Motherwell Rugby Club will make an emotional return to the playing field on Good Friday when they take part in the Lagunya Rugby Easter tournament in Cape Town less than two weeks after six members of the Eastern Cape club died in a tragic drowning incident.
The SARU-supported tournament features a number of clubs who play in their provinces' top leagues, including African Bombers and Spring Rose (both EP Grand Challenge) and Swallows (Border Super League).
Matches will take place at the Nyanga Stadium on Good Friday, starting at 13h30, and will continue on through Saturday, Easter Sunday and Monday, with final-round games kicking off at 08h00 to allow teams enough time to return home.
A memorial ceremony for Xolisa Nyembezi, Masixole Myosana, Arthur Peters, Avuyile Tshabalala, Lundi Ramba and Anelisa Mbuzeli, who lost their lives after being swept out to sea by rip currents at Port Elizabeth's Bluewater Bay following a beach training session on 24 March, will be held on Wednesday at the Raymond Mhlaba Community Hall in Motherwell at 15h00.
“We hope all clubs will come out in full support of Motherwell during this trying time,” said the Eastern Province Rugby Union's Philip Joseph. “All clubs attending the memorial service are encouraged to wear their respective club attire.”
Motherwell will thereafter travel to Cape Town, where they will be one of 16 community clubs taking part in the Lagunya Rugby Easter tournament, hosted this year by the Lagunya Club on the occasion of their 20th anniversary.
Lagunya was established in 1992 following an amalgamation of 14 clubs from the surrounding townships of Langa, Guguletu and Nyanga. “The club derives its name from the first letters of the three townships from where our players come,” said Lagunya president Titus Kepadisa. “We will celebrate two decades of existence this weekend with a tournament of which we are all immensely proud.
“The success of the next 20 years of Lagunya RFC will depend on our ability to give rise to a new generation of South Africans. What we have managed to learn from our past is that sport has the potential to bring people together, irrespective of their background and differences. There is always an ultimate goal, which is winning, but for most of us that goal is to play the game according to the laws of the game and to enjoy it.”
The tournament's opening ceremony will take place on Saturday and will be attended by, amongst others, Minister of Sport, The Honourable Mr Fikile Mbalula, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille, and SARU President Oregan Hoskins.
Round 1 matches – Friday 6 April:
13h30 – Lagunya vs Swallows (A field); Langa vs Star of Hope (B field)
14h45 – Homeboys vs Never Despair (A field); Motherwell vs Masiphumelele (B field)
16h00 – Spring Rose vs Evergreens (A field); Ntlaza vs Swallows (B field)
17h15 – Mighty Greens vs African Bombers (A field); Zwide vs Nqamakhwe (B field)