Wellington in the Boland is the venue for this year’s provincial under-18 Academy Week running from 02-05 July. The match days are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, so it’s quite congested and will be physically demanding on the players.
An SA Academy team made up of players that performed well over the three match days will be selected at the end of the festival. There is however an extra incentive this year. Due to changes in selection criteria, Academy players now also qualify for SA Schools selection. Although it’s assumed that players picked for the Academy Week teams are their respective Union’s second best available choices, in years gone by the SA Academy XV has beat the SA Schools team on a few occasions. This suggests that many of the youngsters at this tournament are every bit as good as the Craven Week players.
As usual KwaZulu-Natal has two representative sides participating. The teams are however split along different lines this year. There is the now a Country Districts team made up exclusively of players from schools outside the Durban-Maritzburg belt (and Balgowan). The KZN team is picked from schools within this region.
Day 1 fixtures:
Pumas CD vs Griffons
Eastern Province CD vs Leopards
Limpopo Blue Bulls vs Border
Blue Bulls vs Eastern Province
SWD Eagles vs KwaZulu-Natal
Western Province vs Golden Lions
Boland vs Free State Cheetahs
Border CD vs Blue Valke
Silver Valke vs SA LSEN Schools
Pumas vs Griffons CD
Griquas vs Namibia
Griquas CD vs Boland XV
KwaZulu-Natal CD vs Leopards CD
KZN team:1. M.Downer (Westville) 2. S. Pina (Glenwood) 3. V. Bulala (St Charles) 4. C. Eibig (Westville) 5. S. Negri (Hilton) 6. T. Ngcongo (Westville) – captain 7. R. Kay (Glenwood) 8.