EIGHTH KEARSNEY EASTER RUGBY FESTIVAL LAUNCHED

Feb 18 • General News, School, School Rugby Festivals • 2088 Views • Comments Off on EIGHTH KEARSNEY EASTER RUGBY FESTIVAL LAUNCHED

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The participation of many of South Africa’s top ranked rugby-playing schools at the eighth Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival serves to highlight its prestigious status amongst players, coaches and supporters.

This year’s festival has attracted powerhouse teams from Grey College in Bloemfontein, Affies and Menlo Park from Pretoria, EG Jansen from Boksburg, HTS Middelburg from Mpumalanga; as well as Selborne, Dale College and Framesby from the Eastern Cape; SACS from Cape Town; with Glenwood, Westville Boys’ High and hosts Kearsney College from KwaZulu-Natal.

In endorsing the festival, John Smit, CEO of The Sharks and former Springbok coach, said schoolboy rugby plays an invaluable role in the development of South Africa’s rugby culture.

“Rugby at schools is a place where the values of sportsmanship, team work, hard work, perseverance, respect and honour can be taught and embraced,” he said.

Some of the country’s finest rugby talent will be on display at the festival, and the event provides opportunities for players to be noticed and advance their rugby careers at provincial and national level, Smit said.

Talent scouts and selectors from The Sharks and Sharks Academy will again watch all three play days over the Easter weekend: Thursday 2nd, Saturday 4th and Monday 6th April.

The Sharks Academy will offer full bursaries for 2016 to three selected players. Backed by The Sharks, the bursaries will include a contract with The Sharks Academy, accommodation and a tuition bursary with one of its reputable education partners. Each bursary is valued at R100 000. The recipients will be announced immediately after the final game of the festival.

The participation yet again of teams renowned for their rugby pedigree reinforces the prestigious status of this festival, said Kearsney headmaster Elwyn van den Aardweg.

Speaking at the launch of the 2015 festival, Van den Aardweg noted that the Kearsney festival had grown significantly since its inception in 2008 and was certain to again attract capacity crowds this year. They were excited to be welcoming Menlo Park and SACS for the first time, he said.

Three primary school teams – from Highbury, Pelham and Umhlali Preparatory – have also been invited to showcase their skills against the KZNRU Ibutho / Mark Godefroy u13 team. Kicking off play each day, this fixture offers youngsters the opportunity of playing in front of large crowds and experiencing the festival atmosphere. This will be followed by six premier high school fixtures on each of the three play days.

Van den Aardweg acknowledged the festival sponsors, whose support has assisted the event to grow over the years. Headline sponsor Standard Bank were thanked for their invaluable support; together with The Sharks, Sharks Academy and KZN Rugby Union which have been involved in the Kearsney festival since its inception. Illovo Sugar South Africa Limited remained a valued sponsor, together with Nashua and several other partners and companies, he said.

Funeka Montjane, Standard Bank’s chief executive for personal and business banking in South Africa, said: “Through our sponsorship we hope to build on and maintain valuable relationships within our community, and have a meaningful impact among its members by championing the concept of health and friendship through sport”.

Darrell de Wet, marketing and communications manager at Illovo Sugar, said the company encouraged a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

“Sport plays an invaluable role in developing leadership, discipline and talent; in bringing together people from different geographical areas and backgrounds; and in encouraging fitness and wellbeing. Illovo Sugar’s support and involvement in the festival aligns us with this belief in the importance of a healthy lifestyle and in building a better future for the country,” De Wet said.

Martin Pretorius, managing director of Nashua Durban, said the company was proud to be associated with the festival for the fourth successive year.

“As sponsors, you understand that sports play a major social, political and economic significance in our contemporary society. If it wasn’t for the highly dedicated Kearsney team, together with the sponsors, this premier event would not be possible.”

Festival director Taff Green announced that a new outreach initiative was being introduced. “This year we are excited to introduce an outreach aspect at the festival, together with the KZNRU Development Programme, to help equip players from less privileged backgrounds with kit and equipment.
“We invite the public and festival rugby players to TOUCH, PAUSE & ENGAGE with RUGBY DEVELOPMENT by bringing new or good condition second-hand rugby kit and to leave it in designated collection bins next to the main field. By this simple gesture, people can make a meaningful and effective contribution to rugby development,” Green said.
All sizes of rugby shorts and jerseys, socks, boots, rugby balls, kit bags and any equipment would be appreciated. Contributions will be handed over during the closing ceremony after the final game.
Numerous food outlets and a refreshment tent will ensure spectators can fully enjoy the special family atmosphere. No alcohol will be permitted to be brought on to the campus. Entry is R20 for pedestrians and R50 per vehicle with ample parking available. Entry includes a glossy festival brochure providing team information and player statistics.

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