Rugby feast at Grey Festival

EASTERN Cape schools will face a rigorous examination of their ability when the Standard Bank Grey Rugby Festival gets under way on the school's fields tomorrow.

By attracting 26 first teams to their annual extravaganza, Grey High have ensured that schools rugby fans will be spoilt for choice over the next five days.

The Eastern Cape schools have consistently produced players of calibre and a glance around the country will see teams littered with players from the Eastern Province and Border regions.

With many of those schools in action in the Grey Festival, it presents another chance for the region to show its strength in the game and lend weight to the local administrators' long-running battle for a team from the area to be given a place in the upper echelons of provincial and franchise rugby.

Starting with Marlow and Ithembelihle, this is a chance for the locals to impress, but they can rest assured there will be no mercy shown by the opposition. All the schools in the festival have rich rugby traditions.

Tough Karoo team Marlow will be hoping to set the pattern when they play Durban outfit Westville in the second match on the Philip field, while Ithembelihle, who admit they were disappointing last year, will be thirsting to show what they can do against Argentine tourists La Plata.

Border powerhouses Queen's and Selborne follow each other on the Philip field in the lunchtime matches and face serious challenges from Michaelhouse and KES.

On the Pollock Oval, Kingswood will be aiming to prove themselves against the competitive Louis Botha outfit from Bloemfontein, while Daniel Pienaar (v Jeppe), Dale (v Windhoek Gym) and Nico Malan (v Parktown) all know they will be in for tough encounters.

Hosts Grey High end off the opening day against Kearsney at 4pm on the Philip field. - Neale Emslie