The Colts club rugby season gets underway with a few fixtures against inbound touring UK schools and clubs before the regular league season kicks off. Clubs participating in the league include Amabhubesi, Amanzimtoti, Ballito, Collegians, Crusaders, Pinetown, Harlequins, Newlands East Brumbies, Varsity College, Hillcrest and Queensburgh. There is also an under-6 to under-11 season that runs from April to June (during the 2nd school term) every year.
The Colts season extends from July to September (3rd term) every year. Colts trials are then held at the beginning of September and the teams selected (U13, U14, U15, U16 and U18) play in the Inter-provincial Tournament (IPT), which will be held at Barnard stadium in Kempton Park at the beginning of October this year. B teams are also selected and they play against the Blue Bulls and Pretoria Harlequins in Durban the weekend after the IPT. Other teams taking part in the IPT include the Blue Bulls, Leopards, Cheetahs, Griffons, Valke, Lions Invitational as well as a Valke Invitational. This allows those selected the opportunity to play against quality provincial sides (remembering that many of these boys will not necessarily be selected for Craven Week or Grant Khomo). The IPT is also the largest SBR tournament in South Africa with an estimated 750 boys taking part.
Youth club rugby has been around for many seasons. However it is just in the last few years that things have really started to take shape and now there is a very creditable structure in place. In 2009 an official league was established. The Durban Rugby Sub-Union Youth Club Association (DRSUYCA) oversees the league and the game in general. It has a very stringent set of rules and regulations which govern all competitions or games held under their auspices. The prevailing idea is that if the players are taught to play the game properly and within the confines of the rules, they will be less inclined to break these rules when they play as seniors. All IRB and SARU rules and regulations are strictly adhered to and there are stringent penalties for players and/or clubs who contravene. Players from U13 to U18 (as well as coaches, parents and any other officials) who receive red cards or who are charged with misconduct, are subject to a full DRSU disciplinary enquiry and penalties as per IRB guidelines. Coaches and officials from all member clubs are required to have completed Boksmart and all coaches must be at least IRB Level 1 certified.
This high level of organisation is not just limited to the local youth club rugby scene. In 2011, the chairpersons of the unions taking part in IPT held a meeting and resolved to establish the SA Youth Club Rugby Association. The purpose of this association was to ensure that all clubs belonging to member unions play according to the same set of rules and regulations (which were drawn up and agreed to by all unions).
The main aim of youth club rugby in Durban is to ensure that a culture of belonging to a club is established. The DRSUYCA believes that if a player has been playing at a club from the age of 6, it makes the transition to under-20 and senior club rugby much easier. This will create a sustainable club rugby system and improve the numbers of players.
In 2011, SAFAL Steel announced that they would be the Title Sponsor of the DRSUYCA Leagues and pledged R150 000 to the development of youth rugby.
Many thanks to NW_Knight for this contribution.