Lithuania Rugby Union, in partnership with the Lithuania Dept of Foreign Affairs and Olympic Committee, as well as the South African Rugby Union, have started a Volunteer Exchange programme, which seeks to use Coaches from Historically Disadvantaged Communities in South Africa, for 9 months to a year in the areas around the major Rugby Centres like Vilnius and Siauliai, to help with growing the game, and giving them an opportunity to grow as coaches and as individuals. The programme also hopes to assist LRU with the growth of their game nationally. More recently, the Programme ahs expanded to Basketball, with Zalgiris Basketball Club, of Kaunas, developing a partnership with Duzi Royals Basketball Club of Kwazulu Natal.
Players from Lithuania have been travelling to South Africa to play rugby for clubs and Schools in and around Durban and also attend the Sharks Academy Elite Course whilst in South Africa. The programme has been running for 4 years. In 2013 two players attended Northwood High School for 3 months and trained with and played for Old Boys in Durban and One player played for local club Crusaders and one played for Jaguars RFC. More recently, another young Lithuanian started school at a major rugby school in Kwa-Zulu Natal and has made one of the KZN Under 18 Teams.
The 5 Lithuanian boys that are down on a student and rugby exchange at Voortrekker High School through RDJ Sport Development.
From Left: Dainius Ζepnickas, Aleksas Baltruškevicius, Matas Šakenas, Eimantas Bagarauskas and Edvinas Bagarauskas.
Player Spotlight: Sabelo Sam
"My Experience and my rugby in the UK has been such an amasing journey that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Im staying in Alloa greenfield street in 2 bedroom apartment, we are currently unbeaten in the league. The people of Alloa have been so so amazing to me showing me so much love and the support each and everytime, the club management and the players has been great to me an I really appreciate that I grabbed this opportunity with my both hands when Mr Richard provided it for me and made use of it by hard work and determination. I've been coaching at Schools including Alloa Academy and Lornshill Academy. Special thanks to Everyone much love God bless."
Latest update from Lithuania is the appointment of Vuyo Zangqa as the Director of 7’s Rugby for Lithuanian RFU. Vuyo Zangqa is the ex - Springbok 7’s and ex Kenya 7’s Assistant Coach. This placement has been partially funded by Gavin Varejes, of SA Rugby Legends. He will travel again to Lithuania in March and then remain in Lithuania for 3 months.
Also the 5 Lithuanian Schoolboys who are currently on scholarship at Voortrekker High School for 2-3 years, travelled home on holiday for Xmas and New Year and recently returned to South Africa to continue attending school and playing 1st team rugby for the school.
Earlier this month a testing session was held for young 7’s players in Lithuania and run by Vuyo Zangqa and Ntando Majokweni. Next on the agenda are a visit to Lithuania by SARU officials and a possible visit by SA Rugby Legends as well.
RDJ Sports Development Ltd Director, Richard De Jager, also met Lithuanian RFU officials and also Zalgiris Basketball club, to meet potential Scholarship players for England and SA. (Pics on website)
Meetings were also held with Vilnius Academy and Zalgiris Basketball Club regarding the currently running exchange programme which started with the arrival of Thabo Dlamini to train with and play for Zalgiris BC. He will be in Kaunas until mid - March 2016.
Several pics were taken and can be seen below: