Khayelitsha rugby academy play

Khayelitsha rugby academy playing for gold at In2Touch, just a year after joining

A rugby academy from Khayelitsha will celebrate a big milestone this Wednesday, playing of their first ever gold medal in Cape Town’s In2Touch League.

Khayelitsha rugby academy play

Little over a year ago, many of the players from the Khayelitsha CONNECT Academy had never seen a rugby ball before. On Wednesday next week, they will be playing for gold medals at False Bay Rugby club in Cape Town’s In2Touch League.

The team is made up entirely out of young rugby players from Khayelitsha and was formed in the winter of 2014. Although the academy is mostly focussed on playing full contact rugby, touch has been at the core of what they do in helping the players learn ball skills and helping them improve their agility.

newman and simphiwe

The players are aged from 9 to 21, both boys and girls, and for the last two matches, the team has been represented mostly by the younger players as the older, high school players have been focussed on their exams.

For Murray Ingram, director of the academy, this simply underscores that the hard work has been worth it.

“Touch remains a cornerstone of our rugby development and to be playing for a gold medal a little over a year since first playing is a massive achievement for us. I’m really proud of how far the kids have come, especially the younger ones who have held the fort while the older ones are playing exams,” Ingram told

warming up

But it’s not been all smooth sailing to here. The academy is funded entirely on donations. When eight of the team’s players were called up to the Western Cape side to play at the Inter Provincial Touch Tournament in October, it was touch and go whether the players would make it as they had to pay their own way. They got there in the end and excelled, with the U15 boys and U21 girls both winning bronze.


Nutrition plays another important role. The academy offers a meal with every training session and after every match and, for some, this might be the only meal they eat that day. A year ago, many of the players in the team did not even have boots or socks.

“When we talk about transformation, people don’t realize that it needs to be a holistic approach. You can’t just drop in, throw a few balls around and expect to produce players. It takes everything from making sure the kids have the right kit and the right food. We have shown that with limited resources it is possible to make a big difference,” Ingram adds.

While some of these struggles still remain as new players enter the fray, the team can at least take Wednesday night to celebrate a milestone.

The team will be live Tweeting their match, you can follow the action on @ConnectNPC.