The Impi Marches to Grant Khomo
There will be a new team at the Grant Khomo Week for Under-16 schoolboy representative teams in June this year.
The new team is the Iqhawe Impi, chosen from schoolboy rugby players in rural schools and schools of lower profile in rugby terms.
The name Iqhawe Impi is of Zulu origin. Iqhawe means champion and an impi a fighting unit – the Champion Warriors, if you like.
The team stems from the Iqhawe Rugby Week, which was started in 2013 by the South African Rugby Union (SARU) in conjunction with the South African Legends to aid in the development of rugby where it is not such an important part of boys’ lives, thus aiding in the process of transformation.
Having a team from its players will no doubt enhance the status of the Iqhawe Week and act as an incentive to the boys attending.
The Grant Khomo Week will be hosted this year by Hoërskool Rob Ferreira in White River, in South Africa’s lush Lowveld. It will take place on 24-28 June 2019.
The Iqhawe Week is for Under-15 players, and so the Impi will be selected from players who stood out at the week in October 2018.
The teams taking part in the Grant Khomo Week will be – the 14 South African Rugby provinces, Border Country Districts, the Iqhawe Impi, Limpopo, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The 14 provinces are Blue Bulls, Boland, Border, Eastern Province, Free State, Golden Lions, Griffons, Griqualand West, Leopards, Mpumalanga, Sharks, South Western Districts, Valke and Western Province.
Jurie Roux, SARU’s CEO, said: “We are delighted that the Iqhawe Impi accepted our invitation to participate in the Grant Khomo Week this year.
“The Iqhawe Week is a fantastic development tournament and an important cog in our Youth Week and transformation structures as it showcases grassroots rugby at its best.
“The quality of the tournament over the last six years and the skills of the players coming through those ranks has been impressive, and the fact that more than 63 players graduated from the tournament to the Grant Khomo Week in the last few years is evidence of that. This is largely thanks to all the work behind the scenes from the SA Rugby Legends Association [SARLA].”
The SARLA CEO Stefan Terblanche said: “It is very rewarding and enjoyable for SARLA to grow the base of rugby players at grassroots level, and to see the full pyramid complete and in place, is fantastic.
“We now need to strengthen this structure and ensure that we create a constant flow of talented young rugby players through this opportunity. We can’t thank SA Rugby enough for their support and buying into this vision and dream, which is now a reality.”
South African Schools Rugby Association (SASRA) chairman Noël Ingle said: “SASRA are proud to be part of the initiative to include a representative side chosen at the Iqhawe Week to play at the prestigious Grant Khomo Week in 2019.
“The inclusion of this team gives youngsters access to the same opportunities as their peers from traditional rugby playing schools. There is some incredible talent on display at the Iqhawe Week and this will reward the young players the opportunity to play with the best in the country.”
From SA Rugby Communications