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‘Future Boks on display’

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Under 13 Craven Week / Under - 16 Grant Khomo Week

File Photo. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

IT IS ALL systems go at Diamant-
veld High School and Kimberley is ready for the SA Rugby Youth Weeks.

Today marks the start of the Under-13 Craven Week and the Under-16 Grant Khomo Week in the city and government and local businesses have pledged their support for the prestigious events.

“The SA Rugby Youth Weeks form the cornerstone of rugby in South Africa and we are excited to see the talent on offer,” said SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux.

“These tournaments offer our top school players a fantastic opportunity to measure themselves against the best at age-group level, while at the same time exposing them to the demands of provincial rugby at a young age.

“It is pleasing that we are able to host the Under-13 Coca-Cola Craven Week and Under-16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week at Hoërskool Diamantveld in Kimberley, and we are looking forward to a thrilling competition.”

Spokesperson for Sol Plaatje Local Municipality, Thoko Riet, said that Kimberley was gearing up for a busy week and local businesses were ready for the influx of visitors.

“Our city is delighted to play host to arguably the world’s biggest ever school rugby tournament,” Riet said.

“With 36 teams participating in the festivals, and 46 players representing Kimberley, the potential we have in this sport is clear.”

Riet added that many future rugby stars were likely to be among the estimated 1 000 players who will be visiting the city along with their support staff, family, friends and supporters.

“These events also offer a boost to the local economy and places of attraction to benefit from the influx of supporters,” she said, adding that the opening ceremony and some of the matches will be attended by the Sol Plaatje executive mayor, Mangaliso Matika, along with some of the councillors.

“With South Africa’s future Boks on display, this promises to be an unforgettable week.

“The executive mayor of Sol Plaatje Municipality takes this opportunity to welcome each team to our city and to wish them well.”

Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas will also be attending this morning’s opening ceremony and welcomed visitors to the city, adding that sports events of this nature benefit both participants and the host province.

“These festivals bear testimony to the capabilities of the Northern Cape to host tournaments of this magnitude,” Lucas said.

“This week of rugby follows closely on the conclusion of a successful Wildeklawer tournament and holds the potential of not only unifying people, but to also forge friendships and bonds that will transcend beyond colour, religion and creed.”

The premier added that school sport served as the foundation on which athletes build and from where their professional careers are launched.

“I urge athletes to take heed of the rules of the game and wish all competing schools a successful tournament.”

Meanwhile, the CEO of the Northern Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nocci), Sharon Steyn, said that events like the Saru Youth Weeks had many positive repercussions for the local economy as they brought with them an influx of visitors to the city.

She further encouraged residents and businesses to be adequately prepared for a busy week and to take advantage of this tourism opportunity.

“As Nocci, we are proud and honoured to welcome all that will be part of this week’s festivities,” she said. “All restaurants, supermarkets, petrol stations and other businesses are asked to ensure that they have enough stock available for all the visitors.

“Guest houses and lodges are requested to promote Kimberley by contacting tour guides to assist the visitors who wish to go sightseeing or visit any of the many attractions the city has to offer.

“While Kimberley residents often complain that nothing happens in the city, these youth weeks present yet another major opportunity.

“It is crucial to the local economy that these visitors enjoy their stay as we want to see more tournaments of this nature in Kimberley.

“We also ask that the Sol Plaatje Municipality assist by cleaning up and being part of the process of a visitor-friendly city.”

Today’s opening fixtures kick off at 9.30am at Diamantveld and will be preceded by the opening ceremony. The entry fee for spectators at Diamantveld is R20 per person per day.