Eastern Province Craven Week flanker and head boy elect Justin Benn will lead Daniel Pienaar Technical High School in the defence of their U/19 title at the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in Port Elizabeth this weekend.
The festival of rugby, which takes place at Andrew Rabie High School on December 3 and 4, will see 28 teams battle it out in the U/19 and U/15 categories.
Despatch and Progress rugby clubs are tipped to be Daniel Pienaar’s main challengers for the title, said organiser Jacques Steyn.
“But any of the teams can pose a threat on the day,” said the school’s sports officer Moolman Olivier. “Fitness plays a major role, as does skill and possession.”
Olivier said his side – from Uitenhage – was well balanced with some real speed in the backline.
“We’ve been busy with exams and the boys found it tough to fully focus on the tournament. But this week things should improve,” said Olivier.
He said the players were using every opportunity between their studies to get together and train hard.
The squad will feature a host of new faces, with just three players – Emile Potgieter, Siviwe Sanka and Phillip Solomons – remaining from the team that beat Marlow Agricultural High School in last year’s final.
Olivier said that it was very important to expose young players to the sevens rugby format and that taking part in a tournament like the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens gave them an opportunity to gain vital experience.
“Overall, we haven’t fared too badly this season,” said Olivier. “At the DF Malan Sevens in Cape Town, we beat Paarl Gymnasium 26–10 in the bowl final.”
“We also made it to the final of the Uitenhage leg of the @lantic Sevens after beating Brandwag in the semis, but unfortunately lost to Grey.”
Apart from top national and international players, the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens is a showcase for promising young rugby talent. With 1 200 participants, it is the largest rugby participation event in Africa.
The tournament promises to be a weekend of family entertainment that includes sporting action, a retail section, kids’ adventure zone, beer tent, stalls and live music.
The schools’ line-up includes: U/19 – Andrew Rabie, Brandwag, Cillié, Daniel Pienaar, Easy Fana Dragons, Despatch, Harbhajan Force, Kirkwood, Lynx, Marlow, Otto du Plessis, Progress, Saints Invitation, Skymag, Spartans, Spitfire Invitation; U/15 – Alex Force, Brandwag, Cillié, Daniel Pienaar, Elliot, Grey PE, Despatch, Lynx, Marlow, Otto du Plessis.
Full Stop Communications
On behalf of:
Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens