In a return to the way things used to be in the old days, four Jeppe rugby teams went on tour to the Eastern Cape in the holidays.
The under-14, under-15 and under-16A teams travelled by bus, stopping over in Queenstown on the way down where they played matches against Queens College, before joining the first team at the Grey High Festival in Port Elizabeth for two more games.
Over the same weekend, three of our lower teams – the 3rds, under-15Cs and under-14Cs went to Volksrust in KwaZulu-Natal where they played in the Amajuba Festival, against the A and 1st teams of other schools.
There were over 180 boys, and 24 staff members on the two tours and Jeppe director of sport, Mr Brendan Gittins, said they were both a great success. “They weren’t easy, rugby-wise,” he pointed out. “The PE trip saw us play against top-class opposition in windy conditions that were very strange to us, and the teams in Volksrust played against A sides – the thirds took on the first teams of other schools – but it was good preparation for the season ahead, and a great experience for the boys.”
For the first team it was a successful exercise. They beat Selborne College, the top side in the Border region, in their first outing and then lost by a single point to St Andrew’s of Grahamstown. The under-15As won two out their three games.
In Volksrust, the 3rds beat the first teams of Benoni High and Hoërskool Volksrust and lost to Hoërskool Fochville’s 1sts.
“The results were not the important thing,” Mr Gittins said. “These days the junior age groups seldom get the opportunity to go on tour, and B and C team players hardly ever get the chance. We managed to give them the opportunity and I think it brought the entire rugby club closer together and it helped build on the Jeppe spirit that has to get us through the season ahead.
“We will be trying to make this an annual event from now on and are already busy arranging next year’s trip.”