The series of Youth Weeks will reach a thrilling conclusion with the kick off of the U18 Craven Week and Academy Week in Bloemfontein on Monday.
A total of 11 matches will be played on two fields on a jam-packed opening day of action across the two tournaments.
Hosts, Free State Cheetahs, will kick off the Academy Week at 8am on Monday when they host the Sharks on the A Field, with Border CD and the Pumas CD battling it out at the same time on the B Field. With the home side having progressed to the final match of the tournament last season, adding to their home ground advantage this year, the KwaZulu-Natal side will expect a big onslaught.
The Craven Week, meanwhile, will get underway at 10:40am with the Valke taking on the Leopards, which will be followed by a clash between the Pumas and SWD Eagles.
In the two big match-ups, Western Province, who took top honours last season will host their neighbours, Boland, in an exciting Western Cape derby, while, the Free State Cheetahs will line up against the Sharks, who advanced to the final match last year.
Free State’s Craven Week hooker Andre-Hugo Venter is the son of former Springbok loose-forward Andre Venter, while centre Ian Small-Smith is the brother of the Cheetahs’ William Small-Smith.
Sharks flyhalf Jordan Hendrikse, meanwhile, is the brother of Junior Springbok scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse, who was nominated for the World Rugby U20 Championship Breakthrough Player of the Tournament award in Rosario, earlier this month.
The first match of the Academy Week aside, the other main match-up on day one will pit 2018’s top side, Western Province, against the Blue Bulls at 09:20am.
U18 Craven Week fixtures (Monday, 1 July):
10:40am – Valke vs Leopards (A Field)
12:10pm – Pumas vs SWD Eagles (A Field)
13:40pm – Western Province vs Boland (A Field)
15:40pm – Free State Cheetahs vs Sharks (A Field)
Academy Week fixtures (Monday, 1 July):
8am – Free State Cheetahs v Sharks (A Field)
8am – Border CD v Pumas CD (B Field)
09:20am – Cell C Sharks CD v Leopards (B Field)
09:20am – Western Province v Blue Bulls (A Field)
10:40am – EP Elephants CD v Western Province XV (B Field)
12pm – Zimbabwe v Boland (B Field)
13:20pm – EP Elephants v Limpopo Blue Bulls (B Field)