The U13 Craven Week and U16 Grant Khomo Week will take place simultaneously at Kimberley’s Hoërskool Diamantveld from Monday. THEO GARRUN reports.
It’s never easy to make predictions when it comes to age-group sport – everyone has a brand new team each year – but, looking at past results and at the strength of the schools in the various provinces, it’s likely that the Western Province teams will be the ones to watch at both weeks.
Although the SA Schools Rugby authorities, and SA Rugby itself, are adamant that these interprovincial weeks are festivals, first and foremost, and that there are no official winners, it’s become clear over the years that the top two teams are matched in the last game of the final day and the winner of that game become the unofficial champions.
And Western Province won both those games last year in Bloemfontein. At the U13 Craven Week, they beat Eastern Province 28-0 in the ‘main game’, while their U16s beat South Western Districts 38-10 in the concluding fixture of the Grant Khomo Week.
Their opponents in last year’s U16 ‘final’, SWD, have 14 boys from Hoërskool Outeniqua in their ranks and Outeniqua’s U16s are a top 10-rated team, so SWD will be a factor again this year.
The Province side has six players from Paarl Gimnasium in its ranks and Paarl Gim are the top-rated U16 side in the country at this stage of the season.
Among the other sides that fared well in last year’s Grant Khomo Week were the Golden Lions and Free State. There are 14 Grey College players in the Free State side, and Grey’s U16s have had a good season, so they will be contenders. The Lions team has five representatives each from Helpmekaar, Monument and Jeppe – all three of which are top 10 schools – so they should also do well.
The U13 Craven Week is less easy to predict. It’s a first provincial outing for everyone and there is no real recruitment of players at this level. Western Province, Eastern Province, the Golden Lions and the Blue Bulls tend to be the most organised provinces and they traditionally do the best.
The fixtures for the first day have been announced. They are arranged on a strength vs strength basis for the next two days as the week progresses.
U16 Grant Khomo Week fixtures:
Monday, 2 July:
10:30 – Free State vs SWD
10:30 – Golden Lions vs Blue Bulls
10:30 – Limpopo vs Valke
10:30 – Zimbabwe vs Border CD
11:45 – Eastern Province vs Leopards
12:45 – Western Province vs Border
12:45 – Sharks vs Boland
12:45 – Griffons v Namibia
U13 Craven Week
Monday, 2 July:
09:30 – Sharks vs Blue Bulls
09:30 – Boland vs Pumas
09:30 – Zimbabwe vs Limpopo
09:30 – Border CD vs Griffons
11:45 – Western Province vs Leopards
11:45 – SWD vs Namibia
11:45 – Free State vs Valke
14:00 – Griquas vs Eastern Province
14:00 – Border vs Golden Lions
Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images