Scotland squad visit Soweto

The Scotland rugby squad visited a rugby club in Soweto today and were thanked for supporting the growth of the sport in South Africa’s biggest township.

The entire squad took part in a coaching clinic organised in conjunction with the British High Commission and Jabulani rugby club at Naledi High School. You can see more on the visit on the Scottish Rugby YouTube channel.

Children from Thulani, Isulihle, Kgatelopele, Diodi, Zola and Busisiwe primary schools – many of whom play within the junior sections at Jabulani – mingled with the Scotland players in a series of fun drills. Tim Visser is pictured with one group below.

Soweto has a population of 1.7 million, part of the 4.435 million population of Johannesburg.

Rugby makes inroads

Thando Mhlongo, founder and chairperson of the Jabulani club, said: “Soccer is the leading sporting code in Soweto but rugby is making inroads slowly but surely. “

A former development officer with the Golden Lions, Thando has seen his club grow in four years.

“We now have ten teams in our junior section from under-8s to under-18s then we have our senior section with under-19s, a 2nd XV and a 1st XV and we’ve got 16 primary schools registered with the club.

“Yes, there are challenges, not least facilities but we are pushing on.

“I’m having goose-bumps today to have the Scotland team here. This is the highest honour for me and the club.

“My vision was to have an international team visit after ten years and now it’s happening today with you guys after four years.”

Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw said: “It’s been a privilege for us to come here today and meet the children and see what rugby is offering.

“One of the reasons we all started in the sport was just the sheer fun of it and to see these kids, some in bare feet, running around today, will be a special memory for us.”

The Scotland players then presented some old items of rugby kit to the club and supported a club raffle to assist with fund-raising.