Craven Week: KwaZulu-Natal take on Western Province in U18 clash tomorrow

2011-07-11 00:00

CRAVEN Week for U18s begins in Kimberley today. There are 18 teams from South African provinces and two from Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Players of the latter two countries will not be eligible for the South African U18 team that will be announced at the close of Craven Week this Saturday.

The first Craven Week was held in 1964, the brainchild of 1949 Springbok flank Piet Malan, who is the oldest living Springbok at age of 92.

Jan Preuyt, a teacher at Port Rex in the Border at that time, became the first chairperson of SA Schools and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1988.

The first SA Schools XV was selected in 1974 and has been done so every year since then.

Grey College have more SA Schools players than any other school, and locally it is Maritzburg College that lead in KZN.

This year it is Grey College that lead individual school representation with 16 players in the Free State team.

Very often the provinces that have the least number of schools represented are more unified and do better.

There are just two other schools, HTS Louis Botha and Sentraal, that have players in the Free State team.

Other teams with 15 or more players out of the 22 come from just two schools — the Blue Bulls with 18 players from Waterkloof and Affies, and Border and Limpopo with 15 players from each Selborne and Dale and Ben Vortser and Pietersburg HS respectively. Griquas take the cake with 21 players from Noordkaap and Diamantveld.

The 16 players from Grey College are the most representing school, with 14 from Waterkloof the next highest.

Three schools have 11 players represented, which include Selborne from Border, Noordkaap from Griquas and Hentie Cilliers from the Griffons.

KZN play their first match tomorrow against Western Province. After losing badly against the Bulls at the Bondedag two weeks back they will be particularly keen to put that loss to bed and have a good opening to the week.

In schools’ rugby selections Paarl and Stellenbosch schools strangely fall into Western Province, but not like in cricket and hockey where these schools are in the Boland.

WP have seven players from Paul Roos in Stellenbosch and five players from Paarl BHS.

Only the latter are ranked amongst the top five schools in the country this year and KZN must have a good chance of beating WP.

The latter, however, do have two SA School’s players from 2010, wing JP Lewis from Paul Roos and flank Sikhumbuza Notshe from Wynberg in their team.

There should be a battle in the lineouts and other tight phases, and if KZN can better than WP in these areas then the centre pairing of Dean Moolman from Glenwood and Tyler Fisher from Westville could give KZN the edge in the backline.

A good game against WP, and preferably a win, will set KZN up for another good fixture in the second round on Thursday.

First round Fixtures: Today: Leopards vs Namibia; EP Country Dist vs. Valke; Boland vs Blue Bulls; Free State vs Pumas; Griquas vs SWD

Tomorrow: Zimbabwe vs Border CD; Griffons vs Limpopo; Golden Lions vs EP; KZN vs. Western Province; Griquas CD vs Border.

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