Grey PE to host rugby feast

The annual Grey PE Rugby Festival is fast becoming one of South Africa’s top schoolboy events of the year.

The 21st Grey PE Rugby Festival is set to be the biggest one yet, with 22 schools participating over the three days (24, 26 and 28 March). The big names who will tour to Port Elizabeth later this month include Maritzburg College, Kearsney, Paul Roos, Bishops and SACS. It will also be the first time that U14, U15 and U16 teams will be on show as the local Eastern Cape schools will send their junior sides to the tournament.

‘We’re expecting a great rugby feast at this year’s festival,’ Grey PE head of rugby Fenner Barnard told keo.co.za. ‘There’s a lot of excitement with plenty of schools coming from all over the country, like the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. This will create a few new clashes that aren’t played every year, which gives our festival some freshness. Not all the schools will be able to stay the entire week, but there will still be top action throughout the week.

‘Most of the schools should have played three or four matches before day one, so all teams will be fit and raring to go. There has always been strong support over the years, so I’m sure the fans will come to the party. We’ve seen crowds of about 5 000 for the big games before.’

Barnard adds that the tournament organisers have planned social outings for all the players to interact.

‘That’s another special thing about our festival – the opportunity to build friendships with players from different schools and other parts of the country. There will be buffet, movie and pizza nights for the guys to socialise.’

Meanwhile, the week will also form part of a new era for Grey PE rugby as the school has appointed former EP Kings and Cheetahs lock Rory Duncan as their new 1st XV coach. Duncan announced his retirement late last year and is a Grey PE old boy.

‘Rory’s appointment is a big boon for us. Everybody’s excited for the season ahead,’ said Barnard.

GREY PE RUGBY FESTIVAL 1st XV FIXTURES:

DAY ONE (SATURDAY, 24 MARCH):

PHILIP FIELD:
Nico Malan vs Kearsney (08:30)
St Andrew’s vs Michaelhouse (10:00)
Paul Roos vs Westville (11:30)
Selborne vs Framesby (13:00)
Hilton College vs Bishops (14:30)
Grey PE vs SACS (16:00)

POLLOCK FIELD:
Graeme vs Itembelihle (08:30)
Louis Botha vs Brandwag (10:00)
Queen’s vs Durban High School (11:30)
Maritzburg College vs Marlow (13:00)
Dale vs Daniel Pienaar (14:30)

DAY TWO (MONDAY, 26 MARCH):

PHILIP FIELD:
Dale vs Brandwag (08:30)
Selborne vs SACS (10:00)
Paul Roos vs Kearsney (11:30)
Queen’s vs Hilton College (13:00)
Bishops vs Maritzburg College (14:30)
Grey PE vs Marlow (16:00)

POLLOCK FIELD:
Louis Botha vs Westville (10:30)
Michaelhouse vs Nico Malan (12:00)
Daniel Pienaar vs Durban High School (13:30)

DAY THREE (WEDNESDAY, 28 MARCH):

PHILIP FIELD:
Daniel Pienaar vs Michaelhouse (09:00)
Grey High vs Maritzburg College (10:30)
Ithembelihle vs Louis Botha (12:00)

POLLOCK FIELD:
Hilton College vs Muir (10:30)
Durban High School vs Nico Malan (12:00)

By Gareth Duncan