Of all eight provincial teams in with a shot of making the unofficial Craven Week final, the Free State build up has so far been the best of the lot.
Good cohesion goes a long way at Craven Week because most teams tend to arrive undercooked in the sense that just about every head coach wishes he’d had more time to prepare his squad of players. Due to budget and interschool commitments, access to players and required resources is limited and is often regarded as inadequate by the coaches.
Some of the things setting Free State apart from the chasing pack in 2019 are:
- They are already going to benefit from having 16 or possibly more out of their 23 squad from Grey College – the core of the squad is literally able to workout together on a daily basis.
- Craven Week will be played at Grey College from 1-6 July 2019 – you can’t ask for more than homefield advantage to this extent.
- Grey College’s last competitive interschool match was against Affies on 18 May 2019 – since then their players have been able to dedicate themselves entirely to the Craven Week process without distraction.
- While the best the Blue Bulls and Golden Lions could manage were a couple of midweek trial matches sandwiched between Saturday school commitments, Free State have used two Saturdays exclusively for their warm-up matches – in this regard, Boland who would probably have generous 5000:1 odds on them to beat the Western Province A-team on Craven Week Day 1, did get in a Saturday match against SWD recently.
- THE SCHOOLBOY RUGBY BLOG CRAVEN WEEK PREDICTION FROM DECEMBER 2018