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Investec International Rugby Academy

South Africa’s new rugby academy

The Investec International Rugby Academy South Africa has an opportunity to use the International Rugby Academy New Zealand formula and its rugby credibility as a platform for the establishment of an academy which will capitalise on an untapped demand for high performance in playing and coaching rugby in South Africa. It will set a new standard in rugby training.

About the Academy

The academy has a number of distinct advantages:

  • World class coaching and management team
  • Leading edge specialists in the field of rugby
  • Course curriculum recognised throughout the international rugby world
  • Credibility and profile through association with the International Rugby Academy New Zealand

Dick Muir, assistant Springbok coach, will lead the Investec International Rugby Academy as executive director in South Africa along with administrator Ruan Fourie and a team of staff.

The first high performance course kicked off in Johannesburg in April 2009 and a number of courses will be held throughout the year. By 2010 the academy will have its own grounds and high performance facilities which will become its head office, in Glenwood, Durban.

For further information on the Investec International Rugby Academy visit the website.


Player Stories

Byron Marx

Year of attendance – January 2013

Byron attended the Investec International Rugby Academy’s Intermediate course and enjoyed it so much that he made his dad drive him down from Joburg for the next course a few months later.

“Byron is an U10 player who enjoyed his rugby until he attended the course. After listening to Jacques Botes and Braam van Straaten talk about passion and how to be a true professional - it ignited a flame and now Byron absolutely loves the game.” Byron’s Dad
While on the course, we arranged for Byron to go down to a Sharks Super Rugby training session where Jacques recognised him and invited him into the change room to meet his hero – Tendai “The Beast” Mtawarira. This was the perfect way to start the season for the nine year old and his team went on to win the Super 12, South East Rand League, Golden Lions and Bonde 2013.

Sean Robinson

Sean attended our Advanced Players Course at Glenwood High School and catapulted himself into the limelight by being selected for the Sharks in the Super 15.

Super Rugby was a huge step and his pace and flair with ball have made him a handful even at this level of the game. He continues to show great promise and we look forward to seeing Sean Robinson making a great impact in 2014.

Riaan O’niell

Year of attendance - June 2013

Riaan found himself in the disappointing position of being dropped from the Sharks U19 “extended squad”. This was a big blow to a player that had shown good promise as a youngster.

“It was still early in the season, but I had worked really hard to get into the Sharks U19 team. Unfortunately things weren’t going my way and I had to go back to playing club rugby. I then attended the Elite Players Course in June and this gave me the opportunity to get some great coaching. I learned so much in such a short space of time. It really helped my game and shortly after the course I got a call up” – Riaan O’Niell

Riaan went on to become a regular in the starting line up and had a great season for the Sharks U19 team.

Roan Dalzell

Year of attendance – June 2013

“I was told I was only the 4th or 5th hooker in the province and my dreams were shattered. I was unsure of my future and started doubting myself. The course gave me the confidence to go out and play my own rugby again and it really pushed me to a new height in my game. It was an amazing week in my life and it proved the difference between being ordinary and being the best I could be.”- Roan Dalzell

Roan was playing club rugby in Durban without real hope of playing for the Sharks U19 team. A week after attending the Elite Players Course working with John Allan, he was selected as the reserve hooker in the U19 team, and has never looked back.

He has developed into a “livewire” player and is a massive asset to any team.

Patrick Howard

Year of attendance – December 2010

Patrick comes from a good rugby school – Michaelhouse in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands and always dreamed of making rugby a career. Due to the sheer numbers of top quality players found in South Africa, it is tough to compete with the thousands of other players all wanting to live the same dream.

Patrick attended the Elite Players Course held at Riebeek Wes in 2009 and has gone from strength to strength on his journey to the top. He was selected for the SA U20 team shortly after the course and after making the move down to the Cape, has established himself as a rising star in the Western Province franchise. He may have to wait his turn, but he will no doubt be ready to take the step up and become a fantastic player in the years to come.

Michael van Vuuren

Year of attendance - December 2011

Michael attended the Investec International Rugby Academy’s Elite Players Course and this was the start of an incredible transformation in his career. Michael was the reserve hooker for the Cheetahs U19 Currie Cup team at the time he attended the Elite course; in just a few months he had moved up the ranks and started a very promising career as a rugby player. Within weeks of the course, he made the cut in an impressive list of squads - the Shimlas Varsity Cup, the Cheetahs Vodacom Cup, the Cheetahs Currie Cup, and the SA U20. Later in the year he attended the Junior World Cup as part of the South African “Baby Boks”.

Michael is now plying his trade in France at “Stade Francais” and has developed into a powerhouse hooker with a bright future.

“I have always had dreams of playing top rugby, but I never knew how much one course could impact my life and career. It was an awesome opportunity to learn about the game and it really did transform the way I thought about the game.” – Michael van Vuuren

Success Stories

Marlow Agricultural School

Marlow Agricultural School

Marlow is a small agricultural school in the Eastern Cape that loves its rugby almost as much as they love its farming. We did a three day pre-season coaching course with all of their rugby players and coaches. The initiative was set up by parents who had sent their children on previous Advanced Players Courses, and had seen the benefits that the Investec International Rugby Academy could provide to their entire rugby organisation.

After a fantastic course, just prior to their season, Marlow went on to make history by beating a top five ranked rival school for the first time and finishing in the top 20 school rankings. They have laid the platform for great things to come.

Selborne College

Selborne College

Selborne College in East London decided to invest in the Rugby at both college and primary school and sent seven coaches on the Advanced Coaching Course. After a great week of sharing knowledge and ideas, the coaches returned home full of excitement and anticipation leading into their 2012 Season.

The Selborne first XV, coached by Kevin Taylor and Max Norman who both attended the course, had a superb season ending at number four on the school rankings. The primary school followed closely behind with one of their best seasons ever.
“The game changes all the time and it is vital to stay up with all these new developments and that is why a course like this is so valuable. It triggered a new enthusiasm and passion for the game and allowed me learn to learn from some rugby greats.” – Kevin Taylor, Selborne College 1st XV coach.

Pirates Juniors U10

Pirates Juniors U10

“Even though I may have always been a good coach at heart, this course was the clue and the missing pieces that finally put this giant puzzle into place. I was blown away by what the course offers.” – Daniel Ribeiro, Pirates Junior Rugby Club U10 coach

After attending one of our Advanced Coaches courses, Daniel Ribeiro brought his team down to Durban on tour to attend an Intermediate Players Course as well as take on the best club sides in the area. It was a great week for both coaches and players and they experienced an amazing time with the likes of Braam van Straaten, Andy Keast, Peter de Villiers, Greg Miller, Gcobani Bobo and Ian Macdonald. On their return to Gauteng, the team went from being last in the league in 2012 to winning it in an unbeaten season in 2013.