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SA Rugby launches elite squad project
SARU
February 12, 2007

The South African Rugby Union has launched the Elite Squad project with the aim to bridge the significant gap amongst the age group players in the country

In this way SARU hopes to increase the number of players from where the different national age group teams will be selected.

Friday saw the launch of the national project at the Boland Rugby Stadium in Wellington, where the home union was the first recipient of the unique testing and dietary kit.

SARU plans to make similar handovers to all 14 provincial unions in the following months. The High Performance department of SARU will manage the project. Funding for the project is provided through assistance from the International Rugby Board, by means of its development grants to member unions, and National Lottery.

The Sports Science Institute of South Africa will provide expert personnel to oversee the testing of players and assist with the analysis of test results.

Herman Masimla, the manager of High Performance at SARU, said the programme wants to increase the capacity of all provinces so they are able to further improve on their monitoring and development programmes of boys in the U16 to U19 age group bracket.

"Players in previously disadvantaged areas are still experiencing particular challenges in terms of their diets, supplements and conditioning. The Elite Squad programme allows SARU and the provinces to combine their resources. This will allow us to increase the capacity to accelerate the development of identified youngsters," explained Masimla.

SARU will distribute complete kits to 11 unions and R30 000 to the remaining three who already have the particular testing equipment. The money wiIl allow the three provincial unions to upgrade their existing equipment so that they are able to present the players with a full battery of tests.

The first set of tests will be carried out until the end of February and will involve 30 U17- and 30 U19-players. The second testing period is scheduled for August and September.

SARU selects a group of 100 players during the various youth week tournaments such as the Coca-Cola Craven and Academy Weeks. The identified players are added to the groups identified by the provinces.

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