Easter weekend showdown as top rugby schools prepare to do battle
Easter weekend is for more than just hot cross buns for the top high schools across the country as they prepare to take to the field for the annual school rugby festivals.
Although there have already been several rugby fixtures across the country this year, the annual Easter festivals are a regular reminder that the high school rugby season in South Africa has begun.
The various Easter rugby festivals are an opportunity for a few of the best schools in the country to meet for a weekend of first-team rugby. It happens over three days. The action will start on Thursday. It will then take place again on Saturday, before finishing on Monday.
There are four major festivals around the country this weekend, with Gauteng being the main hub.
The St Stithians festival, in Sandton, promises to be an exciting feature this year with eight local and two international schools participating as the tournament marks its 39th year.
Clifton College from Bristol in England as well as St John’s Harare from Zimbabwe have travelled to South Africa and will compete against a few of the host country’s best.
St Alban’s College and Helpmekaar College are the two other schools from Gauteng taking part along with the hosts, St Stithians.
Bishops Diocesan College and Wynberg Boys’ High School will represent the Western Cape while Kingswood College and St Andrew’s College have made the trip up from the Eastern Cape.
Michaelhouse round out the 10 as the sole representative from KwaZulu-Natal.
St John’s College
St John’s College, in Johannesburg, will be celebrating the 26th edition of its Easter festival this weekend.
A total of 12 teams will travel to Johannesburg this weekend, including big names such as Grey High School, Hilton College, Maritzburg College, Hoërskool Nelspruit and Hoër Landbouskool Boland.
A Lions XV has also assembled and will take part in the annual festival.
“It gives us great pleasure to welcome all participating teams from around the country to the St John’s College Easter Rugby festival,” said Adrian Norris, Director of Rugby at St John’s. “The 26th festival is a very special one as it forms part of the year-long 125th-year celebrations taking place at the school.”
This year marks Kearsney College’s 14th Easter rugby festival.
Hartpury College, the England league champs from Gloucester, will be jetting in to be part of Durban’s top school rugby festival.
Hartpury College will be the first overseas school to participate since New Zealand’s Christ’s College played in 2011.
The local teams, Glenwood High School, Westville Boys’ High School, Durban High School and the hosts, Kearsney, will represent KwaZulu-Natal.
Hoërskool Monument and Dr EG Jansen both travel from Gauteng while Framesby, Dale College and Hoër Landbouskool Marlow will represent the Eastern Cape.
There is one team from Northern Cape in Hoërskool Noord-Kaap, while Worcester Gimnasium will represent the Western Cape in its debut showing at the festival.
King Edward VII
King Edward VII High School (KES) known for producing Springboks Bryan Habana, Joe van Niekerk and Scarra Ntubeni, will host the other Easter festival in Johannesburg this year.
KES’s lineup of schools this year boasts talent from across the country with 12 schools travelling up-country.
Among them is Paarl Boys’ High from the Western Cape, Queen’s College, Hudson Park, Nico Malan and Selborne College from the Eastern Cape and Hoërskool Diamantveld representing the Northern Cape. DM