Mzwandile Mali School Rugby Tournament Logo

Creating a Platform for
the Springbok Team of
generations to come

The revival of township school rugby has come. This annual Tournament seeks to create opportunities for rugby-players from impoverished backgrounds and honour the legacy of the rugby stalwart Mzwandile Mali. 

"Siya and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the very best with your endeavors."

Siya and Rachel Kolisi

"Thank you for giving hope to the young kids out there   and creating the environment for the future Siya Kolisi's and Makazole Mapimpi's. Being given an opportunity to do what you love and play this beautiful game of rugby and also stand a chance to tour UK is a dream for every kid out there in the township."

Mzwandile Stick, Springbok Assistant Coach



“On this day, 10 years ago, I lost my father, mentor and friend, Mzwandile Wellington Mali. He did not leave us a will, as he had no material riches to bequeath. He left us a rich legacy of leadership, selflessness, integrity, probity, excellence and a remarkable reputation for standing up for his beliefs, principles, values and the truth regardless of personal consequences. His was a life well lived and an example to be emulated. May his soul rest in eternal peace, we will endeavor to match our tiny footsteps to his giant steps. Lala ngoxolo Lawu, Chwama, Dibashe, icekwa lilele nathi.”

Watch the Tribute Video


19th March

Quarter-final matches

Isaac Wolfson Stadium

20th March

Semi-final matches

Final, and Prize-giving

Isaac Wolfson Stadium


Rugby was introduced to the Eastern Cape in the 1880’s. The first black rugby club, the Union Rugby Football Club, was formed in 1887 in Port Elizabeth  followed in 1894 by the establishment of the Orientals Rugby Football Club (The Blues).

My father Mzwandile Mali played rugby for Cowan High School during the 1950's, and later for the Orientals RFC. I was born into this tradition and played rugby at Mzontsundu Secondary School, Newell High, and Ithembelihle High School.  I achieved my rugby Provincial Colours in 1985, when I was selected along with my dear friend Namhla Mjo, to play for the Kwaru Colts. I later played rugby for our local club, Springrose RFC. Once I reached university level I then played for the Rhodes University rugby team.

Township rugby was vibrant in schools and clubs until the turbulent times of political strife in the 1980's. Over time, due to poor administration, lack of sponsorship and the growth of other sporting codes, township schools rugby was negatively impacted across the Eastern Cape.

In response to this, I initiated and sponsored the Mzwandile Mali Schools Rugby Tournament to:

•  Honour the legacy of my father

•  Revive school's rugby in townships

•  Provide a feeder to the club and provincial rugby system.

Reviving school rugby through the Tournament unearths hidden talent and creates excitement about rugby throughout the Eastern Cape and beyond. Boys learn valuable lessons that they can carry with them into adulthood.

-Lincoln Mali-

How It Works

7th Mzwandile Mali Schools Rugby Tournament:

This year’s tournament will be contested by township and village schools from Port Elizabeth (20), Grahamstown (6) and Fort Beaufort (4) who will play in the knockout games round. The quarter-finals, to be held in Port Elizabeth, will feature 6 teams from Port Elizabeth and one team from Grahamstown and Fort Beaufort on the 19th March 2020. The semi-finals finals and the final will be played on 20th March 2020. Both the semi-finals and final matches will be played at the Isaac Wolfson Stadium.

I am delighted to announce that the Sevenoaks Rugby Club based in Kent, England have invited the Mzwandile Mali Schools Rugby Team to tour in September 2020. I have no words to describe my joy at this amazingly generous gesture from the Sevenoaks Rugby Club. I would sincerely like to thank my dear friend and former colleague, Louis Botes, a proud South African, and a junior coach at Sevenoaks, who responded to my plea for the development of township and village rugby particularly after the incredible outcomes of the Springboks' victory in the most recent Rugby World Cup.

The touring party is scheduled to leave South Africa on 17th September and return on 27th September 2020. They will play games against the Sevenoaks junior team and against schools such as the prestigious Tonbridge School in Kent. The tour will also include coaching lessons, nutrition and physical training, life skills lessons and sightseeing tour at the end of the trip. I have goosebumps just thinking about the trip, for many of these boys this trip will be a life-changing experience and a motivation for success.


Prize-giving and announcements will take place after the final match on 20 March 2020:

Team prizes
  • The winning school receives R50 000 and the Mzwandile Mali Schools Rugby Tournament trophy
  • The runner-up winning school will receive R25 000
  • The semi-finalist schools will each receive R10 000 
  • All participating schools will each receive R1 000 for their participation.
Individual prizes
  • The Man of the Tournament will receive R10 000 and a R10 000 bursary
  • The Coach of the Tournament will receive R10 000 
  • The Backline Player of the Tournament will receive R5 000
  • The Front row Player of the Tournament will receive R5 000.

Mzwandile Mali Rugby Team 2020

The best 25 players from all of the games played in Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown and Fort Beaufort will be invited to form part of the Mzwandile Mali Rugby Team. We hope that this team will represent the best of what our young Eastern Cape township rugby talent has to offer, and that in so doing they are able to participate in games with established local schools, and attract further attention from local rugby scouts and clubs.

These players will also form part of the team who have been invited to go on tour in September 2020. They will be hosted by the Sevenoaks Rugby Football Club, based in Kent, England.