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Barbarians fund under-9 rugby tournament

A first-of-its-kind under-9 schools rugby tournament will kick off in Cape Town’s Southern Peninsula this month thanks to the generosity of the legendary UK rugby franchise, Barbarians FC.

The club’s charity arm – The Barbarians Rugby Charitable Trust – has agreed to fund the initiative run by MasiSports and Masicorp from July to September this year.

Bill Brown of the Barbarians Rugby Charitable Trust says, “We are delighted to support this initiative organised by MasiSports and Masicorp and have recently made a donation of over R200k to help sponsor the schools’ rugby tournament as part of our ongoing commitment to support the development of rugby and positive social change across the world at all age levels.”

Alan McKelvey of Masicorp adds, “We are honoured to be working with Big Vince [van der Bijl] on this exciting initiative supported so generously by the world-renowned Barbarians Rugby.”

The tournament will see U9 boys and girls from primary schools – Kronendal, Sun Valley, Fish Hoek, Paul Greyling, Reddam, Kirstenhoff, Zwaanswyk and Ukhanyo – coming together to play rugby, but more importantly to build social cohesion, healthy competition, and lifelong friendships.

Masisports founder Vince van der Bijl says, “This has been a dream of MasiSports and Masicorp for four years. While the wonder of sport cannot immediately change social and economic dynamics, it always gives all those involved, a glimpse of what genuine unity and understanding can bring. Grassroots development like this tournament will lead to generational change. That is the beauty of this marvellous sponsorship by the famous Barbarians. Amazing!”

The first matches begin on Friday 28th July at Ukhanyo Primary in Masiphumelele. The teams will then play at a different venue each Friday, until the tournament ends with a Gala Festival on Saturday, September 16th at Masiphumelele Rugby Football Club. The culmination of the festival will be the Barbarian South team selected during the tournament, which will play against a side from schools in the North, organized by the Vuza programme, situated in the Langa township. Ironically, Jason Leonard, a legendary English and Barbarian player, with his Atlas foundation sponsors the Vuza programme.

The Barbarians Rugby Charitable Trust has long been a supporter of creating social upliftment and gender equality through sport. Founded in 2004, the body has donated millions of rands towards the development of the game at all age levels and genders throughout the world. It’s a fitting partnership than with MasiSports and Masicorp, whose vision is to create an integrated school community, a rainbow nation, in the South Peninsula. It is hoped that this peninsula can in time inspire other areas to build one nation, one humanity.

Spearheaded by Van Der Bijl – himself an internationally recognised sportsman – and Alan McKelvey, former president of Belfast Harlequins and director of Masicorp, the tournament’s ultimate purpose is to spread the game from an early age to develop skills in a competitive environment, to enable social cohesion and full integration across historical divides, and to highlight the talent in the South Peninsula.