Rugby: Preview of Grant Khomo Week

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GRANT KHOMO U16 RUGBY WEEK

Excitement builds for Grant Khomo Week in the Bay

A feast of rugby rarely seen in Nelson Mandela Bay will be on offer when South Africa’s best emerging talent take centre stage in the annual Grant Khomo U16 Week from June 17 to 21.

Hosted under the auspices of the Eastern Province High Schools Rugby Association, the action will take place on the Kolisi Field and the Pollock Oval at Grey High, with a total of 20 provincial teams involved. The matches will be played on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

EPHSRA chairwoman Valerie Witbooi said they were excited about hosting this celebration of schoolboy rugby, which will be the biggest such event in Gqeberha since the staging of the 2012 Craven Week at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

“It is the first time we are hosting the prestigious Grant Khomo Week and preparations are well under way for the tournament,” she said.

“The players are being well-conditioned and the coaches are working tirelessly towards their gameplan for the main game against Western Province on June 17.”

The local side will round off the opening day’s programme against a traditionally strong WP outfit and will be focused on producing a top-class performance to stand a chance of featuring in the main fixtures later in the week.

Once the first day’s action is completed, the Wednesday fixtures will be decided, guided by Monday’s results.

Witbooi said they were expecting capacity crowds during the week at the two venues and encouraged local rugby enthusiasts to throw their support behind the EP team.

“The management and the players are very positive about the week and we have been overwhelmed with the support we have received from all stakeholders in the Eastern Cape, including the provincial government and the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality,” she said.

“All systems are in place and we are constantly working on all the logistics involved so we can a deliver a great week of rugby at the Grey High School.”

The programme on the Kolisi Field begins with Griquas against Pumas and will be followed by what should be two cracking affairs when the Lions face Boland and the Sharks tackle Free State.

The tournament is named after ace sportsman Grant Khomo, one of the best rugby centres South Africa has produced, who became a respected administrator as president of the then SA African Rugby Board (later the SA Rugby Association).

He led the first African national team to a 14-3 victory over their coloured counterparts at the Port Elizabeth Agricultural Showgrounds in September 1950 and captained the team for the next two years.

Khomo also captained the Bantu national soccer team against a coloured side and held the national African tennis title.

In 2003, he became the first black rugby icon recognised by the SA Rugby Football Union when the U16 tournament was named the Grant Khomo Week.

The scheduled opening day fixtures are (times to be confirmed):

Kolisi Field: Pumas v Griquas, Lions v Boland, Free State v Sharks, Blue Bulls v WP XV, EP v WP

Pollock Oval: Free State XV v Border Country Districts, Valke v Griffons, Border v Zimbabwe, Leopards v Limpopo, SWD v Namibia

RELEASED BY:

Neale Emslie   Cell: 071 850 0865   Email: [email protected]

On behalf of:Local organising committee

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