Despite the fact that 2011 is still getting off the ground and coastal schools only open their doors later this week (19 January), Kearsney's Easter Rugby Festival organisers are already hard at work to ensure that this year's tournament is the best yet.
Until recently, there was no Easter rugby festival for schools in Kwa-Zulu Natal although the sport had gained much momentum around the country seeing no fewer than five annual festivals. Subsequently, the Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival has become a much anticipated calendar event drawing the support of valuable sponsors and top schools from around the country - and even one international entrant!
The participants of this year's event comprise arguably the best line-up of schoolboys' rugby yet achieved in South Africa. Moreover, in 2011 the Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival coincides with the reintroduction of the Easter Club Rugby tournament hosted at Rovers in Durban, making Kwa-Zulu Natal the rugby hotspot this April.
The Festival will run on the 21st (Thursday), 23rd (Saturday) and 25th (Monday) of April and has increased the invitation listing from ten to twelve schools to mark the occasion of Kearsney College's 90th anniversary. It may be the Easter weekend and holiday-time, but Kearsney College is gearing up for the arrival of several hundred of the country's top schoolboy rugby players, their coaches and families, as well as several thousand supporters of schoolboy rugby.
Returning teams from last year's event are: Hoerskool Marais Viljoen, Hoerskool Dr EG Jansen, Hoerskool Monument (Gauteng), Hoerskool Nico Malan, Dale College, Selborne College (Eastern Cape), Glenwood High School, Kearsney College (Kwa-Zulu Natal), and Grey College (Free State). Organisers are thoroughly pleased to be welcoming first time participants: Hoerskool Helpmekaar (Gauteng), Paarl Gymnasium (Western Cape) and Christ College (New Zealand).
Blythedale Coastal Resort developer and eLan Property Group CEO, Mark Taylor, expresses his excitement for the festival saying that: "At eLan, we believe that the great game of rugby is a nation building tool and has the power to change lives. Our passion for the game is best illustrated in our title sponsorship of the South African Rugby Legends Association (SARLA) as well as our friendship with many local rugby greats. The team at the eLan Group is thrilled to be in the position of title sponsor for this great event for the second year running, especially as we see a close link between Blythedale Coastal Resorts' family aspects and the vision of the organisers. We wait in eager anticipation for the commencement of the 2011 Blythedale Coastal Resort Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival and wish all the participating teams the very best of luck in their preparation and training for this upcoming event."