As teams like Selborne, St Andrew’s and Framesby join the hosts in defending local honour, formidable visiting schools such as Glenwood, Jeppe, Westville and Bishops will ensure there is no easy passage to victory.
In particular, Durban school Glenwood should provide some of the highlights of the festival as they have perennially been one of KwaZulu-Natal’s top teams and will have blockbuster matches against Dale College and St Andrew’s.
Grey will also have their work cut out for them over the two days. They will finish off the first day’s programme against Cape Town rivals SACS and will bring the curtain down on the festival with Monday’s encounter against the dangerous Jeppe outfit from Johannesburg.
Another extremely interesting match-up will take place when Grahamstown team St Andrew’s take on their Cape Town rivals, Bishops.
This long-standing contest began way back in 1896, won by Bishops, and has regularly produced thrilling rugby between teams who both place their emphasis on the running game.
Bishops enjoyed a winning streak from 2014 to 2018 before the Andreans won 42-22 last year in a typically exciting encounter.
They play the main curtain-raiser on the opening day and it should attract a capacity crowd.
Besides their match against Grey, Jeppe will be preparing themselves for a pair testing fixtures as their first game is against another Eastern Cape powerhouse in Selborne.
This will be a repeat of last year’s festival when the Johannesburg boys snatched a 19-15 victory by scoring a try in the last moments of the match.
Framesby, one of PE’s top sides, will also face a challenge of considerable proportions as they play Westville in the second match on day one. This will be followed by a Monday encounter against the Selbornians.
Dale are another team who will have their credentials tested. Capable of playing entertaining rugby they will need to show their mettle when they conclude their festival with a Monday clash against Bishops after the opening game with Glenwood.
With age-group teams included in the festival, a total of 67 matches at five fields will be played during the course of the two days.
The senior team fixtures are:
8.00: Parktown v Kingswood College, 9.10: Framesby v Westville, 10.20:Queen’s College v Muir College, 11.40: Selborne v Jeppe, 12.50: Dale College v Glenwood, 14.00: St Andrew’s College v Bishops, 15.20: Grey High v SACS
11.40: Clifton College v Nico Malan, 12.50: Hudson Park v Graeme College; 14.00: Grey Unicorns v SACS 2nd; 15.20: Woodridge v Ithembelihle
8.00: Muir College v Hudson Park, 9.10: Unicorns v Ithembelihle, 10.20: St Andrew’s College v Glenwood, 11.40: Queen’s College v Westville, 12.50: Dale College v Bishops, 14.00: Framesby v Selborne College, 15.20: Grey High v Jeppe
12.50: Nico Malan v Parktown, 14.00: Kingswood College v Clifton College, 15.20: Graeme College v Woodridge
Caption: Grey High’s Marco Nortje goes on the charge in their match against Northwood at the Standard Bank Grey High Rugby Festival in 2019. This year Grey will play against SACS and Jeppe in the festival on March 21 and 23. Photo: Grey High School