Paul Roos are gearing up to take on the Northern Hemisphere winter conditions complete with potentially tricky to adapt to surfaces, during the December 2023 school holidays, when they travel to Ireland for 11 days with a 38-player squad.
This is smart planning. They will face four Irish teams in-season which will hopefully make them more formidable:
Colaiste Iognaid (The Jes)
Another (Presentation College is unavailable due to other commitments)
Grey College received a major head start on their main rivals for top honours, during the 2023 regular season by offering their u17 group excellent exposure against strong teams at the World Schools Festival in Thailand during December 2022. Apart from the experience gained, the coaching staff were able to take full advantage of the opportunity via the intel they gained from the matches.
Now Paul Roos can expect something along the same lines, as they build team energy, cohesion and planning in the lead up to what could and should be an outstanding season for the boys from Stellenbosch in the Winelands. Eight boys who did regular duty for the 1st XV during the 2023 season are set to return in 2024.
The Maroon Machines will tour Ireland without their SA Schools forward and headboy-elect Riley Norton. The 2m giant will instead be representing his cricket province at Coke Week in Makhanda (Grahamstown). He has been included in the wider group from which the u19 Cricket World Cup 15-player team will be selected for the tournament in Sri Lankan in January 2024. If picked, it would make the talented u17, a double international player for his country and quite possibly the youngest of a very select group to achieve this feat.