugby Ball and go in the draw to win a Signed DHL Stormers Jersey. The process is very easy, sign up for any of the African Bank services by simply sending the word “Hi” to 060 094 2028.


Sport slowly but carefully back online while rugby waits

There was a tremendous amount of good news for the sport sector this week as we saw the Minister of Sport approving the return to training for some sport codes. All of these approvals are off course under very strict regulations as per government approvals.

As a rugby fraternity, we remain under lockdown rules and await further regulations from the government, rugby remains in waiting and will follow the guidelines from SA Rugby as and when they arrive.

This past week saw us hold our second online meeting with all the clubs. The meeting allowed for direct engagement with members via MS Teams. As the host, The President was able to inform the members of the meeting matters and members were able to engage online. In particular, the most recent meeting endorsed some significant new ventures for the WPRFU. Click here to read the full article.

The threat of COVID-19 remains very real and as such we are taking all precautions to ensure the safety of our staff and members. This includes temperature checks at entrances with comprehensive questionnaires.

When clubs do eventually get the go-ahead for training the matter of compliance will be a major focus. This will include advance screening and temperature checks. It is a good idea to begin preparing now to understand the various requirements. As a starting point, we recommend our members complete the world rugby player welfare courses. These courses are free of charge and will put you in good stead to understand the Corona Virus and the various methods of spread and prevention. You can find the link here.

Our WP Rugby 2.5 coaching course now goes into its final week. This past week focussed on skills with DHL Stormers manager Chippie Solomons. This session was particularly helpful for the coaches as Chippie brings a wealth of experience to the table. He highlighted that the role of the manager has changed tremendously over the past few years and much greater than simple logistics. And although the manager plays an integral part in player welfare there should be a clear understanding between coach and manager on role definition, as strictly speaking the manager would have very little to do with matters such as coaching and team selection.

We will shortly be hosting our online media, marketing and sponsorship workshops. We’ve been running this course for several years now. This is a good time to look at making sure your websites and social media platforms are up and running.

Our members are reminded of the fantastic benefits with African Bank and to enter the competition to win a signed DHL Stormers Rugby Ball and go in the draw to win a Signed DHL Stormers Jersey.

The process is very easy, sign up for any of the African Bank services by simply send the word “Hi” to 060 094 2028.

Once again we remind our administrators, coaches, player and fans to adhere to the COVID-19 regulations and to practice these health and safety protocols at all times.