Taking place for the 3rd year in a row in South Africa

I consider myself blessed to have a great partnership between our company ShadowBall and the South African office automation corporate giant Nashua that has put the catch phrase “A New Spin On Rugby” into action. What has become the much lauded Nashua Rugby Skills Project (NRSP) is the only inter-schools rugby skills competition in South Africa and the world.

Our ShadowBall is a much needed skills training aid and programme that solves the big problem of passing and catching skill deficiency in our rugby players. This great partnership highlights Nashua’s incredible commitment to SA rugby . We are truly grateful to be the beneficiaries of this sponsorship and to be trusted with the task of executing their intent to use rugby as a tool to develop better youth for the future of South Africa.

Personal skill development is very close to my heart and is such a vital element of a child’s upbringing that is not always handed down by fathers, parents and coaches. Many homes in South Africa do not have a father present help and guide kids or to even pass and catch ball. At ShadowBall we believe our program really teaches the kids how to rapidly improve any skill. A lesson which we strongly believe can be applied later in life.

Our “double loop” process where we test, train and re test 6 weeks later after the kids have trained with the ShadowBall Pass Booster Program and provide feedback to coaches and players with or interactive feedback platform See it here (gives players and coaches a real way to evaluate the fruit the work . Our hope is that they get a taste of the power of innovation and apply this lesson to up-skill themselves in the future.

Whats really pleasing is too see the skills and the winning rates of the participating schools soar. When I look at this testimonial it makes my heart smile (see video here) We hear many similar stories fo schools who entered the NRSP, followed the program and have seen massive increases in there tries scored and in their winning rates.

Thanks to the efforts of our amazing ground crew who deliver each event perfectly and the franchise staff at Nashua who handle the organisations for each of the 70 annual events , there have been really good business retains for Nahsua. The fact that this project hits the double sponsorship bottom line of up-skilling kids and making money for the sponsor the success has allowed them to continue this sponsorship for 3 years. We are not certain in this will continue and we are open to other sponsorship offers.

We are not only passionate about delivering skills upliftment but we are also very passionate about the business of sport and making sure our sponsors get amazing ROI. We work very hard to track and monitor the ROI with Nashau and makes us proud to say that through their investment in Sport, Nashua are seeing up to 5 to ROI. Business from year 1’s sponsorship continues to grow as does year 2 and 3. We’ve learned that ROI grows as they reap the long term rewards that a program like this delivers to create last long term relationships with schools.

The mammoth project spans three countries and 35 cities and involves 35,000km of travel per year, 40 former springboks appearances, five permanent staff, 475 volunteers and has tested and trained over 5500 players in 3 years

Across all the 5,000 players and 140 schools the project has achieved the following: 

  • On average, all players have improved by 42%. 
  • Top performers improved by an average of 107%. 
  • The top 10 schools improved by on average of 167%.
  • The highest recorded individual improvement was from a player from Paarl Boys High who increased his skill level by 300%. 

Using scientific data every step of the way, the NRSP team runs a high-tech leader board on their website for players and teams to keep track of progress and a R30,000 prize is awarded to the winning school. Additionally, nearly R50,000 in prizes is distributed to players from ShadowBall and their partners. 

This year, the NRSP has grown from 32 to 35 host schools and doubled the number of schools to be accommodated at each event to four. 

The half a rugby ball and its science-backed training programme has also achieved international acclaim and it is now being used by players from outstanding teams such as the All Blacks, Wallabies, British and Irish Lions, Scotland and has been officially endorsed by the hosts of this years’ Rugby World Cup, the Japanese Rugby Union and top pro Japanese team theSun Wolves.

Locally, the concept is used by several Springbok and Springbok 7’s players plus provincial teams such as the Sharks and Golden Lions. It has also been endorsed by acclaimed former South African rugby coach, Jake White, who coached the Springboks to victory in 2007 Rugby World Cup. In 2018, the NRSP was nominated for two Sports Industry awards in the categories of Cutting Edge Sport and Best New Sponsorship. 

The NRSP has always aimed at making a meaningful increase in the rugby passing and catching skills of players at grassroots level and positively impacting school communities through rugby, engaging them in an inclusive and exciting way. Judging by its trailblazing path, year three of the NRSP is set to continue this trend. 2