SARugbymag.co.za looks ahead to the 2019 St Stithians Easter Rugby Festival.
The St Stithians Easter Festival was first established in 1984 and is the oldest running tournament of its kind in South Africa. And while the prestigious festival has expanded to include cross country, football, hockey, netball, squash and tennis to transform the weekend into a celebration of sport, rugby remains the biggest drawcard.
THIS YEAR’S PARTICIPANTS
There are three team changes to the festival lineup this year. Graeme will skip this year’s event after accepting an invitation from St John’s, while Bishops and Clifton pulled out in order to give their players a rest over the Easter holidays. Saints festival organisers have replaced them with King David, Prince Edward from Zimbabwe and a combined Michaelhouse 2nd/3rd XV. Powerhouse’s such as Cape schools Rondebosch and SACS, Grey High from the Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal pair Maritzburg College and Michaelhouse are back again this year. But, as has been customary in previous years, Grey and Maritzburg have only committed to play over the first two days, paving the way for Northcliff and Trinityhouse to feature on day three.
MATCHES TO WATCH
While none of South Africa’s top 20-ranked schools from last year are participating at the festival, there will still be a number of highly-anticipated encounters. In the must-see fixture on day one, Michaelhouse take on Grey High in the last game of the day. In what should be an epic encounter, hosts St Stithians face SACS in the last game on Saturday, but it is the earlier clash between Rondebosch and Grey that should capture the attention. St Stithians will then close out the festival with a big match against Michaelhouse on Monday.
Day 1 (18 April)
King David vs Michaelhouse 2nd/3rd XV (09:45)
SACS vs Kingswood (11:00)
Maritzburg vs Parktown Boys’ (12:15)
St Stithians vs Prince Edward (13:30)
St Andrew’s vs Rondebosch (14:45)
Michaelhouse vs Grey High (16:00)
Day 2 (20 April)
St Stithians 2nd/3rd XV vs Michaelhouse 2nd/3rd XV (09:45)
Prince Edward vs Parktown Boys’ (11:00)
Rondebosch vs Grey High (12:15)
Kingswood vs Maritzburg (13:30)
St Andrew’s vs Michaelhouse (14:45)
St Stithians vs SACS (16:30)
Day 3 (22 April)
St Stithians 2nd/3rd vs King David (08:00)
Kingswood vs Trinityhouse (09:15)
Rondebosch vs Northcliff (10:30)
Prince Edward vs SACS (11:45)
St Andrew’s vs Parktown (13:00)
St Stithians vs Michaelhouse (14:15)
Photo: St Stithians/Facebook