Spectators were recently treated to quality entertainment when amateur club rugby boys showed their skills at the inaugural Edwin Nutse Ngculu heritage rugby tournament in Mlungisi.
Six U16 teams competed in the single knockout tournament hosted by Mlungisi team, Komani Rugby Development (KRD) played over two days, after the final could not be squeezed in on Friday.
The winner was Ezibeleni team UBumbo Rugby Academy which had come back strongly against host team KRD after going into half time 5-0. A never-say-die attitude and punishing of handling errors by KRD got them over the line, finishing the match 15-20.
On the way to the final Ubumbo had demolished East London team Mdantsane Hurricanes 28-0. They emerged as early favourites alongside their fellow finalists KRD which beat Nqgamakhwe Lions 36-0. Komani Rugby Academy also failed a second-team. Unfortunately, they did not register a single win, losing to Ubumbo and Hurricanes without registering a single point.
Ubumbo coach, Bongani Nogilana, said the team’s achievement was overwhelming. “It moved me to tears. This was our first tournament and the desire to win got us over the line. There was some questionable officiating, but in the end we managed to win.”
Hlela Mbasana, coach of KRD was equally impressed at how the tournament went. “For a tournament that is just starting, it was a success. Everything we planned happened. Different people in Komani supported us, each contributing in a different way.
“The trophy will rotate for 15 years and the team which wins more than five tournaments in that time will keep it. We would like this to be the start of something bigger and hopefully, as we grow, we will have a sponsor jump on board and go on this journey with us. It is an honour for Nutse, who invested a lot into the sport – teaching and coaching us. We want to honour him while he is still alive,” he said.