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Back You are here: Home Sports Rugby Rugby: 10 Fun Coca-Cola Craven Week Facts
Thursday, 27 June 2013 15:49

Rugby: 10 Fun Coca-Cola Craven Week Facts

It’s nearly Coca-Cola Craven Week time as Under-18 rugby fever escalates and explodes on to Polokwane, Limpopo from 8 - 13 July. As we celebrate 50 years as the greatest schoolboy rugby tournament in the world, here are some lesser-known funky facts to astound your rugby mates at your next tribal gathering around the braai.


1. The inaugural tournament took place in 1964 in East London as part of the South African Rugby Board’s 75th Jubilee and for most provinces it was quite a novelty to choose a provincial team for the first time.

2. The tournament was the brainchild of Piet Malan – 1949 Springbok flank and at 94-years-old our oldest living Springbok – who suggested the idea of a festival of schoolboy rugby to take part alongside the South African Rugby Board’s 75th Jubilee celebrations.

3. At the time the tournament was not universally welcomed as some headmasters were worried that it might go against the educational spirit of schoolboy sport. It went ahead anyway and has become a legendary week celebrated by fans and players alike.

4. Craven Week is part of the momentous Coca-Cola Youth Weeks “where heroes are made”. It includes: Under-13 Craven Week where youngsters “tackle the future”; Under-16 Grant Khomo Week; Under-18 Academy Week; and LSEN Weeks for Learners with Special Education Needs like learning, visual and hearing impairments, and epilepsy.

5. In 1980 Danie Craven insisted the festival be open to players of all races putting the tournament way ahead of its time and allowing outstanding players like Avril Williams and Chester Williams to emerge during the eighties.

6. Coca-Cola Craven Week has travelled all over South Africa but this is the first time in 50 years that Polokwane and the Limpopo Province will be hosting the prestigious tournament.

7. Over the past half a century 243 Springboks have graduated through the Craven Week ranks and 46 Springboks have played at the Under-13 Craven Week.

8. 1974 was the first year that a national schools team was chosen from the best players at Craven Week and since then a SA schools team has been chosen every year. That is why in 1969 when the Australian Schools’ undertook their first tour of South Africa, no SA Schools team was chosen.

9. Many father and son rugby greats have played at Craven Week including SchalkBurger senior (1973 - Western Province) and Schalk Burger junior (2001 - Boland) and Hennie and Andries Bekker playing for Western province in 1970 and 2001 respectively.

10. Marking 50 years of schoolboy rugby greatness means that the week from 8 - 13 July will be a festival of note. Be a part of half a century of everything great in Under-18 rugby.

So if you are in Polokwane this July (just two and half hours from Pretoria), get down to the old Peter Mokaba stadium and celebrate this momentous occasion in the history of South African sport. These youngsters are the future of rugby and who knows what giants are among them.