Quintin van Jaarsveld
The Vikings Christian Rugby Academy doesn’t feel threatened by the Sharks Academy Southern KZN that will kick-off in Uvongo next year.
When the impending launch of the satellite Sharks Academy was confirmed last week, some in the local rugby fraternity feared it would come at a cost…specifically, at the expense of the Vikings, who many regard as a “proudly local institution”.
What started as an outreach of Norwegian Settlers Church in 2006 as a means to meet local youth where their passions are turned into the Vikings, which became a registered non-profit organisation (NPO) under the Genesis Trust umbrella.
It’s developed several representative players over the past 10 years and, despite not being affiliated with the South Coast Warriors, has been the club’s main feeder system of Under-20 talent.
Southern KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Sub-Union President Dougie Haralambous, who’s one of the Sharks Academy’s directors, has insisted that the two academies won’t be in competition, and Vikings operations manager Richard Harrell agrees.
“We welcome the news that they’ll be opening down here,” Harrell told eHowzit. “I think it’s going to solve a lot of problems and raise the standard of rugby on the South Coast.”
Harrell said aside from the Vikings being a Christian-based NPO, there are a number of key differences between the academies, which is why they don’t regard the Sharks Academy as a threat.
“I don’t think it’s going to affect us because we have a different vision in terms of developing players and guiding them to the next step of their careers.
“We focus on the development of the individual not only as a rugby player, but on a personal level as well. And, whereas their boys will be tailored for the Sharks, we get our players as much exposure as possible, not just within the KZN Rugby Union, but also at other unions.
“In general, I think it’s going to be a good thing for the sport as the Warriors will have a lot more well-trained players coming through, as opposed to in the past when they’ve been reliant on the Vikings to solely provide them with skilled young players.”