Grey tackle Monnas first

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The Grey College 1st XV flyhalf, Jean Smith. He is the son of the former Springbok fyhalf/ centre and Toyota Cheetahs coach, Franco Smith. PHOTO: MORGAN PIEK

The first school rugby fixtures on the 2021 calendar have been confirmed after more than a year of no matches being played due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Saturday it will mark exactly a year since the last matches were played before the sport was suspended.

The rugby factory in Bloemfontein, Grey College, will get their first taste of action on 17 April when they travel to Krugersdorp to tackle the Hoërskool Monument.

The match against Monnas will be a special occasion for the school that has produced Springboks such as Brendan Venter, Jacques Fourie, Willem Alberts, Jaco Taute, Ruan Dreyer and Julian Redelinghuys, as they will be celebrating their centenary.

The coach of Grey, Jannie Geldenhuys, told Bloemfontein Courant they are preparing as best they can for what will be a special fixture.

“At the moment all the preparation that we are allowed is going well.

“To play our first game against one of our oldest rivals Monnas on the 17th of April is going to be an enormous privilege, especially on the occasion of their centenary.

“Monnas is one of our fiercest rivals, especially since we started playing them as in annual interschools matches so many years ago.

“For us at Grey College, we are very excited to have the fixture back on our calendar. The Wit Bulle has been one of the best school rugby teams in South Africa over so many years, and it’s always an honour and a privilege to play against one of the best rugby schools.

“There are still certain arrangements that need the approval of the DBE (Department of Basic Education), but we are confident that everything will be in place to get back to schoolboy rugby after more than 12 months.”

Other fixtures on the cards for Grey are Hoërskool Menlopark (Pretoria) and Hoërskool EG Jansen (Boksburg) during the annual Noord/Suid-toernooi on 28 April and 1 May. A week later a massive battle is expected in the Cape when they travel to tackle Paarl Boys’ High (Boishaai) in Paarl. Over the course of May they will also be in action against Afrikaans Hoër Seunskool in Pretoria, Selbourne College and Oakdale Landbou in Bloemfontein. In August they will make the trip down to Port Elizabeth to tackle Grey High School, before capping off the season against the old enemy, Paul Roos Gymnasium, which has been penned down for 21 August in Bloemfontein. – MORGAN PIEK