Arch-rivals clash at Craven Week

Western Province and the Blue Bulls will meet on the opening day of this year's U18 Craven Week in Stellenbosch.

The top schoolboy rugby players in the country will look to make their mark at the Markötter Sports Complex at Paul Roos Gymnasium from Monday, in the grand spectacle of schools rugby.

The tournament marks the final competition in the youth weeks series, and includes 20 provincial teams in total.

The rugby festival, which will also commemorate the 150th anniversary of Paul Roos Gymnasium, begins on Monday with 10 teams taking to the field, while the remaining teams will play their first round of matches on Tuesday. The tournament will conclude on Saturday.

With WP having the luxury of home-ground advantage, and given their success at the U13 Craven Week in White River and at the Academy Week in Vanderbijlpark, there will be high expectations on the Cape side, in particular.

Namibia and Border CD will meet in the opening match at 8:30am, while the main clash of the day sees WP go up against rivals the Blue Bulls at 3:30pm in what should be a thrilling north-south derby.

In the main contests on Tuesday, KwaZulu-Natal will square-off against the Golden Lions, and Eastern Province take on the SWD Eagles.

Interestingly, the match on Tuesday between EP and SWD will mark a repeat of last year’s final, which the Port Elizabeth team won 25-7. The victory marked the first time in 37 years that they emerged as the top team in the U18 showpiece.

Day 1 fixtures:

08:30 – Namibia vs Border CD
10:00 – Boland vs Limpopo Blue Bulls
11:30 – Pumas vs Border
13:00 – Free State vs Griffons
15:30 – Western Province vs Blue Bulls

Day 2 fixtures:

09:00 – Griquas CD vs Zimbabwe
10:30 – Valke vs Eastern Province CD
12:00 – Leopards vs Griquas
13:30 – KwaZulu-Natal vs Golden Lions
15:00 – Eastern Province vs SWD Eagles

Photo: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images

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