The Blue Bulls beat the Golden Lions 22-17 in a Schools of Excellence match in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The match took place at Pirates Rugby Club in Johannesburg and formed part of the inaugural Gauteng Schools of Excellence Challenge featuring four schools from Gauteng – FH Odendaal and Voortrekkerhoogte High Schools in Pretoria, and Queens High and Kliptown Secondary Schools in Johannesburg. Players from these schools have been involved in trial sessions and warm-up matches since April.
Saturday’s clash, which showcased some enterprising running rugby, was a tense affair between the provincial rivals with the Bulls edging the Lions. A lunch for all the players followed at the famous rugby club, after which the players travelled by bus to attend the Springboks’ second Test against Ireland at Ellis Park.
In the lead-up to Saturday, the players and their coaching staff had the opportunity to meet some of the Springbok players at a training session in Johannesburg. Four of the Boks – Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Scarra Ntubeni, Jesse Kriel and Jaco Kriel – attended the players’ kit handover ceremony at the Southern Sun Monte Casino Hotel.
The Schools of Excellence Programme was initially lunched by SA Rugby in 2012 and rolled out to 20 schools in Western Province, Boland, Border, South Western Districts and Eastern Province. But it has since expanded to all provinces in the country, with a total of 42 schools and more than 5,000 players benefiting from the programme in the past five years.
Last Thursday, five Border schools took part in a rugby tournament as part of a Youth Day Sport Day. SA Rugby, though the Schools of Excellence Programme, assisted the Border Rugby Union with kit for all the kids, subsidised transport for schools in outlying areas, and sponsored the Man of the Match medals and team trophies.
Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images