The Easter Week-end rugby tournament culture started long before unity talks and it is prevalent in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Gauteng. Clubs would travel long distances to take part in rugby games to celebrate a mile stone achievement by the host club. In most instances it used to coincide with the anniversary celebrations of clubs affectionately known as “Jubilees”.
The tournaments were platforms used to reinforce the struggle for non-racialism in sport and in society. The club members were responsible for raising traveling funds and the teams were accommodated in school classrooms. The tournaments were synonymous with the exhibition of top quality rugby and it is where a lot of players were noticed and enticed to greener pastures.
The black schools were not playing rugby during late 70’s due to ills of apartheid. After the unity in the mid 90’s a core group of clubs revived the tradition at the time when club rugby in black communities was faced with serious challenges and extinction. Central to the celebration of friendship and competition was the “revival of club rugby “in black townships and rural villages. The tournament has been hosted in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Western Cape and the former Transkei.
The tournament is hosted in different provinces every year, rural clubs also get an opportunity to host. SARU plays a part in assisting the teams to travel and towards the logistics. The tournament has grown from catering for a few clubs to cater for 16 top clubs that play in the premier leagues in their respective provinces.
Over the years the tournament has produced players who are the lynchpins of the rugby industry. The likes of Mzwandile Stick, Tiger Mangweni, Jongi Nokwe and the late Solly Tyibilika are but a few of those players. The likes of Louis Mzomba, Lusanda Jam and Sinethemba Mrulwa are some of the top referees that officiate in top provincial and national competitions that have used the tournament as a launching pad for their high performance careers.
On the coaching front the likes of Norman Mbiko (ex-SA Sevens Head-Coach), David Dobela (ex-Border and Uganda Head-Coach) and Dumisani Mani ex-Border Bulldogs Head-Coach) are some of the products of the Easter tournaments.
Spring Rose RFC from Port Elizabeth who were the 2007 champions went on to play in the shield section of the National Club Championships played in Stellenbosch and lost in the final to SK Walmers.
The major challenge facing the tournament is uncertainty with regards to funding. The quality of the event is sometimes compromised due to the area where it is hosted. Although it is an annual event there is no guarantees from the mother body (SARU), it does not seem to be in their future planning.
The two teams that reach the final of the tournament should be afforded an opportunity to play in the SA National Club Championships. Programmes on safety and high-performance should be introduced during the tournament in order to build capacity and to empower players and officials. The event should cater for Women to play and promote girls/women’s rugby.
CLUB HISTORY (HOSTS)
Lagunya Rugby Club was established in 1992 and serves three different townships: Langa, Gugulethu and Nyanga. These three townships are the oldest townships in the Western Province. Lagunya is the amalgamation of 23 clubs from above mentioned townships, deriving its name from them. In 1992, South African rugby as a whole was restructured and unified.
During unity negotiations between the South African Rugby Board and the South African Rugby Union, executives of the 23 clubs in Langa, Gugulethu and Nyanga reached an agreement to merge the clubs and Lagunya Rugby Club was formed. After the merger, the national and super 10 teams were required to practise at Lagunya. Recently the Super 14 teams continued to practise at Lagunya.
The merger allowed Lagunya to compete within the Western Province Rugby Union leagues. Lagunya is currently playing in the WP premier League B section. The club prides itself by producing few WP Craven Week players and three SA Schools players.
Lagunya boast for having three fully fletched internationals, Dinah Zweni (former \springbok women player) Norman Mbiko (Former SA 7’ coach) and Louis Mzomba (former test referee). We are proud to have a WP executive member in our midst, Gerald Njengele who is serving his third term. The club President Mr. Titus Kepadisa was a provincial selector for both u19 and u21, has now been promoted to become the WP U19 Manager.
The major challenge facing the club is funding and this leads to our key players being pouched by more affluent clubs that can offer them things like school bursaries and match fees. The development side of the club has also suffered as we are struggling to get funding to pay stipends to development coaches. Transport to attend fixtures is also an issue as the club cannot always afford to pay fares for all the players.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
THE AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE CLUB SHALL BE:
(a) To promote, encourage, develop and generally assist and protect the interest of rugby wherever possible
(b) To foster a spirit of goodwill equality and fraternity amongst all rugby players in particular, and other sportsmen and woman generally and to oppose and prevent any discrimination among sport persons on the grounds of race colour, cast creed or religion
(c) To achieve the Selection of teams on merit alone.
(d) To govern the playing of rugby by making laws, by-laws and regulations and take steps to enforce same in the spirit of this constitution.
(e) To control and administer the funds of the CLUB in the best way possible to attain the aims
(f) To promote subscribe and if necessary grant subsidies/donations from the funds of the CLUB to any other body/bodies for any purpose which is calculated to promote the aims and the objectives of the CLUB as is the constitution
(g) To promote and encourage rugby among schools and junior players
Louis Mzomba (Tournament director)