Big annual Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival cancelled
Kearsney College has cancelled its famous annual Easter festival due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The tournament, one of the most highly anticipated, sees long-established schools go head-to-head in top-class rugby action.
But in line with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s declaration of a national state of disaster last week, the school had no option but to cancel the 13th Standard Bank Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival.
Kearsney’s headmaster Elwyn van den Aardweg said: “South Africans need to come together to support each other at this hour, and adopt a spirit of social responsibility and civic-mindedness to support the national effort and minimise the affects within the country.”
Next year is Kearsney’s centenary and a special edition of the festival is being planned with exciting new teams, Van den Aardweg said.
“These include a number of traditional schools with which Kearsney has had a long relationship over many decades, to ensure a suitable commemoration of the 100-year milestone with schools that have been traditional friends and rivals,” he said.
So much emphasis and pride is put in the festival that the launch sees lovers of the game across the spectrum, from current and former Springbok and Sharks rugby players, to coaches, administrators, rugby journalists and sponsors attend every year.
The Sharks and Sharks Academy, who have been involved since the festival’s inception, and many other rugby scouts will also be disappointed with the cancellation as the event gives them a chance to identify the stars of tomorrow and to cherry-pick some of these talents to play for academies and universities around the country.
Selborne College, who would have been East London’s only representative, were disappointed at the cancellation of the event.
“We are bitterly disappointed,” Selborne rugby coach Chase Morrison said.
“We rely on playing big schools to ensure we are challenged and pushed to our limits in regards to applying everything we've been working on since September last year.
“Kearsney allows us that opportunity
“Not only will the coaching staff be disappointed but also the boys, who were looking forward to playing in front of top scouts and getting a chance to play professional rugby.
“Selborne in its 11 years of attending the festival has really done well in receiving the various Sharks bursaries that are on offer, so the boys lose out on an opportunity to further their futures either at a university or big rugby union.
“All it takes is one good performance at a festival like Kearsney and you could find yourself with a full scholarship at a top university or, even better, a contract at one of the big rugby unions,” Morrison said.