A strong line-up of 12 schools renowned for their rugby pedigree will participate in the 10th edition of the Standard Bank Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival next month.
This year’s line-up includes powerhouse teams Monument from Krugersdorp, Boksburg’s Dr EG Jansen, HTS Middelburg and Hoërskool Noord-Kaap from Kimberley, as well as the strong Eastern Cape schools Selborne College (East London), Dale College (King William’s Town), Queen’s College (Queenstown) andHoërskoolFramesby(Port Elizabeth), together with Glenwood High School and hosts Kearsney College from KZN. Newcomers to the festival are Pretoria Boys High and HTS Drostdy from Worcester in the Boland.
Sharks CEO Gary Teichmann said the strength, success and reputation of the festival were evident from the calibre of schools participating each year.
“The best schoolboy players compete against each other over a few days in a festival that attracts top coaches, scouts and fans from across the country,” he said.
Talent scouts from The Sharks and Sharks Academy will be on the lookout for gifted players during the three play days, scheduled over the Easter weekend for Thursday 13, Saturday 15 and Monday 17 April.Three bursaries, comprising a contract with The Sharks Academy and tuition bursary, will be awarded after the final match of the festival.
Whilst for many decades Easter rugby festivals were held in Gauteng at St John’s, St Stithians and KES, this festival at Kearsney College in Botha’s Hill has now become an important fixture on the calendars of supporters of outstanding schoolboy rugby.For the tenth year, it will provide an exciting weekend of competitive, top class running rugby, bringing some of the country’s best rugby talent to the province.
Kicking off each day’s play will be a match between primary school teams from Highbury, Westville Senior Primary, Umhlali and the KZN Ibutho/Mark Godefroy u13 development team. The six senior 1st XV fixtures follow each day.
Speaking at the launch Kearsney headmaster Elwyn van den Aardweg said there was a strong diversity of teams selected for this year’s festival, with schools representing the Eastern Cape, Boland, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal.
He said from the first festival 10 years ago, it had grown in support from sponsors, schools, spectators and the media and Kearney was again gearing up for capacity crowds this year. For the first time, live-streaming with professional commentary was being offered to supporters unable to make it to the festival, as well as giving players the opportunity to perform on a broader platform.
Van den Aardweg said a new co-sponsor, Halfway Ford, had come on board and would add dynamic flavour and energy to the event, together with on-going title sponsor Standard Bank and festival partners The Sharks, Sharks Academy and the KZN Rugby Union.
Standard Bank’s FunekaMontjanesaid through the festival they hoped to have a meaningful impact by championing the concept of health and friendship through sport, as well as supporting leaders of the future.
Etienne Fynn, managing director of The Sharks Academy, said the Sharks and Sharks Academy continued to benefit from the festival through the number of players who chose to follow a possible path into the professional ranks through them.
Endorsing their sponsorship of the festival, Halfway Ford’s Ward Huxtable said they were excited to be a major sponsor of this dynamic festival for the first time.“We’re proud to be associated with an event linked to the development of South Africa’s youth, and believe it’s the perfect platform to showcase our quality products.”
Festival organiser Mouton Badenhorst said sporting events such as this called on discipline, commitment, innovation and leadership from players - the human qualities required to build a better future for all.
“The Standard Bank Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival is an expression of youthful talent, which requires nurturing to produce tomorrow’s leaders. We hope that some of the country’s best young rugby players will enjoy the wonderful opportunity of testing their skills against the best in the game,” Badenhorst said.
The organisers have appealed to supporters to take new or good condition second-hand rugby kit and clothing to the festival, which can be left in designated collections bins on campus. Contributions to the ‘Boots and Balls’ outreach initiative, which was started two years ago, will be handed over to the KZN Rugby Union’s Development Programme during the closing ceremony. The items are sorted, repaired and distributed to development teams throughout the province.
Every effort is made to provide a family-friendly environment at the festival, offering entertainment for the very young to the seasoned enthusiast. There will be food outlets, a refreshment tent and fun KidZone for those wanting to enjoy a full day of entertaining rugby. Gate entrance is R20 per person and ample parking will be available.
Day 1 Thursday 13 April
08h30 Umhlali Prep vs KZN Ibutho / Mark Godefroy U13
09h30 Kearsney College vs HTS Drostdy
10h45 Selborne College vs Dr EG Jansen
12h00 Queen’s College vs Pretoria Boys High School
13h15 Hoërskool Monument vs Dale College
14h30 Glenwood High School vs HoërskoolFramesby
15h45 HTS Middelburg vs Hoërskool Noord-Kaap
Day 2 Saturday 15April
08h30 WestvilleSeniorPrimary vs KZN Ibutho / Mark Godefroy U13
09h30 Hoërskool Noord-Kaap vs Queen’s College
10h45 Selborne College vs Pretoria Boys High School
12h00 Kearsney College vs Hoërskool Framesby
13h15 Dr EG Jansen vs Glenwood High School
14h30 Dale College vs HTS Drostdy
15h45 Hoërskool Monument vs HTS Middelburg
Day 3 Monday 17April
08h30 Highbury Preparatory vs KZN Ibutho / Mark Godefroy U13
09h30 HTS Drostdy vs Pretoria Boys High School
10h45 Hoërskool Framesby vs Dr EG Jansen
12h00 HTS Middelburg vs Dale College
13h15 Glenwood High School vs Hoërskool Noord-Kaap
14h30 Selborne College vs Hoërskool Monument
15h45 Kearsney College vs Queen’s College
See www.kearsney.com for fixtures and festival information.
For further information:
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083 222 5211