The 17th Annual Talent ID Festival will be held from the 24th to 26th August in Durban and hosted at Glenwood High School by the Durban Development Committee.
This festival is used to identify the best available talent from the previously disadvantaged communities. This year we had 35 players chosen for the various KZN Schools’ teams that came through this process. As well as one player, Sandile Kubheka, who was chosen for SA Schools. These players are either still in development schools or are in Ex-Model C/Private schools on full bursaries. The tournament is not only used to identify players but referees, coaches and managers as well. Players who have progressed through this festival are Cedric Mkhize (Super 14), Jody Jenneker (Super 14), Melusi ‘Barra’ Mthethwa (Currie Cup), Thabane Sangweni (Vodacom Cup), Menzi Ngidi (Sharks Under 19 and 21) and Sizwe Zondo (Sharks Under 19, 21 and Vodacom Cup), to name but a few. Many others are thriving in the club scene and the various academies as well.
The process to get to this final provincial tournament involves the five sub-unions, which incorporates all the district municipalities, who hold trials to select the best U12, U15 and U17 players from only historically disadvantaged communities. This includes areas like Munster, Ixopo, Kokstad, Harding, Gamalakhe, Umlazi, KwaMashu, Umbumbulu, Kwadakuza, Clermont, Wentworth, KwaMakutha, Ezikhaweni, Kwadlangezwa, Stanger, Mandini, Ulundi, Pongola, Hluhluwe, Matabatuba, Vryheid, Dundee, Osizweni, Madadeni, Mafusini, Bergville and other rural communities. Around 500 players and 40 coaches and managers in each sub-union, are involved in this process, except Ethekwini/Illembe, where around 1 400 players and officials are involved. Total number of players and officials involved in the trials/selection process is thus around 3 600 players and officials. In each sub-union, 60 players ie 20 U12, 20 U15 and 20 U17 boys, are selected to represent the region. A total of 300 players attend the final tournament, together with 45 coaches and managers.
We also invite three extra teams, one in each age group, to participate. This year we will have Alfred Nzo District U12 and U15 (Matatiele, Mt Frere Area) and Itembelihle U17 (New Brighton, Port Elizabeth), joining us for the festival.
Three provincial squads (U12, U15 & U17) are selected by neutral selectors from the Ex-Model C and Private Schools who also use the opportunity to scout for their respective institutions. These schools offer bursaries and scholarships to their institutions. At present, there are approximately 90 boys on scholarships at various schools throughout the province.
SA Rugby Union usually send a panel of referees to officiate at the festival, demonstrating the importance of the festival to the transformation process. However, this year, they will send an Assessor to assess the 10 referees who are based here in KZN.
The festival is supported by the following: KZN Department of Sport and Recreation fund all accommodation, transport and certain meals for all the participants and technical officials. VIP’s and KZN Rugby Union staff are accommodated by KZN Rugby Union, who also fund the trials and selection processes. Clover SA (All juices, tournament costs, branding, fields and facilities), Spur (all lunches and costs for teams from outside the province), SA Rugby Union (tournament costs, accommodation for visiting teams and some meals, administrative costs and referees’ travel and accommodation costs), Gem Schoolwear (all players’ t-shirts, shorts and socks and officials’ golf-shirts and jackets) and Discovery Health (Event Medix and ambulances).
Without the support of these sponsors, a festival of this nature would not be possible.
MANAGER: COACH EDUCATION & RUGBY DEVELOPMENT
KZN RUGBY UNION