The pinnacle of schools’ rugby action begins on Monday when the 2017 Coca-Cola U18 Craven Week kicks off alongside the U18 Academy Week at St Stithians College in Johannesburg.
The Border Craven and Academy sides fly to Johannesburg today as they gear up for their opening match days on Monday and Tuesday respectively.
The Border Craven week team gets their campaign off to a cracking start in the main game of the day against the hosts, the Golden Lions, in what should be a thrilling clash on Monday afternoon.
With Border and the Lions both in the tough side of the draw that also features tournament favourites Western Province, they will know how important the first match will be in building confidence and momentum.
“I have full confidence in these boys. I think they can take anyone on the day and if they apply themselves and if they want to win they can do it,” said Border Craven Week coach Mark Farnham.
“I think it will be a very exciting game. The atmosphere will be electric and it is the perfect test to get our Craven Week under way with.”
Border find themselves on a tough half of the draw, with defending champs Western Province and Free State as well and should they beat the Lions, they could come up against one of those teams next.
However, Farnham isn’t looking too far ahead.
“We are just looking towards Monday. We will see how that match goes and then focus on what needs to be done next,” said Farnham.
“But we want to win. We can pass, we can kick, we can run and we need to use all of those things and if we use them smartly, we can beat anyone on the day.”
The Academy Week side kicks off their week on Tuesday against the Leopards and will be looking to get themselves up-and-running with a bang.
“It is going to be a tough one. We played the Leopards Craven Week side at Bondedag (warm-up tournament) a few weeks ago and did well, so we are now playing the Academy side and we are looking to take that one,” said Border Academy coach Reinhard Gerber.
The team also finds themselves in a tough side of the draw that features the Blue Bulls, Free State and the Lions and could find themselves up against one of them in their next fixture.
However, Gerber is happy with the side selected and believes they can do the job no matter who they face.
“I am very happy with the team. I think we have got the best here. It is a very strong side and hopefully we will do well in the week and take all three, which is our aim.”
The Border Craven Week team kicks off their campaign on Monday afternoon against the Lions, with the match live on SuperSport 1 from 3.20pm, with the Border Academy Week team then getting their week underway on Tuesday with the fourth match of the day.