The face of South African rugby is about to change with the launch of the first Investec International Rugby Academy in the country, led by Springbok assistant coach Dick Muir.
Sport 24 reports that this is the first new chapter of the original International Rugby Academy which was started in New Zealand in 2001, with the aim of providing intensive, high-level rugby tuition and expertise to players and coaches seeking a career in the game, or those already in it.
The academy brings together some of the greatest coaches in the game such as Nick Mallett, Eddie Jones, Graham Henry and others with a selection of its greatest players in Grant Fox, Jeff Wilson, John Eales, Sean Fitzpatrick and more to provide a high performance approach to the game.
“With the growth of professionalism in rugby there is a real demand for quality rugby education,” says Murray Mexted, the Managing Director of the International Rugby Academy New Zealand.
“Rugby has also expanded rapidly over the last few years and is now a truly global sport. Our aim is to lay a solid foundation to prepare players and coaches for the world of professional rugby.”
The new academy will cater for players from junior to senior and even Super 14 level, and offers them position specific training as well as mental toughness, rugby intelligence and skill development. Coaches will be able to work intensively with the world’s best coaches in a practical environment.
The fruits of the academy can already be seen in South Africa, with Rugby World Cup champion Francois Steyn having attended the New Zealand Academy while still a junior.
“Through our partnership with Dick Muir and Murray Mexted, Investec continues to support outstanding talent and excellence in the field of rugby.” says Andy Leith, Managing Director Investec South Africa.
” The International Rugby academy will bring a combination of world class foreign and local expertise, to young South African and international talent.”
The first high performance course is scheduled to kick off in Pretoria towards the end of April. The Academy plans to run courses throughout South Africa.
“I think this is one of the most exciting things to happen to our rugby in years,” says Muir.”This will offer our players and coaches an unprecedented level of professionalism, and if we can produce more players of the caliber of Francois Steyn, then the future is indeed bright for South African rugby.”
Springbok captain, John Smit also strongly endorses the academy by saying that it’s the first real opportunity in South Africa for youngsters to be prepared for what lies ahead within the professional era.Tweet