Long and old tradition of Easter rugby festivals

2012-04-03 00:00

THE Easter weekend is the time for the major school rugby festivals which will involve most of the top school rugby teams.

St Stithians was the first

major festival which began 29 years ago. Since then other festivals have sprung up around the country during the Easter school holidays.

Over the Easter weekend there are now two other festivals in

Johannesburg — at St John’s and King Edward. Kearsney started their festival five years ago and they have been able to scoop many of the top schools this year.

As the number of festivals increase, so the dilution of quality in the games is affected. Grey High School in Port Elizabeth held their festival during the first few days of the holidays and did not expect all teams to play over the three days. Twenty two schools played on the first day, 18 on the second day and 12 on the last day, many of whom would not have played if it had been over the Easter weekend.

Six KZN sides attended, of which Kearsney and Westville played two matches, as they came home to prepare for games at the Kearsney Festival.

Currently Glenwood, Port Natal and Voortrekker are playing in festivals. There is also the Felixton Festival taking place in Zululand, catering for schools not in the top tier of rugby. Local schools attending are Howick and Wartburg. Hillcrest has also held a sports festival, but it involved boys’ and girls’ hockey, netball and rugby.

These festivals are what prompted the schools to start rugby at the end of the first quarter so they would have better prepared teams at the rugby festivals during the Easter school holidays.

Glenwood does not appear to be the side they have been over the past few years as they lost against Westville, narrowly beat Michaelhouse and, playing at the Rugby Festival at NW University (Pukke) in Potchefstroom, they lost against Framesby from Port Elizabeth. The first game was against Noordkaap and here Glenwood was fortunate that

Siyabonga Tom had his kicking boots on, as he slotted six penalties to win 18-13. Glenwood backline lacked rhythm and they seldom got into the 22-metre

area of Noordkaap. Playing with 14 players after a red card did not help, but they were generally outplayed by Noordkaap, the

latter which scored two tries.

Against Framesby, Glenwood wanted to run the ball from all over to try to tire their big forwards, but this did not happen. The backline was again cause for concern. They had a relatively easy match yesterday against Potch Volks Skool (no score at the time of going to press), but Glenwood will need to rethink their strategies before the Kearsney Festival where they play against Monument, Dale and Queens.

Vortrekker is playing in Pretoria at the Waterkloof Festival. Their first match against Middleburg High School on Saturday was a disaster. The train trip only got away at 4.30 am on Saturday morning. The boys should have been fast asleep on the train at that time, instead of trying to catch a nap on the cold concrete in the Maritzburg station.

Originally the train should have left on Friday evening at 8 pm.

As it happened, they only reached Waterkloof 15 minutes before their game was scheduled to start at 3 pm.

This left no time for a warm up and they ran on cold to the field. The end score was 0-80. Yesterday they played Montana and tomorrow they play Jim Fouche.

Howick’s first two games in Zululand ended with a draw and a loss. Against hosts Felixton they drew after being 19-12 ahead at full time, but Felixton managed to score and convert in injury time. Sandile Mnikhati scored all three tries for Howick. Against Grantleigh on Saturday, Howick lost 0-3 after dominating most of the play, held in pouring rain.

Port Natal is finding it quite tough at the Tony Stoop Festival in Port Elizabeth where they lost their first two matches 14-35 against Hugenote and 14-18 against Schoonspruit.

KZN schools involved in Easter festivals are Kearsney, Glenwood and Westville at the Kearsney Festival, Northwood at the St Stithians Festival and St Charles at the Krugersdorp Festival.

OTHER SCORES

Carter 17 Hillcrest 12, Carter 39 Hyde Park 3, Hillcrest 57 Hyde Park 3; Kloof 20 Edenvale 17, Wartburg 3 John Ross 12, Wartburg 19 St Peter 26.

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