Easter schools festivals preview

SA Rugby magazine looks ahead to the festivals at Kearsney, KES, St John's and St Stithians.


Since the first edition in 2008, the Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival has grown rapidly to become one of the most prestigious schoolboy festivals in the country. Three standout performers at the festival receive an all-expenses paid bursary for the Sharks Academy.

Seven of the country’s top 20-ranked schools will line up at the 2015 festival. Only two teams have been replaced this year, with Nico Malan and Monument making way for Hoërskool Menlopark and SACS.

Day one will see EG Jansen take on Affies, while top-ranked Grey College tackle HTS Middelburg. Selborne’s match-up against Menlopark headlines day two, while the penultimate game of the 2015 festival sees Grey College and EG Jansen face each other.

‘Durban is a social hub over Easter and one of the major drawcards, especially for the upcountry schools, is the magnificent weather we experience during this time. We have a rotation policy when it comes to the teams we invite as we don’t want the same fixtures every year. Our end goal is to create an atmosphere of togetherness, through traditional, exciting schoolboy rugby, played in the right spirit.’ – Kearsney director of rugby Keith Thompson


Day 1 (2 April)
Kearsney vs Selborne (09:30)
SACS vs Dale (10:45)
Menlopark vs Westville (12:00)
EG Jansen vs Affies (13:15)
Glenwood vs Framesby (14:30)
Grey College vs HTS Middelburg (15:45)

Day 2 (4 April)
Selborne vs Menlopark (09:30)
Westville vs Dale (10:45)
Kearsney vs Grey College (12:00)
Affies vs SACS (13:15)
Glenwood vs HTS Middelburg (14:30)
Framesby vs EG Jansen (15:45)

Day 3 (6 April)
Westville vs SACS (09:30)
Framesby vs Affies (10:45)
HTS Middelburg vs Selborne (12:00)
Glenwood vs Menlopark (13:15)
Grey College vs EG Jansen (14:30)
Kearsney vs Dale (15:45)


The KES Easter Rugby and Hockey Festival was first staged in 2002 as part of the school’s centenary celebrations and has become an annual event.

The number of teams has increased from 12 to 14. The organisers replaced four teams that participated last year – Grey High, Marlow, Menlopark and Trinityhouse – with Ben Vorster, Daniel Pienaar, Durban High, Hudson Park, Kingswood and St David’s Marist. 

The last match of the festival between hosts KES and Queen’s College promises to be a cracker, with St David’s taking on Kingswood College in the ‘curtain-raiser’.

‘The KES festival was initially arranged as a once-off event, but its immense success saw it become an integral part of the school’s sports calendar. We have seen enormous growth over the years, with sponsorships being sought in the form of package deals, and individual advertising via wedges/boards around the field.’ – KES festival organiser Derron van Eeden


Day 1 (2 April)
Hudson Park vs Hentie Cilliers (08:00)
St David’s Marist vs Graeme College (09:20)
Kingswood College vs Parktown Boys’ (10:40)
Queen’s College vs Northwood Boys’ (12:00)
Daniel Pienaar vs Eldoraigne (13:20)
KES vs Ben Vorster (14:40)
Durban High School vs Rondebosch Boys’ (16:00)

Day 2 (4 April) 
St David’s Marist vs Durban High School (08:00)
Ben Vorster vs Eldoraigne (09:20)
Hentie Cilliers vs Kingswood College (10:40)
Daniel Pienaar vs Northwood Boys’ (12:00)
Hudson Park vs Graeme College (13:20)
Parktown Boys’ vs Queen’s College (14:40)
KES vs Rondebosch Boys’ (16:00)

Day 3 (6 April)
Hentie Cilliers vs KES Invitation XV (08:00)
Northwood Boys’ vs Graeme College (09:20)
Hudson Park vs Parktown Boys’ (10:40)
Eldoraigne vs Durban High School (12:00)
Daniel Pienaar vs Ben Vorster (13:20)
St David’s Marist vs Kingswood College (14:40)
KES vs Queen’s College (16:00)


St John’s will celebrate their festival’s 20th anniversary this year. Since its inception in 1995, 12 local and international teams have come to Houghton to play in one of the few rugby festivals that focuses on camaraderie and enjoyment, instead of competition. While St John’s make a point of rotating schools annually, Cape powerhouses Paarl Boys’ and Paul Roos have attended every festival over the past decade and will be there again this year.

The organisers have replaced six of the 2014 contestants – Waterkloof, Pretoria Boys’, Noordheuwel, Klein Nederburg, Australia’s Scots College and St John’s from Harare – with Garsfontein, Hilton, Monument, St Benedicts, a Lions Invitational XV and Italian club side Viadana. 

Day one’s headline clash sees Hilton take on Nelspruit, who were ranked ninth in South Africa last year. On day two, Nelspruit will be out to prove their two victories in three meetings over third-ranked Garsfontein in 2014 were no fluke. On day three, Paul Roos, ranked second last year, tackle sixth-ranked Monument before Paarl Boys’, ranked 13th last year, take on Garsfontein in the festival finale.

‘It has always been our aim to introduce different schools to each other. Sponsorships, advertising, marketing and TV broadcasts may come into play, but we want our festival to remain an educational tool.’ – St John's master of rugby Adrian Norris


Day 1 (2 April)
St Charles vs Jeppe (12:45)
Lions Invitational XV vs Garsfontein (13:30)
Paul Roos vs Viadana (14:45)
Hilton vs Nelspruit (16:45)
St Benedict’s vs Monument (18:00)
Paarl Boys’ vs St John’s (19:15)

Day 2 (4 April)
St Benedict’s vs St Charles (08:45)
Lions Invitational XV vs Viadana (10:00)
Nelspruit vs Garsfontein (11:15)
St John’s vs Hilton (13:30)
Paarl Boys’ vs Monument (14:45)
Paul Roos vs Jeppe (16:00)

Day 3 (6 April)
St Charles vs Viadana (09:00)
St John’s vs Lions Invitational XV (10:45)
Paul Roos vs Monument (11:30)
St Benedict’s vs Hilton (13:30)
Nelspruit vs Jeppe (14:45)
Paarl Boys’ vs Garsfontein (16:00)


The St Stithians Easter Festival was first staged in 1984 and the 32nd edition will take place from 2-6 April. The festival has grown over the years, with different schools invited every two to three years to ensure top quality, exciting, attacking rugby.

The organisers have replaced four schools from 2014 – Hilton, Linden, SACS and St Benedict’s – with Clifton, Grey High, Michaelhouse and Pretoria Boys’ High. Two additional teams, a Schoonspruit Invitational XV and St Alban’s, have also been invited.

There are two big clashes on day one, with Pretoria Boys’ taking on Wynberg Boys’ and Maritzburg College facing Grey High, who were ranked fifth in the country last year. Pretoria Boys’ will play Grey High on day three.


Day 1 (2 April)
St Andrews vs St Alban’s (09:45)
Pretoria Boys’ vs Wynberg Boys’ (11:00)
Windhoek vs Clifton (12:15)
St Stithians vs Schoonspruit Invitational XV (13:30)
Helpmekaar vs Michaelhouse (14:45)
Maritzburg vs Grey High (16:00)

Day 2 (4 April)
Windhoek vs Pretoria Boys’ (09:45)
St Alban’s vs Maritzburg (11:00)
Schoonspruit Invitational XV vs Clifton (12:15)
Wynberg Boys’ vs St Andrews (13:30)
Grey High vs Helpmekaar (14:45)
Old Stithian Association vs Michaelhouse Old Boys (sevens) (16:00)
St Stithians vs Michaelhouse (16:30)

Day 3 (6 April)
Michaelhouse vs Windhoek (09:45)
Maritzburg College vs Schoonspruit Invitational XV (11:00)
Pretoria Boys’ vs Grey High (12:15)
Wynberg Boys’ vs St Alban’s (13:30)
St Stithians vs Clifton (14:45)
Helpmekaar vs St Andrews (16:00)

Compiled by Mariette Adams & Matthew Sims

– This article first appeared in the March 2015 issue of SA Rugby magazine

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Simon Borchardt