All eyes on WP at U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week



Craven Week
Craven Week

All eyes will be on DHL Western Province at the Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Week starting on Monday at HTS Middelburg in Mpumalanga as they look to repeat the impressive feat of finishing all the Coca-Cola Craven Week tournaments as the top province.

In the last two weeks Western Province took the honours as the unofficial champions in the Under-13 Coca-Cola Craven Week, Under-16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week and the Under-18 Coca-Cola Academy Week competitions, and with only the Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Week remaining they will be determined to finish the SARU Youth Weeks on a high note.

This impressive showing follows a clean sweep in the Coca-Cola Craven Week tournaments last year, as they won the final match in the Coca-Cola Under-13 Craven Week, Under-16 Grant Khomo Week and Under-18 Craven Week respectively.

They are, however, expected to face tough competition in the next few days as the skills and level of physicality among the top school players continues to improve steadily across the country. The tournament in Middelburg will run from Monday until Saturday, and it will mark the 51st anniversary of the Coca-Cola Craven Week.

The Itec Limpopo Blue Bulls and Griquas will kick off the competition at 09h20 in the opening match on Monday, with the other big matches being SWD taking on KwaZulu-Natal and hosts the Pumas meeting Western Province in the final match of the day. In total five matches will be played on the first day.

All 20 participating teams arrived on Sunday and completed their registration. More than 400 players and their management teams will be based at HTS Middelburg for the duration of the tournament.

Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Week day one fixtures:

09h20 – Itec Limpopo Blue Bulls vs Griquas

10h40 – Eastern Province CD vs Zimbabwe

12h00 – Thepa Trading Griffons vs Border

13h20 – SWD vs KwaZulu-Natal

15h40 – Pumas vs DHL Western Province

Facebook Comments
Better known as Bunny, Took over after Pissant went over to the "Dark Side"


  1. Just typical…
    One does not "win" Craven week…
    there is no measure of which is the best team…
    Just a subjective selection of which two teams whould play in the last game of the tournament which does not measure which is or is not the best side of the tournament.

  2. ag blah blah suur Dawie. :soek:

    As for the craven week, any good future superrugby Bulls champs running out for Province?

  3. ag bunny, like you rightfully pointed out last week, all bok players dream off one day playing for the Bulls. Same can be said for the youngsters

  4. I reckon alll things considered that Craven Week does more damage to our game than good.

    Its infested with cronyism and if you look at the amount of Boks who has played it you have to wonder why the return is so low?

    Rather spend the money identifying the best 200 players in the country and then spend to develop them for the pro game. I bet the return will be better and in the process you remove much of the kak which makes our rugby especially on the platteland such a cancerous environment

  5. @Morné: Yes, I think people still think nothing is being done by SARU on developing the talent at Craven Weeks. It not the same as 15, 20 years back when players came through the system who was not at Craven Weeks…

  6. @Jacques(Bunny):

    40% of Springboks comes through the High Performance structures like Craven Weeks – 60% through competitions like the Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup. That is for the current Springbok squad these figures applies.

    You won’t pick up and notice everyone, no system will – these boys are still developing physically and in their positional roles which changes quite often once they leave school.

    But our SA Schools team has been unbeaten in 3 years playing other international countries (Wales, England, France last year), so you cannot convince me a 51-year old institution is worthless.

    It can be hosted in better towns but that is another story!

  7. yeah I agree, host it at Loftus. The best talent will in anycase play there in the future, might as well get them used to the well oiled machine that is the Blue Bulls.

  8. I hear you Morne,

    But I would hate to think the kind of talent that goes missing because so many people view Craven week selection as the be all.

    If you are a parent and a farmer and your kid does not make the side – will you invest or encourage him to still pursue the game as a career?

    Instead its institutions like PUK that does plenty work to scout players from smaller towns and teams and their development model probably does more good.

    Also consider that a Craven week team like the Griffons will see maybe 2 or 3 players from local schools represent the Curie Cup side as there are no bodies in the region after school to develop schoolboy talent.

    So you basically host a Craven Week so the Bulls and PUK etc can see who to invest in, but if you dont make it the chances are very slim that you will progress or even continue playing the game.

  9. Make the Craven Week a 12 team competition with promotion/relegation.

    This will ensure that teams play to win,

    which in turn helps coaches select the best players – not every players whose dad offers a bottle brandy.

    Right now Craven Week just seems like a way to hold onto the regional loyalties of the past with little or no evidence that the competition is the best we can offer.

  10. @Aldo: Ha ha ..chequebook recruiting Bulls. But Aldo you are right Loftus is well oiled.. it is the squeaky (9 out of 15) wheel that gets the oil.

  11. haha outwide, I prefer to say its the culture in PTA that drives the young talent to Loftus. Every boy dreams of running onto the field with Steve Hoffmeyer in Stereo

  12. @Morné:

    Surely you’re not saying that 60% of the current Springboks did NOT go to Craven Week?
    If so, it would be one hell of an indictment against Craven Week.

  13. @Timeo:

    That is indeed what I am saying. Maybe even less if we take out guys only coming into the HP system at U20.

    I actually think it is quite high if we consider these boys (unless included in the U16 squads at Craven Week) have never been exposed to High Performance coaching structures and conditioning programmes (less than 30% of our school coaches have a coaching qualification of IRB level 1 or higher).

    Of late we see a lot of school rugby festivals like the Wildeklawer one, the various Easter Festivals and the odd game on TV with the FNB classic clashes drive – but the only other way SA Rugby’s HP structures will ever get to notice a player for the first time will be at Craven Week.

    In total at the Academy and Craven Week you see around 800 players, 1200 if you include the Grant Khomo week. But for the selectors and HP scouts 90% of these boys are the first time they see them in action.

    As you know it is bloody difficult to judge a player in a tournament which is only one week, and only sees them play 2, maybe three games.

    From that you have to make a call that they will either make it as an HP player or not.

    This is now changing this year where all players are registered on an HP programme regardless whether they make the SA School squads.

  14. @Morné:

    So our unbeaten record for SA Schools for the last three years is actually spectaculr given what time we had to work with the kids – it also just shows how naturally talented our boys are – but many of them fall off the bus when they are put under the pressures of HP structures and training.