The Blue Bulls Rugby Union launched the Future Blue Bulls Tournament on Thursday. The tournament will take place from 19 to 22 June 2019 at Warmbad Hoërskool in Bela-Bela. The purpose of the tournament is to create an additional pipeline and pathway for players and coaches to the provincial and even professional structures of the Vodacom Blue Bulls. It is also an opportunity to expose players and coaches to opportunities within the club structures and tertiary institutions of the Blue Bulls Rugby Union.
According to Mr. Willem Strauss, President of the Blue Bulls Rugby Union, the tournament will expose participating players to the Blue Bulls club brands, and also create an opportunity to unearth talented players that did not form part of the mainstream teams like Craven Week, etc. “Vodacom Bulls stars like Lood de Jager, Marco van Staden and Lizo Gqoboka did not play representative rugby at school level. As the matter of fact, Lizo Gqoboka only started playing rugby at the age of 19”, said Strauss. The Future Blue Bulls Tournament and the Volcano u/20 Super League are important tools in broadening the base of junior rugby in the Blue Bulls region. With less players that will be contracted, this new pipeline will hopefully create an additional exposure platform for talented young players. Strauss also added that the players being scouted at school level plays an integral part in recruiting players to the Vodacom Bulls structures over the last couple of decades, and that this system should not only be nurtured, but also broadened with initiatives like the Future Blue Bulls Tournament and Volcano u/20 Super League, which cater for the late developers, etc.
Ages u/11 to u/19, as well as an Academy Cup, will be included in the Future Blue Bulls Tournament. The private academies of the Blue Bulls’ professional clubs will also continue to develop players for junior representative teams. This year, the 52 junior contracted players of the Blue Bulls were allocated to the clubs and are currently participating in the Volcano u/20 Super League. High profile coaches of the Blue Bulls will conduct coaching clinics and also scout for talent.
Matches will take place on Wednesday, 19 June, Thursday, 20 June, and Saturday, 22 June. The tournament will take place in the form of a festival with lots of entertainment, prizes to be won, etc.
“Initiatives like the Future Blue Bulls Project and the Volcano Super Cup Rugby League will greatly enhance the growth of the game on grassroots and club Level” – Dr Eugene Hare, CEO – Blue Bulls Rugby Union.
According to Mr. Paul Liddle, Headmaster of Warmbad Hoërskool, the Future Blue Bulls Tournament promises to be a massive injection for sport in the Bela-Bela region, and will also create a lot of opportunities for boys from the country districts. More than 2 000 participants are expected to attend.