Busy Easter for top schools

2013-03-26 00:00

ALL the KwaZulu-Natal schools considered to be in the top 10 in the province will be playing during the Easter vacation, with only Michaelhouse not involved at any. Instead, they have departed on a tour of Namibia.

The Maritzburg College 150th Festival boasts hosts College and DHS, starting with matches on Saturday. College start with a difficult game against Grey HS from Port Elizabeth — a team that beat Westville last Thursday. Their second game is against Noordkaap, a team that beat Framesby 46-21 in Potchefstroom and could be more difficult than their first game. College’s last match is against Queens, probably the weakest of the top three Border schools.

DHS will need to improve their performance of their last match against Port Natal, where they won narrowly. Rondebosch, who had a 26-10 win against Bishops from Cape Town at the weekend, will be their first opponents. DHS’s second match is against Dale, always an exciting line-up, but one that is reported not to be as strong as they were last year. DHS’s last match will be against Grey HS and if DHS can hold them then they will be a force in the domestic season.

At this weekend’s Kearsney Festival, nine of the country’s top 25-ranked schools in 2012 will be playing. This means that there will be few “easy” games where one team can be certain of winning. The KZN schools represented are hosts Kearsney, Glenwood and Westville.

Kearsney will have their first match against Framesby from Port Elizabeth, one of the weaker teams at the festival. Their other two matches are against two powerhouses from the Western Cape — Paul Roos and Paarl Gym. If the hosts can win all three they will have done extremely well.

Glenwood’s one easier game is against Selborne, a side with some large forwards. Glenwood’s first game is against Grey College, who are likely to have a stronger side than last year, and their last match is against Outeniqua, a team that has been predicted to be one of the top teams in the country this year.

Westville have their last match against Framesby, a game that should be well contested. Their first match against Boland Landbou will also not be easy. Westville’s second match will be the most difficult when they come up against Paarl Gym.

Hilton travel to the oldest festival of top-tier rugby, St Stithians, in its 29th year. For many years it was a sought-after festival and attracted the top sides in the country. With the proliferation of festivals, the calibre of teams playing has been watered down considerably. There are just two teams, Wynberg and Pretoria BHS, that were ranked in the top 25 last year. Hilton play against Bishops in the first match, followed by Helpmekaar and then St Albans. Hilton will have a good chance of winning all three games.

St Charles will be playing in the Krugersdorp HS festival, largely with second-tier schools. This suits the local players as they are much more competitive than they would be at one of the bigger festivals. Their most difficult game will probably be the first match against the Italian club side, Viadana. The latter have played at the KES festival over the last couple of years, but found the standard too competitive. St Charles’s second game is against hosts Krugersdorp and they will meet Hoërskool President from Gauteng in their third and final match.

Northwood will be playing at the Vryheid Festival, the oldest school rugby festival, which started in the early 1980s.

George Campbell will be playing in the Bizsports festival to be held at Glenwood.

The Namibian tour that Michaelhouse is taking with 35 players sees them play three games against Windhoek and two other teams to be decided on a strength basis.

Fixtures at 150th Maritzburg College Festival (day 1 and 2 times the same, day 3 shown)

Saturday 30/3: 10:10 Noordkaap vs Jeppe; 11:30 DHS vs Rondebosch; 12:50 Affies vs Queens; 14:10 Monument vs Dale; 15:30 Maritzburg College vs Grey HS

Monday 1/4: Monument vs Rondbosch; DHS vs Dale; Queens vs Jeppe; Maritzburg College vs Noordkaap; Affies vs Grey HS

Wednesday 3/4: 09:00 Affies vs Dale; 10:20 DHS vs Grey HS; 11:40 Rondebosch vs Jeppe; 13:00 Monument vs Noordkaap; 14:20 Maritzburg College vs Queens

Fixtures at Kearsney Festival (all times same as first day):

Thursday 28/3: 09:30 Kearsney vs Framesby; 10:45 Selborne vs Nico Malan; 12:00 Glenwood vs Paul Roos; 13:15 Grey College vs Boland Landbou; 14:30 Outeniqua vs EG Jansen; 15:45 Westville vs Paarl Gym

Saturday 30/3: Nico Malan vs Boland Landbou; Westville vs Outeniqua; Kearsney vs Paarl Gym; Glenwood vs Selborne; EG Jansen vs Paul Roos; Grey College vs Framesby

Monday 1/4: Nico Malan vs EG Jansen; Westville vs Framesby; Grey College vs Outeniqua; Paul Roos vs Selborne; Glenwood vs Paarl Gym; Kearsney vs Boland Landbou.

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