Auryn Mark Murray.
Friday 16th of May 2014
24 Year old lock, Auryn Mark Murray, shares his United Kingdom SARU Exchange Rugby Player experience with us just after his recent return to South Africa. RDJ Sports Development organised Murray’s exchange experience with Bridlington RUFC with all expenses sponsored by the club for two seasons.
“It was a brilliant experience! Having had the opportunity to play two seasons for my UK club, I have made great friends with the people I have met there. Also travelling the world and seeing different parts of the UK was a bonus as well. Rugby was also great, very different to that of SA, but a great level of rugby. The weather and the playing conditions took some time to get used to. Playing on extremely soft and muddy pitches was a real learning curve,” comments Murray.
Murray recommends the SARU Exchange Player experience to any one: “Most definitely. I feel it does a lot for your game. Playing in different conditions can only benefit your game, and it’s a great way to travel and see a different part of the world.”
He has many fond memories of his exchange experience but this one is definitely the highlight: “No doubt, my best experience while on exchange in the UK is making it to the final of the Intermediate Cup which was held at Twickenham stadium. That whole experience was an amazing one. Getting the chance to play at Twickenham and use the English changing rooms was a once in a life time experience”.
“My experience with Richard De Jager, Director of RDJ Sports Development, was of someone who is very professional, knowledgeable and sticks to his word. Someone I can always rely on”, concluded Murray.
Originally from Sydenham, Durban, Murray now plays for Jaguars Rugby Football Club.
10th March 2014
Former Springbok Women Rugby Player, Janine Felix, just finished her time in England with the South African Rugby Union’s (SARU) Exchange Programme managed through RDJ Sports Development. Danita Beetge has spent some time with Janine before her departure back to South Africa.
You might wonder where did this lady’s dream all start. Janine grew up in Macassar, a coloured neighbourhood in Cape Town area in South Africa where she has always been a very active sporty person. It was when she has played for Western Province Ladies Rugby for almost eight years when she has been selected for the Springbok Women’s Squad – the first Springbok rugby women in her community.
RDJ Sports Development organised a rugby exchange programme for Janine at Aylesford Bulls Rugby Football Club, close to London, in England. When I have asked Janine about her experience at Aylesford Bulls, this was her reply: “It was an amazing exciting and well challenged experienced having to meet lots of good experienced rugby players, playing with them and also against some of them. I would also say I would have loved to stay a little bit longer to finish the season with my team - their first premiership league season.”
It was not all fun and games for Janine and she had to adapt quickly. “I would say the most difficult part was to adapt to England’s field conditions. The weather was not too bad as it does get cold in South Africa as well but just the muddy fields that they have. I am still not use to it but had most fun games in them,” comments Janine.
Janine’s highlight of the exchange programme was when their team has earned their first win and where she was also chosen as the ‘man of the match’.
“I would definitely recommend the RDJ Sports exchange programme to other players that would want to grow in their rugby, those thriving on challenges as well as gaining more experience in rugby. It gives people or players a great opportunity to grow within themselves, players that won't get that opportunity to explore other places as well as learning to know other cultures of other countries, their style of play as well as lifestyles they live. I would just like the programme to grow more – more people need to know about it,” concludes Janine.
18th March 2014
Ntsikayomzi Daka’s, better known as "DK", dream came true when he was selected to become part of the SARU Exchange Programme six months ago. RDJ Sports Development, on behalf of KZN Rugby Union and SARU, organised a placement for DK inEnglandplaying for Bridlington RUFC.
DK embraced his experience to the full extent, despite leaving his country and loving family for the first time at the age of 22 years and playing in constant wet and cold conditions. “I had a chance to play and rate myself but most of all I felt stronger as I was away from home. I played all my 21 games that I was meant to play in my six months stay, also going over the white line six times. I believe it has improved me as a player and I enjoyed the wet and cold conditions”.
DK continues to share: “I would recommend to any player who wishes to get better in the game to experience the SARU Exchange Programme. It’s a chance of getting out ofSouth Africaand meeting new people and seeing different cultures.” One of DK’s highlights was scoring a winning try for his team against the top of the league team.
DK’s rugby roots started in theEastern Cape,South Africawhere he is originally from. He moved toDurbanat the age of 21, after he had completed his high school years on a full sports scholarship at Dale College Boy's High School. After school, he also represented Border at Under U19 and under 21 Currie Cup ( He was the captain for the Under 21 season).
“This programme, run through RDJ Sports Development and Sharks/KZN Rugby Union, helped me believe that anything is possible in life. Not once did I ever think I would go overseas. My whole trip was coordinated by RDJ Sports, who took care of all the logistics and placement matters. To everyone involved I just want to say God Bless you all!! You all have given me a chance to keep fighting for a better life!” concludes DK.