IT’S THAT TIME OF THE SEASON…
Keeping clean ball in filthy weather ! Paarl Boys’ High second-rower JC Loedolff
(in the striped jersey, bending) manages to retain possession despite the
efforts of several Bishops forwards during his side’s narrow 14-13
home win on Saturday 2 June 2018. (photo: Poppie Terblanche)
The advent of the mid-year holidays brings with it a period of maddening inactivity – for the spectators, if not the players – in the middle of another frenetic rugby season.
Down here in the Western Cape, however, we will only have to wait two weeks rather than three for entertainment to be resumed, with the focus falling on three venues, not just the usual two, as the Craven and Academy Weeks take place at Brug Street in Paarl from 9 to 14 July 2018.
The more familiar events are, of course, the Swartland Winter Festival in Malmesbury and the Landrover N1City Junior Rugby Festival at Brackenfell High School.
Although the latter attracts a demographic very much its own, why, you might ask, should one be contemplating watching a couple of schools’ 1st XVs – and not even ones who can lay claim to exalted positions in the national high school rankings – play each other, when one has the fairly rare opportunity to see the cream of schoolboy talent in action at the prestige national Under 18 tournament ?
My answer can be extrapolated from the very disappointing performances of some of the so-called top teams (Squirmany) and star players (Snorebert Lyingdownski, even Ultramel Fowlcow) – not to mention one portly former player who shines in the dark, Dayglo Maradonut – in the opening salvos of the World Cup.
Footballers will obviously be more comfortable in the teams in which they play up to sixty matches in a season, so why shouldn’t the same hold true for schoolboy rugby players ?
The higher the level at which the youngsters are playing, the greater the fear of failure among the officials and, consequently, the greater the concentration on coaching individual flair out of everyone so that they can fit an often constrictive, but hopefully successful, pattern.
The fact that scouts have been aware of this for so long means that very few can still be seen trying to recruit players at this event. They know that the players’ individual talent will be sacrificed on the altar of the greater good : provincial success.
This is one of the major reasons why I recommend you head out to Malmesbury or Brakkieland to see some good, honest schools teams shake off the cobwebs ahead of the congested final six weeks of the season.
Of particular interest in the Swartland event will be the showings of Bellville and DF Malan, both of whom have enjoyed very successful campaigns, as they continue their build-up to their interschools showdown at the former school on 18 August 2018.
To give you an indication of who will be strutting their stuff, you will find the fixtures for Thursday 12 July 2018 for Malmesbury and Brackenfell below. You should note that the Paarl Gym Under 16A and Oakdale Under 15A teams will be joining the action at Brackenfell on the Saturday.
On a site-related note: this website turned six on Saturday 30 June 2018. During the years to date it has received 221242 unique visitors at a rate of one every 14.26 minutes. It has received 545654 visits, meaning, on average, one every 5.78 minutes.
Pretty good numbers, if I say so myself. An advertising opportunity will be available shortly at R6500 for twelve months. If you’re interested, drop me a line.
Swartland Rugby Festival
09:00 Vredenburg vs Gill College (E Cape)
10:10 Strand vs Volkskool (E Cape)
11:20 Bellville vs Despatch (E Cape)
12:30 Tygerberg vs Worcester Gym
13:40 Schoonspruit vs DF Malan
14:50 President vs Pate’s Grammar B (England)
16:00 Durbanville vs Piketberg
17:10 Swartland vs Pate’s Grammar A
Landrover N1City Junior Rugby Festival (at Brackenfell)
09:00 Bellville U14A vs Rondebosch U14A
10:00 DF Malan U14A vs Weston U14A
11:00 Tygerberg U14A vs Wynberg U14A
12:00 Tygerberg U15A vs Wynberg U15A
13:00 Brackenfell U14A vs HTS Bellville U14A
09:00 Bellville U15A vs Rondebosch U15A
10:00 DF Malan U15A vs Hopefield U15A
11:00 HTS Bellville U15A vs Weston U15A
12:00 Stellenberg U15A vs Nico Malan U15A
13:00 Brackenfell U15A vs De Kuilen U15A
09:00 Tygerberg U16A vs Hopefield U16A
10:00 BTB Foundation U16A vs HTS Bellville U16A
11:00 DF Malan U16A vs Weston U16A
12:00 Bellville U16A vs Humansdorp Sec U16A
13:00 Monument Park U16A vs Swartland U16A
14:00 Brackenfell U16A vs De Kuilen U16A