The SA Rugby Youth Weeks Series will reach a thrilling conclusion this week at Grey College in Bloemfontein where the flagship event, the U18 SA Rugby Craven Week, and SA Rugby Academy Week will play out from Monday to Saturday.
A total of 11 matches will be played on two fields on a jam-packed opening day of action across the two tournaments.
Hosts, Free State Cheetahs, will kick off the SA Rugby Academy Week at 08h00 on Monday when they host the Cell C Sharks on the A Field, with Border CD and the Pumas CD battling it out at the same time on the B Field. With the home side having progressed to the final match of the tournament last season, adding to their home ground advantage this year, the KwaZulu-Natal side will expect a big onslaught.
The U18 SA Rugby Craven Week, meanwhile, will get underway at 10h40 with NWU Valke taking on the Leopards, which will be followed by a clash between the Phakisa Pumas and SWD Eagles.
In the two big match-ups, DHL Western Province, who took top honours last season will host their neighbours, Boland, in an exciting Western Cape derby, while, hosts, the Bizhub Free State Cheetahs will line up against the Cell C Sharks, who advanced to the final match last year.
Free State U18 SA Rugby Craven Week hooker Andre-Hugo Venter is the son of former Springbok looseforward Andre Venter, while centre Ian Small-Smith is the brother of the Toyota Cheetahs’ William Small-Smith.
Cell C Sharks flyhalf Jordan Hendrikse, meanwhile, is the brother of Junior Springbok scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse, who was nominated for the World Rugby U20 Championship Breakthrough Player of the Tournament award in Rosario, earlier this month.
The first match of the SA Rugby Academy Week aside, the other main match-up on day one will pit 2018’s top side, DHL Western Province, against the Blue Bulls at 09h20.
U18 SA Rugby Craven Week day-one fixtures (Monday, 1 July):
10h40 – NWU Valke v Leopards (A Field)
12h10 – Phakisa Pumas v SWD Eagles (A Field)
13h40 – DHL Western Province v Boland (A Field)
15h40 – Bizhub Free State Cheetahs v Cell C Sharks (A Field)
SA Rugby Academy Week day-one fixtures (Monday, 1 July):
08h00 – Free State Cheetahs v Cell C Sharks (A Field)
08h00 – Border CD v Pumas CD (B Field)
09h20 – Cell C Sharks CD v Leopards (B Field)
09h20 – DHL Western Province v Blue Bulls (A Field)
10h40 – EP Elephants CD v DHL Western Province XV (B Field)
12h00 – Old Mutual Zimbabwe v Boland (B Field)
13h20 – EP Elephants v Limpopo Blue Bulls (B Field)