As the sun rises over Burger Field and anticipation of the weekend ahead starts to fill the air let’s have a look at the programme and take a brief moment and consider a few interesting facts about the teams and players who will be participating in this wonderful feast of schoolboy rugby.
The Big Boys Club will most definitely be led by Affies from Pretoria. Seems like these boys only eat steak if you look at their size. With and average front row weight of 105 kilograms and the forward pack weighing an average of 100 kg, they will bring some grunt upfront. They also have the heaviest backline at the festival at 85 kg on average. They are not a very tall side though. Their average height is only 1.84 metres with the pack measuring in at 1.87m and perhaps important at lineout time, their tall timber is not quite as tall as perhaps we may have expected at only 1.87m on average.
A very close second are the men from down under. The NSW Combined High Schools, all the way from ‘Stralia brought along a couple of double oversized ‘roos as well. With an average pack weight of 99 kilograms, they sport a few beasts more suitable to the African bush. Their front row averages a massive 114 kilograms, with four in the group tipping the scale over the 110kg mark. Their two heavies, the Vati boys, should sit on either side of the bench please, to avoid a see-saw effect for the rest of the replacements. Kendall Vati is the heaviest player on display at 138 kg, followed closely by Isaac Vati at 136 kg. Although they are not a tall team at only 1.83m, they have one tall mate sporting a #5 jumper. He is the 2.00m tall Ek Lambert, second tallest player at the festival.
Paarl Boys have a meat-eater in their midst as well. Roubert Bester tips the scale at 124 kilograms, and as an under-17 surely still growing. If these stats check out then Boishaai are also fielding the shortest player at the festival, 1.62m scrumhalf Eric Myburgh.
Paul Roos, not to be outdone themselves, brought along the lightest individual player in the 59kg Gerado Jaars.
The featherweight division will be headed by Eye Of The Tiger with an average team weight of only 83 kg. Their front row weighs in at 98 kg per man and their pack sports a light 87 kg on average, but it is the backline which will draw attention with an average weight of only 72 kg if the stats provided in the programme are correct. EOTT also boast the second shortest player and shortest forward at the fest in the openside flanker Audrin Marthinus who stands 1.63m in his boots.
The tallest player at the festival is the lanky #4 lock from Parktown, Simao Dioniso, an under-17 player measuring 2.01m and weighing only 96 kg.
Florida have an average player height of 1.89m with their forward pack a tall 1.91m on average and their tall timber at 1.93m on average. That must be taller than a senior provincial team back in the day when we only had a choice of two types of boots,when gum guards, shoulder pads and mental toughness training was something we only read about in ice hockey articles.Florida brought along their own giant as well. The 2m and 120kg Brandon Jancovich will wear jersey #17 and provide considerable impact from the bench. Florida is also the tallest team at the festival.
EOTT field the most U19 players. They have an army of 8 taking the field. Parktown is second with 6 U19 players. The only other significant number is St. John’s Harare with 4 U19 players.
The youngest team at the festival is NSW with 17 players in the squad that are still U17 (and remember how big they are!!!). Florida have 12 U17 players, whilst Hilton and Paul Roos each included 10 U17 players in their squads.
Interesting indeed, and in conclusion remember this and let it sink in for a while… Eye Of The Tiger will be facing Paarl Boys High later today in their first match of the festival