Last year the Hoërskool Swartland in Malmesbury presented a two-day festival just before the start of the third term to meet the needs of several Cape schools who felt that, owing to the Soccer World Cup, the mid-season holiday break was just too long.
Such was the success of the venture that principal Dirk Marais decided to repeat the event on Thursday 14 July and Saturday 16 July.
While last year's get-together took place in the week after Craven Week, this year the two run concurrently, meaning that several players on the fringe of first team selection will be able to get valuable top-level exposure.
Eight of this year's participants are local: Swartland, Piketberg, Augsburg Gym, Strand, Tygerberg, HTS Drostdy, Charlie Hofmeyr and De Kuilen. Apart from the three Eastern Cape invitees (Despatch, Gill College of Somerset East and Die Brandwag of Uitenhage), there are also overseas visitors, Campbell College, from Belfast in Ireland.
Not surprisingly much of the focus will be on Tygerberg, whose gallant efforts against several of the major WP powerhouses have drawn much praise. The Tygers face tough opposition in Die Brandwag and HTS Drostdy, as all three sides will be minus a couple of their stars away on provincial duty.
For the rest, Augsburg Gym and De Kuilen have both shown good form inside their respective provincial areas, although the Clanwilliam lads did beat the Kuile out at Lutzville in March.
If for no other reason, the fare on offer should be well worth watching for how it showcases the passionate enthusiasm with which the often-underrated youngsters in the Platteland approach the game.
Thursday, 14 July:
11.55: Gill College vs Charlie Hofmeyr
13.05: Augsburg Gym vs Strand
14.15: Despatch vs De Kuilen
15.25: Die Brandwag vs Tygerberg
16.35: Campbell College vs HTS Drostdy
17.45: Swartland vs Piketberg
Saturday, 16 July:
08.45: Campbell College vs Piketberg
11.05: Gill College vs Strand
12.15: Augsburg Gym vs De Kuilen
13.30: Die Brandwag vs Charlie Hofmeyr
14.45: Swartland vs Despatch
16.00: HTS Drostdy vs Tygerberg
Five of the schools will also be bringing netball and girls hockey teams. So it's not all about the rugby!
The entry fee is R10 per vehicle, plus R5 per person. The huge pavilion offers undercover seating for around 2000 spectators, but you would be advised to pack cushions. Don't bother to bring your own food, there'll be plenty of that on sale!
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