Unions commit to supporting self-funded Youth Weeks in 2020

A bit of good news in a follow up to some bad news about sponsorship money for the national youth weeks seemingly drying up, is that SARU document shows that all the unions have agreed to participate in the self-funded Under-18 Academy Week and Under-13 Craven Week.It was bound to be a tricky process because the youth teams are nowhere close to being selected and therefore it’s not known at this stage who can and cannot afford the costs.  This meant that the unions had to take an objective view to financing. So far it all seems to be working out. Border has signed up for 2020. They were possibly amongst the concerns as they did not field a team for the Inter-provincial Sevens tournament last year due to budget restrictions.

U18 Craven Week 2020 & u16 Grant Khomo Week 2020 to be combined – 04 February 2020

The u18 Craven Week and u16 Grant Khomo Week will now be played at the same venue in Port Elizabeth during the 2nd week of the June/ July school holidays.

This will continue to be a fully funded SARU project.

The old formats will apply.

The quota requirement is 12 out of 23 players of colour per team.

“Foreign players, schooled in South Africa, can be selected for the Provincial Youth week’s teams but with the understanding that black foreign players are not calculated as players of colour. However, they will be considered for National selection when they qualify as SA Citizens.”

The u18 Academy Week, u13 Craven Week and the LENS Week will be combined and played at Jeppe Boys’ High during the 1st week of the June/July school holidays.

SARU are looking opportunities to have the event sponsored  but as things stand the unions have been made to understand that it will be a self-funded event.

In this regard the cost has been set out at R3150.00 per player.

The unions will have to provide feedback on whether or not they will be sending teams to participate by 14 February 2020.

Although not stated, one has to assume the format might be adjusted after its determined how many teams are attending.

Several Country District teams were withdrawn from Academy Week previously and have indicated that they wish to continue as a self-funded week. It will be hosted as follows:
Griquas -2020
KwaZulu-Natal – 2021
Eastern Province – 2022.


  1. @Knight: Sorry just to clarify my terminology which might be misleading. In terms of CW the teams who are offered the opportunity to play for a place in the unofficial final are the “big unions”. So that would include
    1 Bulls
    2 WP
    3 Lions
    4 KZN Sharks
    5 Free State
    6 EP
    7 SWD
    8 Pumas
    9 Border
    10 Boland

    The matter might be complicated by the inclusion of the WP B team in recent years as they clearly deserve to be in the A-stream as well.

  2. 2001 – SWD
    2002 – WP
    2003 – WP
    2004 – Cheetahs
    2005 – Lions
    2006 – Bulls
    2007 – Cheetahs
    2008 – SWD
    2009 – WP
    2010 – Cheetahs
    2011 – Cheetahs
    2012 – Bulls
    2013 – WP
    2014 – EP
    2015 – WP
    2016 – WP
    2017 – Lions
    2018 – WP
    2019 – WP

    Winners over the past 18 years been at every week since 2005 in the modern era . SWD , Border and EP always bring very good sides to Cravenweek will not be fare to classify them as small unions in schooboy terms .
    Maybe the sharks a small union beet with only two finals in 18 years and no wins . Ha Ha only joking ! Keep it as it is let the boys play .

  3. I understand why the u18 AW has been split from u18 CW. if there is not enough interest expressed by the unions in going ahead with the AW it will probably be cancelled altogether for good.

    I thought it would better serve SARU’s interests as an u17 tournament.

    Either that or use it as an incentivised u18 tournament which opens the door for achieving players to take part in CW a week later. Perhaps AW could consist of 2 matches. The best players then get retained to form 2 teams that practice together and advance to play CW the next week.

    At CW allow all the big union teams to play on Day 1 Monday and again on Wednesday. Tuesday and Thursday reserved for the smaller union teams. Best two team from Mon/Wed group get to play the televised final on Saturday. Best two team from Tue/Thu get to play a televised curtain raiser to the final on Saturday. Other Mon/Wed teams play their third game on the Friday.

    Saturday at CW then marks the start of HP for the selected group excluding those from teams in the televised games. The HP is conducted in region where the CW is held to save money. The facilities of the local rugby union are used. Perhaps this HP camp can be for 4-5 days after which an SA Schools team is picked and those SAS players continue to train together for the remainder of the third week of the July holidays. For most players this will be a two-week workout but considering that they probably had spent the first week of the holiday before CW in a training camp (unless they played at AW), 3 weeks of on the road rugby intensity might be asking a bit too long. But the idea was to make AW more worthwhile and to try save SARU some money on the cost of arranging a separate HP in the Cape and having to pay for return ticket airflights for a number of players who don’t reside in the Cape.

  4. @Vleis: Yeah I know of at least one person at SARU who thought this was the way to go i.e. more than one u13 youth tournament per annum. Its a pity that some good ideas are constrained by finances.

  5. @Beet: Perhaps a few regional u13 tournaments to save money on logistics – e.g. a) Noorvaal, b) W Cape and c) E Cape + FS? KZN coastal could join E Cape and Inland could join Noordvaal?

  6. @boerboel: Reading SARU’s way forward document, CW u13 is going to present more of a challenge to stage due to self-funding required.

    I’ve often questioned its worth but I have been made to understand that it is a good talent identification mechanism and that working towards the goal of selection also helps development of PDI by many primary schools around the country.

  7. @boerboel: Always amazes me how many u13 CW players the Winelands schools acquire. Assuming WP, Bol, SWD produce 69 + a few more due to injury, there must be CW u13 capped kids coming in from regional teams further away as well.


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