Sixteen teams will participate in this year’s South African National Defence Force Rugby Week that takes place in Vredenburg, Western Cape from 25-29 June, 2012.
Eight teams will play in the Senior League, four in the President’s League and four in the Women’s competition. All matches will take place at the sports grounds of the Vredenburg High School.
Defending champions Free State will face teams from Western Province, Boland, Gauteng, North West and South Eastern Cape in a knock-out competition, with two teams from the Botswana also playing in the main competition. The Botswana Defence Force will participate for the ninth year in a row, with the Botswana National B-side also traveling down.
Teams from Western Province, Gauteng, Northern Cape and Mpumalanga/Limpopo will contest the President’s League and Free State, Western Province, Gauteng and Northern Cape will play in the women’s competition. Both will be played on a round-robin basis.
The week will officially be opened by the president of the Boland Rugby Union, Mr. Francois Davids, on Monday June 25 at 08h00.
“The SANDF are keen to continue the strong tradition of rugby in the Services and we at SARU are delighted with the level of organisation they have in place,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU.
“Rugby in the forces has undergone major changes in recent years but to maintain a tradition that has produced its fair share of Springboks remains important, even in these changed times.”
The Patron of rugby in the SA National Defence Force, Lt Gen T.T. Matanzima, is also looking forward to the tournament.
“It is interesting to realise the similarities between a real combat situation and a rugby match. Long hours of hard and realistic training are essential to ensure success on both the battle and sports fields. Before a match the team practices together; each player knowing what his position and responsibilities are and realising that his/her performance will contribute to the success of failure of the game. During peace time we prepare for battle in the same way,” he said.
“In any battle or rugby match there are winners and losers. The scoreboard will eventually tell who the winner is, but it is only final when the final whistle blows or the last shot is fired. Final defeat only occurs when the enemies’ or opponents’ spirit to continue resisting vanish.”
“I trust that Rugby Week 2012 will be most enjoyable event for all. May the best teams win. Do your best, play hard and above all enjoy it. We are soldiers and soldiers do everything to the best of their abilities.”
Matches will be played on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with Tuesday and Thursday set aside for development clinics in the region.