Cape Town - The participation of many of South Africa’s top ranked rugby-playing schools at the eighth Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival serves to highlight its prestigious status among players, coaches and supporters.
This year’s festival has attracted powerhouse teams from Grey College in Bloemfontein, Affies and Menlo Park from Pretoria, EG Jansen from Boksburg, HTS Middelburg from Mpumalanga; as well as Selborne, Dale College and Framesby from the Eastern Cape; SACS from Cape Town; with Glenwood, Westville Boys’ High and hosts Kearsney College from KwaZulu-Natal.
In endorsing the festival, John Smit, CEO of the Sharks and former Springbok coach, said schoolboy rugby plays an invaluable role in the development of South Africa’s rugby culture.
“Rugby at schools is a place where the values of sportsmanship, team work, hard work, perseverance, respect and honour can be taught and embraced,” he said.
Some of the country’s finest rugby talent will be on display at the festival, and the event provides opportunities for players to be noticed and advance their rugby careers at provincial and national level, Smit said.
Talent scouts and selectors from The Sharks and Sharks Academy will again watch all three play days over the Easter weekend: Thursday 2nd, Saturday 4th and Monday 6th April.
The Sharks Academy will offer full bursaries for 2016 to three selected players. Backed by the Sharks, the bursaries will include a contract with the Sharks Academy, accommodation and a tuition bursary with one of its reputable education partners. Each bursary is valued at R100 000. The recipients will be announced immediately after the final game of the festival.
The participation yet again of teams renowned for their rugby pedigree reinforces the prestigious status of this festival, said Kearsney headmaster Elwyn van den Aardweg.
Speaking at the launch of the 2015 festival, Van den Aardweg noted that the Kearsney festival had grown significantly since its inception in 2008 and was certain to again attract capacity crowds this year. They were excited to be welcoming Menlo Park and SACS for the first time, he said.
Three primary school teams - from Highbury, Pelham and Umhlali Preparatory - have also been invited to showcase their skills against the KZNRU Ibutho / Mark Godefroy Under-13 team. Kicking off play each day, this fixture offers youngsters the opportunity of playing in front of large crowds and experiencing the festival atmosphere. This will be followed by six premier high school fixtures on each of the three play days.
Numerous food outlets and a refreshment tent will ensure spectators can fully enjoy the special family atmosphere. No alcohol will be permitted to be brought on to the campus. Entry is R20 for pedestrians and R50 per vehicle with ample parking available. Entry includes a glossy festival brochure providing team information and player statistics.
Fixtures and festival information are available on www.kearsney.com
PLAY DAYS OVER EASTER WEEKEND
Day 1: Thursday, April 2
Day 2: Saturday, April 4
Day 3: Monday, April 6
08:30 - KZN Under-13 Provincial Development v Umhlali Prep
09:30 - Kearsney College v Selborne College
10:45 - SACS v Dale College
12:00 - Menlo Park v Westville Boys'
13:15 - Dr EG Jansen v Affies
14:30 - Glenwood v Framesby
15:45 - Grey College v HTS Middelburg
08:30 - KZN Under-13 Provincial Development v Pelham
09:30 - Selborne College v Menlo Park
10:45 - Westville Boys' v Dale College
12:00 - Kearsney College v Grey College
13:15 - Affies v SACS
14:30 - Glenwood High v HTS Middelburg
15:45 - Framesby v Dr EG Jansen
08:30 - KZN Under-13 Provincial Development v Highbury Prep
09:30 - Westville Boys' v SACS
10:45 - Framesby v Affies
12:00 - HTS Middelburg v Selborne College
13:15 - Glenwood High v Menlo Park
14:30 - Grey College v Dr EG Jansen
15:45 - Kearsney College v Dale College
17:00 - Awarding of Sharks Academy Bursaries
From left to right: Kearsney headmaster Elwyn van den Aardweg, Sharks CEO John Smit, Sharks prop and former Kearsney 1st XV Matt Stevens and Sharks Academy MD Etienne Fynn (Supplied)