The Coca-Cola Youth Weeks are expected to switch into a higher gear on Monday as the Under-16 Grant Khomo Week and Under-18 Academy Week players receive the opportunity to make their presence felt.
The Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week will be hosted at the Isak Steyl Stadium in Vanderbijlpark, while Durban’s Glenwood High plays host to the Academy Week.
With these Youth Weeks playing a vital role in grooming players for senior provincial and national rugby in future, the tempo and competitiveness between the sides is expected to be intense.
One could sense the focused attitude among the Under-16 teams, in particular, as they arrived in Vanderbijlpark on Sunday ready to stamp their authority.
Western Province, who dominated the Grant Khomo Week last season with Eastern Province, will feature in the opening match of this year’s tournament against the Leopards at 9H00. This will mark the beginning of an action-packed day of rugby featuring 20 teams, including Namibia and Zimbabwe.
The other big clashes are expected to be the Blue Bulls lining up against Eastern Province, Free State taking on Border and the Golden Lions going up against the Valke.
Namibia and Zimbabwe, meanwhile, also face tough afternoon clashes against Griquas and Griquas Country Districts respectively.
The Academy Week also features a string of intriguing clashes on the opening day, including the Golden Lions meeting South Western Districts, the Blue Bulls battling it out with Boland, and hosts KwaZulu-Natal, lining up against the Leopards.
Western Province, who also emerged as one of the top teams in the Academy Week last year, will take on the Red Valke. With the union’s Under-13 team emerging as the only unbeaten side in the Coca-Cola Under-13 Craven Week at Warmbad Ho?rskool in Bela-Bela last week, their senior counterparts will be determined to build on their impressive performances last season as they look to continue their dominance in youth rugby.
Coca-Cola Under-16 Grant Khomo Week fixtures:
9H00 Western Province vs Leopards
9H00 KwaZulu-Natal vs Limpopo Blue Bulls
10H30 Blue Bulls vs Eastern Province
10H30 SWD vs Griffons
12H00 Free State vs Border
12H00 Border CD vs Valke XV
13H30 Boland vs Pumas
13H30 Griquas CD vs Zimbabwe
16H00 Valke vs Golden Lions
16H00 Griquas vs Namibia
Coca-Cola Under-18 Academy Week fixtures:
08H00 Blue Falcons vs Eastern Province
08H00 Limpopo Blue Bulls vs Border
09H20 Golden Lions vs SWD
09H20 Namibia vs SA LSEN
10H40 Pumas vs Free State
10H40 Griquas vs Griffons CD
12H00 Red Valke vs Western Province
12H00 KZN XV vs Griquas CD
13H20 Blue Bulls vs Boland
13H20 Leopards CD vs Border CD
15H00 KZN vs Leopards
15H00 KZN CD vs Pumas CD