The match between King Edward Vii School (KES) and Monument Hoerskool has been an eagerly anticipated event with both teams boasting strong teams this year. The Lions Craven Week A team is dominated by these two schools with Monument having 5 representatives and KES 6. In addition to this, 5 Monument boys have been in the SARU U18 high-performance squad and KES have had 4 boys in the same squad.
The schools first played each other in 1978 and it was a regular fixture for the next 21 years when the fixture stopped after the 1999 match. There was no specific reason for this however it was decided to restart the fixture from 2012. The schools have played each other on 27 occasions with KES having won 14, Monument 12 and one match has been drawn.
I think it is fair to say that in this period from 1978 to present day, these two schools have been the top English medium and Afrikaans medium rugby playing schools in the province. Both schools have produced numerous Craven Week players and many outstanding teams.
In the 80s, Monument was perhaps guilty of not taking the game seriously enough as they were concentrating on the old Admin Cup competition, but their attention soon became focused when they lost 7 matches in a row from 1985-1991 including conceding a few high scores from their opponents. KES used to be able to outplay the normally bigger Monument teams by moving the ball around.
The game, however, has evolved and there is a big advantage now to teams that are physically stronger as they are able to keep the ball for many phases. Added to this, Monument backlines of late have been very good at moving the ball wide to their wings.
The last 3 results have been rather one-sided in Monument’s favour with last year being a record win for Monnas (55-17) and the KES supporters are really hoping that this year’s match will be different. Two years ago, as U16s, KES beat Monument with a last minute penalty which incidentally is the only KES victory over Monument at A team level since the fixture restarted in 2012. In that year (2012) a very strong KES team including Malcolm Marx battled to beat a below par Monument team 15-11 in Krugersdorp. The following year, the teams played to a thrilling 31 all draw in Johannesburg.
The clash on Saturday in Houghton is a mouth-watering affair with Monument having the more fancied pack of forwards with 4 players in the shadow Lions A team vs the 2 from KES. In the backs, KES have 4 of the shadow team vs Monument’s 1.
KES will be full of confidence coming off their outstanding performance against St Stithians last week. Likewise, Monnas had a good win over Kempton Park to follow up on their win over Waterkloof who KES also beat earlier on in the season.
We are all expecting a fantastic game played between old rivals and some really exciting players. May the best team win.