The second annual MiWay Sevens School Rugby Tournament was played on Friday and as promised, lived up to expectations of being bigger and better than before.
Twenty-four teams from mainly Bloemfontein competed in the event at Sentraal High School, and there were major surprises from the word go.
The rugby factory, Grey College, proved they are the kings of sevens rugby by winning the Cup competition with a 67-0 drubbing of High School Fichardt Park in the final.
The boys in blue defended the title they won in 2015 and from the onset it was visible in the rugby they produced that they were there to mean business.
Fichardt Park was a major surprise package by reaching the final, following good wins over the hosts Sentraal, Jim Fouché and beating HTS Louis Botha in the semi-final.
Following a total of 51 matches played on the day, the Grey and South African schools centre, Rikus Pretorius, was named as the Player of the Tournament, and is certainly a talent that may very well represent the Springboks in the not too distant future.
Perhaps the biggest success story of the entire tournament is that of High School Sehunelo.
The school which doesn’t even have a field to practise on made a big statement on Friday by outclassing every single one of their opponents to win the Plate final with a hard-fought 19-15 win over Brandfort.
Last week the players received boots, courtesy of MiWay and the organisers, Redstar Agency, to put them on the same playing field as the rest of the teams. This came after their recent coaching clinic during which the boys were practising with school shoes, and those who had boots, were wearing worn-out boots.
Following a thrilling final, Martin Lekhanya, who is the development coordinator at the Toyota Cheetahs and who works closely with Sehunelo, told Voice that they are delighted with their achievement and all the hard work has paid off.
“Yes, of course we must be happy with winning the plate, the boys are delighted,” he said.
“We’ve been doing this rugby business for a long time. We’ve been trying to practise and we’ve been trying to get everything under control, and now we have it.
“It’s great stuff, it shows the importance of playing sport. It’s good for the boys because it shows that there are opportunities. For the boys that aren’t playing sport, they must come and participate so that they could perhaps become someone one day.”
Edwin Mkham was by far the most outstanding player for Sehunelo and could be a possible star that even left the Springboks Sevens stalwart, Rayno Benjamin, impressed.
Mkham was brilliant on the attack and scored numerous times. He often put his body on the line to tackle much bigger players with relative ease.
His play didn’t go unnoticed and while he wasn’t named as the Player of the Tournament, he impressed enough to win the two-year sport bursary at ETA College, where he will get to study either Sports Management or Sports Conditioning.
Mkham was left speechless after winning the bursary, but told Voice that he wants to use it to help develop sport.
“We love this tournament,” said Mkham. “Firstly, they gave us boots to help us out and then we played well to win the Plate Final. I’m really happy about the bursary because it’s going to help a lot and it’s my dream to learn more about sport. I would like to use what I’m going to learn in helping the community and developing sport.”
St. Andrews won the shield competition, while Diamantveld from Kimberley, who was also very impressive, won the bowl competition. Grey College also claimed the honours in the U15 competition, and judging by the team that they had, the school may very well walk away with a hat-trick of titles next year. – MORGAN PIEK