In 1992, a need was identified for a tournament for U/16 rugby teams, as there were already various tournaments for U/14’s, U/15’s and U/19’s; but nowhere in South Africa were there tournaments for U/16 teams.
The viewpoint was that there was a large gap between U/16 rugby and U/19 rugby, and that a tournament in which the strongest rugby schools in our country could compete with each other at U/16 level (on a friendly basis) would narrow this gap.
In April 1993 the tournament was thus presented for the first time, with 10 of the strongest rugby schools in the country participating. The concept was so popular that our tournament was thereafter presented annually during the April school holidays, and we shall therefore be presenting it this year for the 18th consecutive year. By way of illustration of the popularity of the tournament: For quite a number of years we had to accommodate as many as 28 teams. This, however, started to impact negatively on the atmosphere and character of the tournament, and it was therefore decided to limit the number of participating teams to 24.
The object of the tournament is to prepare our younger players for the demands set by U/19 rugby.
The tournament attracts almost 15 000 spectators annually to the 3 tournament matches. The top 6 schools have over the past 17 years produced approximately 80 SA Schools players as well as 22 Springbok rugby players who have all participated in the tournament.
The opening ceremony starts at 08:00 on Saturday morning. The ceremony will be conducted by Jake White and the Headmaster of Paarl Gimnasium, Mr J Genis. The first matches on Saturday will be Dr EG Jansen vs. DF Malan on the A-field and Michealhouse vs. Strand on the B-field. Paarl Gimnasium will take on Grey College in the last game of the day at 18:45. Matches will continue on Monday and Tuesday. Other teams that will be involved is Affies, Boland Lanbou, Hoer Jongeskool Paarl, Jeppe, Monument and Waterkloof just to name a few. To see the full schedule and program for the week, go to http://www.u16rugbytournament.rgcms.co.za.
It’s going to be a great weekend of schoolboy rugby in the Boland and we will definitely look out for future Springboks.