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The changing face of rugby in communities

Gavin Annandale, JJ Breedt, Lucy Purdon, Stephan Greef, Ruhan Nel        Chiliboy Ralepelle with Musenga Primary School players in the Tsogo Sun SunCares festival Muzomuhle Primary School tackling Musenga Primary School

Tsogo Sun’s SunCares rugby opening tournament

“The South African Rugby Union applauds companies such as Tsogo Sun that are collaborating with government departments and other organisations to make a real difference in developing rugby at grass roots level. It is good for the country, it is good for rugby and more than that, it is good for the children, who are kept active and can enjoy all the benefits of participating in a team sport,” says SARU deputy president Mark Alexander on the occasion of Tsogo Sun’s second SunCares Sports Academy rugby festival for schools in Diepsloot on 3 August.

“Rugby development needs to be a smooth running conveyor belt from school level right through to super rugby and national team level, where coaching, training, encouraging and advancing of talented players must be consistent throughout the process,” says Alexander. “Our national Springbok team can only ever be as strong as its nursery – and the nursery starts in every school where rugby is played. If rugby is not happening at school level, there cannot be the great success we all expect to see at national team level.”

The Tsogo Sun SunCares Sports Academy rugby programme is one of the group’s corporate social investment initiatives, operating with extensive collaborations that include Golden Lions Rugby Union, Gauteng Department of Education and the Department of Sports and Recreation. The festival will see more than 600 youngsters from seven Diepsloot primary schools participating at Bophelong Sports Complex in Diepsloot. “Before the SunCares programme, no rugby had been played in any of the Diepsloot schools – now the youngsters are developing a passion for it and are keen to put in the hard work and the practice necessary to advance in the game,” says Glenn Joseph, general manager of Montecasino, a primary sponsor of the rugby programme .

Alexander says that many of SARU’s top players started playing rugby at schools located in far-flung rural areas, and then played for their own communities before joining the higher ranks at provincial or even national rugby level.

SARU is actively busy in the 53 districts of the country, reaching communities where rugby has not traditionally been played. “It’s extremely important for the development continuum of the game of rugby in South Africa to introduce rugby to communities throughout the country.”

At the same time, Alexander notes that it is impossible for SARU to reach all the communities throughout the districts of South Africa alone. It’s imperative for the private and public sector to get involved through collaborative programmes.

Rob Collins, chief marketing officer of Tsogo Sun, says that through SunCares, the group is striving to harness the power of collaborations in the interests of doing more – and doing what it does well. Tsogo Sun believes that collaborations and partnerships are an excellent model for development as they tend to deliver much more than would have otherwise been possible. “Collaborations with corporates, government, SMMEs, or even individual trailblazers, offer the perfect opportunity to pool resources with like-minded organisations and work together for collective change, sharing the kudos that is earned.”

Each partner in the collaboration has a different skill to bring to the table. “Both the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Sport and Recreation have encouraged and supported our efforts to take sport into disadvantaged schools. Our programmes align closely with the Department of Sport and Recreation’s vision of creating ‘An active and winning nation’ and its primary focus of providing opportunities for all South Africans to participate in sport. Together we play a pivotal role in bringing sport into the curriculum in all schools,” says Collins.

Collins says there is tremendous scope for further collaboration in sports development. “Any company, department, or individual can play a role in contributing to a better future for our youngsters. We would encourage other companies and organisations to be creative and look at the specialised set of skills that they have as a company. ; it’s all about getting involved.”

Joseph adds, “At the time of the Rugby World Cup in 1995, Nelson Mandela said, ‘Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand.’ We’ve seen this in our country. We’ve seen sport add a new dimension to the culture of national unity in South Africa. We’ve seen it add to the hope of our nation for a bright future for every South African. We’re now seeing it in action in our community – and we’re immensely proud to be a part of it.”

For more information on Tsogo Sun’s SunCares Sports Academy, visit www.tsogosun.com alternatively follow us on twitter and tweet us on @TsogoSun, @MONTECASINOZA and #SunCares

About Tsogo Sun
Tsogo Sun is the leading hotels, gaming and entertainment company in South Africa, providing a vast variety of hospitality and exciting entertainment and leisure experiences. Combining an established heritage with a professional and energised approach, the group proudly encompasses 14 casinos and over 90 hotels in South Africa, Africa, and Seychelles.

The company’s hospitality interests offer the widest distribution of hotels in Africa, providing world-class accommodation across all markets, including elegant, individually branded Deluxe Hotels and well known trusted market leaders in the premier through budget segments, including Southern Sun Hotels, Garden Court, SunSquare, StayEasy and Formula 1 hotels.

The exciting urban and resort casino portfolio includes the most popular entertainment destinations, strategically located throughout South Africa. In the Gauteng province, Tsogo Sun owns the group’s flagship property, Montecasino in Fourways, which features, amongst other attractions, the award-winning Teatro; Gold Reef City Casino and Theme Park in Southern Johannesburg; and Silverstar Casino to the West in Krugersdorp. Additional properties are owned and operated in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Free State, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, including the Jewel on Durban’s Golden Mile, Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World.

Tsogo Sun (“TSH”) is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. The key shareholders of Tsogo Sun are Hosken Consolidated Investments Limited (“HCI”), a JSE listed investment holding company, and SABMiller PLC (“SABM”), the London listed brewing company. The remaining shareholding is held by various financial institutions and the general public.

SunCares is Tsogo Sun’s environment sustainability in tourism programme, which consists of three pillars through which Tsogo Sun aims to be a catalyst for change. These pillars are the company’s CSI programme, encompassing the SunCares Sports Academy and SunCares Performing Arts Academy; Entrepreneurial Development, primarily through the established and impactful Book-a-Guesthouse programme; and Environmental Management. These pillars are creating a solid platform from which Tsogo Sun is able to leverage its considerable resources, experiences, and geographic spread within the hospitality, gaming and entertainment industry to provide the foundation for initiatives that have a lasting impact.

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