The 2023 edition of the Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival (KERF) gets underway on Thursday and will this year feature one of England’s top schools for the first time.
Considering the volume of provincial and international players the event has produced since its 2008 inception, plenty of future pros are expected to take to the Stott over the three play days.
Joining this year’s line-up for the first time is Hartpury College from Gloucestershire. The English side is a powerhouse of note, having claimed the UK’s national ACE League title a whopping 10 times in the past 12 years. NextGenXV, a global hub of school rugby, recently named them the world’s best at producing professional players. No small accomplishment – and a possible warning sign to local teams.
From KZN Glenwood, Westville Boys’ High and Durban High School will join the hosts again this year. Gauteng giants Hoërskool Dr EG Jansen (Boksburg) and Hoërskool Monument (Krugersdorp) return, with Dale College (Qonce), Hoërskool Framesby (Gqeberha) and Hoër Landbouskool Marlow (Cradock) making up the Eastern Cape contingent.
Hoërskool Noord-Kaap from Kimberley and debutants Worcester Gimnasium (Western Cape) complete the South African lineup.
The action takes place over Easter weekend, with play on Thursday 6, Saturday 8 and Monday 10.
Kearsney’s pre-season form has been encouraging. They face Dale in the festival opener, before taking on EG Jansen on Day 2 and Hartpury on the final day. Hartpury will be the first international school to participate at the festival since New Zealand’s Christ College in 2011.
Glenwood, so often KZN’s standard bearers, face Marlow, Dale and Worcester; the latter set to be the surprise package after some stellar performances so far this year. The Green Machine won two of their three games at last year’s event and will be going for a full house this time around.
Framesby left Botha’s Hill unbeaten last year after knocking over EG Jansen and the hosts, with a 14-all draw to Pretoria Boys’ High sandwiched between. They’re back, also searching for a 100% win record this year, but will find stiff competition in Monument, DHS and Noord-Kaap.
Other sides looking to make a big splash this Easter include Durban High School and Westville Boys. The latter was edged 24-25 at Glenwood and beaten 0-15 at DHS earlier this year. Dale College has performed particularly well in the build-up and are in for a promising season.
In KERF tradition, a curtain raiser between primary school teams will kick off each day’s action at 08h00, with KZNRU Ibutho/Mark Godefroy U13, Umhlali Prep, Highbury, Westville Senior Primary and Hillcrest Primary involved this time around. Senior teams will play from 09h00.
Spectators are again ensured of a festival highlighting outstanding youthful talent. The list of festival alumni is staggering, with Springboks like Grey College’s Jan Serfontein and Johan Goosen, RG Snyman (Affies), Handre Pollard (Paarl Gim) and Warrick Gelant (Outeniqua) all having turned out for their respective schools at events past. More recently Jaden Hendrikse (Glenwood) and Aphelele Fassi (Dale) played at the festival.
Gate entrance is R30 per person with ample secure parking. Food and refreshment outlets, a coffee shop, beer tent and KidZone will ensure a full day of entertainment for the whole family.
Download the Kearsney College Events app from Google Play or iStore for full and up-to-date festival news, including team information, fixtures, results and match reports. All matches will be live-streamed on the SuperSport Schools app and website.
Day 1: Thursday 6 April
09:00 Kearsney College vs Dale College
10:20 Durban High School vs Worcester Gimnasium
11:40 Hoërskool Monument vs Hoërskool Framesby
13:00 Westville Boys’ High School vs Hoërskool Noord-Kaap
14:20 Hoërskool Dr E G Jansen vs Hartpury College (UK)
15:40 Glenwood High School vs Hoër Landbouskool Marlow
Day 2: Saturday 8 April
09:00 Hartpury College (UK) vs Westville Boys’ High School
10:20 Worcester Gimnasium vs Hoër Landbouskool Marlow
11:40 Glenwood High School vs Dale College
13:00 Hoërskool Dr E G Jansen vs Kearsney College
14:20 Durban High School vs Hoërskool Framesby
15:40 Hoërskool Monument vs Hoërskool Noord-Kaap
Day 3: Monday 10 April
09:00 Worcester Gimnasium vs Glenwood High School
10:20 Hoër Landbouskool Marlow vs Durban High School
11:40 Hoërskool Monument vs Dale College
13:00 Westville Boys’ High School vs Hoërskool Dr E G Jansen
14:20 Hoërskool Framesby vs Hoërskool Noord-Kaap
15:40 Kearsney College vs Hartpury College (UK)