The Noord-Kaap pack will be hunting some big game in 2013
Want to plan your holidays around some top schoolboy rugby next year ? Well, this article is most definitely required reading. Although the 2012 season may only be a thing of the very recent past, Stoopstats can already bring you the confirmed guest lists for next year’s Pukke Skouspel, Easter and Wildeklawer festivals.
Although the various lists might look on the surface like the fulfillment of any schoolboy rugby supporter’s dream, they are also going stir up undercurrents in two very different schools of thought.
Those in favour of instituting a system whereby all the top schools play each other annually, thus, to a large extent, ending fanciful speculation about various Top 20 rankings, will be overjoyed.
However, on the other hand, they will be providing plenty of fodder for the increasing number of pundits expressing growing concern at the sheer number of games with which many of our top schoolboys are confronted.
They have a point. The elite units who opt to take part in the Pukke Spectacular as well as an Easter festival and who are also invited to Wildeklawer are looking at eight crunch matches in the space of 44 days even before one factors in a pre-season friendly or two and their initial local commitments in April. Oh, and don’t forget the Craven Week trials and the questionable Bondedae in May too !
The Western Cape schools taking part in the various festivals appear in bold type.
1. PUKKE SKOUSPEL : Thursday 21 MARCH to Monday 25 MARCH 2013
The opening salvo, traditionally fired up in leafy Potchefstroom, takes place seven days before the Easter festivals, thanks to the timing of the inland provinces’ vacation.
This offers coastal teams who consider themselves short of adequate – in quality and/or quantity – competition during their regular seasons the chance to fit in six matches against strong opposition in just twelve days and still score six days of holiday before their local commitments kick in !
Schools taking part in the Skouspel are : Glenwood, Noord-Kaap, Florida, Garsfontein, Framesby, HTS Drostdy, HTS Louis Botha, Rustenburg, Klerksdorp, Potch Volkskool, Potch Gymnasium plus one school still to be confirmed.
2. EASTER : Thursday 28 MARCH to Monday 1 APRIL 2013
The only weekend falling in both the inland and coastal provinces’ school holidays also happens to be Easter, which means all the festivals are effectively telescoped into the period between Thursday 28 March and Monday 1 April 2013.
While this might not affect the Oakdale, Union High and Tony Stoops Festivals – they pretty much attract the same rather more modest guests each year – it does take its toll elsewhere, with the Grey High Festival actually taking a break as the hosts travel up to the KZN capital.
For those of you who might be interested at the inclusion of Schoonspruit and New Orleans in the St Stithian’s and St John’s Festivals respectively : these two teams are relics of combined sides that used to be invited under the FNB Invitation banner. Schoonspruit are normally partnered by Piketberg, who will be touring France at the time, while it was decided to separate Klein Nederburg and “partners” New Orleans for the 2012 festival. KN went up this year; NO take their turn in 2013.
Normally there is only the Kearsney Festival, the pick of the whole bunch, in Natal at that time of year. Next year, there will be three events – talk about being spoiled for choice !
The Bizsport Festival, hosted in 2012 by Waterkloof, will take place at Glenwood, even though the host school won’t actually be participating in it !
To top it off, Maritzburg College celebrates its 150th birthday in 2013 and, to mark the occasion, will be hosting a special festival just before the long-standing Skonk Nicholson event, which caters for lower age-groups. This event starts on Saturday 30 March and runs to Wednesday 3 April.
One might argue that the area needs all those festivals about as much as Martin Guptill needs flip-flops, but, hey, the more, the merrier !
Kearsney College : Boland Landbou, Paarl Gym, Paul Roos, Outeniqua, Grey College, Kearsney, Glenwood, Westville, Selborne, Framesby, Nico Malan, EG Jansen.
Maritzburg College (30/3; 1/4; 3/4) : Rondebosch, Noord-Kaap, Affies, Dale, Durban, Grey High, Jeppe, Monument, Queens, Maritzburg College.
Bizsport at Glenwood : Tygerberg, Stellenberg, Die Brandwag, Jim Fouche, George Campbell, Kempton Park, Merensky, Ben Vorster, Middelburg, HTS Middelburg, Benoni, Transvalia.
All three traditional gatherings still take place at St Stithian’s – the oldest and therefore most prestigious of all the Easter bunfights – St John’s and KES, even if the Maritzburg shindig does impact on the quality of teams on display.
The KES field, for instance, only contains three teams from the Cape/Kwazulu-Natal axis, and even then one of them, Hudson Park, will be making the big step up from the rustic bliss of the Oakdale Festival at Riversdale.
St Stithian’s : Bishops, SACS, Wynberg, Schoonspruit, St Stithians, Pretoria BHS, Windhoek, St Andrew’s, St Alban’s, Hilton College, Helpmekaar, St Benedict’s.
St John’s : Paarl Boys’ High, New Orleans, Nelspruit, Waterkloof, St John’s (Zim), St John’s, Marais Viljoen, HTS Daniel Pienaar, Golden Lions Inv XV, Windhoek Gym, Noordheuwel, Filton College (UK).
KES : Centurion, Eldoraigne, Trinityhouse, Hudson Park, Garsfontein, Lichtenburg, Menlo Park, KES, Invitation XV, Kingswood, Parktown, Marlow.
The usual suspects will be appearing at their customary haunts. While Charlie Hofmeyr have a long-standing love of the Union High event in Graaff-Reinet, the rest fit in either with Oakdale (fairly intense) or the Tony Stoops Festival (decidedly less intense) at Tygerberg.
Oakdale (30/3; 1/4; 3/4) : Oakdale, Langenhoven Gym, Oudtshoorn, Sentraal (B West), Knysna (SWD), Bellville, Durbanville, Monument Park, Brackenfell, Strand (WP), Hugenote, Augsburg Gym, Hermanus, Montagu, Overberg, Bredasdorp, Stellenbosch, Vredendal (Bol), Diamantveld, Upington (NC), Sentraal (Bloem), HTS Louis Botha (FS), Aliwal North (Bdr), Middelburg (EP), Windhoek High (Nam)
TSRF : Dollar Academy (Scotland), Hottentots Holland, Scottsdene, Bellville South, Bosmansdam, De Kuilen, Camps Bay, Milnerton, Jan Kriel, JG Meiring, Edgemead (WP), Despatch, Pearson, Kirkwood, Otto du Plessis, Victoria Park, HTS Newton (EP), Sao Bras, Langenhoven High, York (SWD), Swartland, Barrydale, Dirkie Uys, Worcester Gym, Klein Nederburg, Hawston, Emil Weder, Vredenburg, Labori, Langeberg, Porterville, Swellendam, Hopefield, Montana (Bol)
3. WILDEKLAWER : Thursday 2 MAY and Saturday 4 MAY 2013
The really big news concerns the Wildeklawer showpiece from 2 to 4 May. Not only will the country’s flagship event be hosted by Maritzburg College in recognition of the school’s 150th anniversary, but it will also boast a revamped field.
For some time now there have been loud mutterings about how certain schools have been inexplicably and repeatedly left off the invitation list. The name mentioned most often in this regard is mighty Noord-Kaap, with insiders offering “irreconcilable differences” between that school and anchor hosts Diamantveld as the reason for their exclusion.
Be it the change of venue, a thawing of the icy relationship or a timely reality check, this is not going to be the case in 2013. Noord-Kaap, Grey High (PE) and HTS Drostdy have all been included at the expense of EG Jansen, HTS Louis Botha, HTS Middelburg and Ben Vorster, with the 18th team being an Invitation XV.
Although Dale and Garsfontein might beg to differ, the 2013 field is truly representative of most Top 20 rankings around the country and reads as follows:
Maritzburg College, Glenwood, Invitation XV (KZN), Monument (GL), Affies, Waterkloof (BB), Grey College (FS), Grey High, Framesby (EP), Diamantveld, Noord-Kaap (NC), Outeniqua, Oakdale (SWD), HTS Drostdy (Bol), Paarl Boys’ High, Paarl Gym, Paul Roos and Boland Landbou (WP).
Just in case you think that’s where it all ends, there’s still the Cape Schools Rugby Week, to be hosted by Paarl Gym at the end of the second term !
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