1. Wynberg Festival
Glenwood attending the Wynberg Festival is unique in it’s own right. This may well will mark their debut at the event. Like Wildeklawer, the Wynberg Festival normal takes place over the long weekend which often falls between the public holidays of 27 April and 01 May. However in 2019 there is no long weekend around that time and so the WBHS festival organisers have shifted it to the end of 1st term holidays.
Wynberg had to cancel the 2018 festival because of the severe drought and water restrictions.
2. Two back-to-back festivals
Glenwood will be involved in four festivals in 2019, which is highly unusual. Their extended school holidays stay in the Western Cape will see them play two matches at Wynberg in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs, followed by two more against international opposition at the World Schools Festival at Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch a week later.
A few weeks after that the Green Machine will take part in three games at their tenth consecutive Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival, about 40km from their home base in Durban . After that they’ll have just a little over a week to recover ahead of the premier 1st XV school rugby festival: Wildeklawer at Diamantveld in Kimberley. Here they have big guns in the form of Paarl Boys’ High and Garsfontein of Pretoria to contend with.
Glenwood head coach Derek Heiberg has had a remarkable first season in charge, guiding his boys to an unbeaten 2018 season, of which 13 of the 17 were on the road:
“I understand that is a lot of rugby for the boys with both tours coming soon after each other and with a small squad for next year that is perceived as a risk. This season we played three games at Kearsney and then went straight to the World Schools so the workload was actually more than it will be next year. It turned out to be a blessing however as it enabled us as coaches to understand the players more, reinforce our culture and ethos and played a huge part in our overall success. So for us the earlier we tour the better as I feel it is a vital part of team chemistry.”
3. No Hilton match
Hilton terminated this derby after 2014 but their reasons for doing so no longer holds that much weight as a result of their own rugby ambitions. The schools have played a couple of chukka matches since 2014.
For 2019 the Glenwood was even prepared to play the Midlands private during Glenwood’s exam time. However Hilton opted out because the fixture which would have taken place at Glenwood, would have resulted in an imbalance of too many away games in relation to home games.
It’s not an unusual call by Hilton decision-makers. This year Hilton also contemplated cancelling their 1st XV match against DHS because of a cricket tournament overlap.
4. No Affies match
After several years of heated derby days, there was no Glenwood-Affies interschools in 2017, with neither party prepared to share reasons for it being called off. It however made a return in 2018. Sadly for 2019, its off the cards again and it seems like it was Affies who made that decision (and word is that is had to do with Affies being able to agree a match day with Westville for 2019, something that was not achievable in 2018, which gave rise to the Glenwood fixture)
5. No Michaelhouse match
Michaelhouse last played Glenwood in a proper interschools match in 2015, the year they went unbeaten for the first time in over a century. House have been very consistent in their schoolboy rugby stance but unlike Hilton, they have never given an official reason for not wanting to play Glenwood, yet 2019 will mark the fourth straight season without a scheduled derby Saturday.
The Balgowan private follows a different school holiday calendar which includes a midterm break. Also their official fifteen-man rugby season concluding at the end of the second term every year. So during just about every season they have a shortage of available Saturdays and have been pointing to this “no free weekend” as the reason for not being able to find space for Glenwood.
6. No Northwood match
Northwood also haven’t played Glenwood for a while now but it hasn’t been a train-smash because Northwood were a bit weak for the better part of that time. However the Durban North school has experienced a bit of an A-team rugby revival and performed quite well in 2018. 2019 could potentially be an outstanding year for the Knights’ 1st XV, with most of their 2018 starters returning in 2019.
It will be a great pity for them if they get to the end of the 2019 season and discover that they were sold short because school officials didn’t do more to give the first team enough meaningful challenges. This might apply to some of their other A-teams as well.
7. St Charles interschools returns
While some in KZN have been shaking their heads at the privates and bantering the term “padded fixture list” around, the same won’t be said of St Charles in 2019. Like Northwood, there are some good rugby vibes coming out of the Pietermaritzburg Catholic school. They have really set out to challenge themselves and make the step up. This year they played Maritzburg College for the first time in 41 years and next year in addition to hosting College, they break a 42-year drought by playing Glenwood interschools for the first time since 1977. Interestingly the Green Machine-Saints fixture was once a proper intercity rivalry dating back to 1934 and the record currently stands at 26 wins apiece from 57 matches (5 draws).
8. Durban High School in the third term
There are actually two exciting things here.
Firstly the double-header is back for the first time since 2006.
Secondly the game on Dixon’s will be during the third term. DHS dipped their toes into third term rugby this year by arranging two matches and obviously liked it enough to want more.DHS went through a ±10-year rough patch but have worked hard in recent years to become relevant at 1st XV level again.
With former Glenwood staff defecting to DHS to try make things happen on the Berea, it’s add a bit of extra spice to what has been a great rivalry for the better part of Durban school boy rugby history. Also worth mentioning is that two of the better schoolboy rugby head coaches in SA are in charge at the respective schools.
9. Clifton-Monnas twinning
This arrangement might prove to be a problem. Playing Glenwood is uncharted territory for Clifton who have done really well for such a small young school without a boarding establishment. The Morningside private has agreed that their A-teams will play the Glenwood B-teams on the day that the Monument Witbulle of Krugersdorp are in town. How Monnas will feels about their B-teams playing Glenwood C-teams is perhaps also uncharted territory. There might be more to write about this…
10. Menlopark to be confirmed
With a few Glenwood guys taking public swipes at a Menlo official over the sometimes sensational topic of recruitment, one senses that there isn’t much respect going around here. After a successful launch in 2017, this match day was a no-go in 2018 and for 2019, Glenwood have marked it as “TBC”.