Only 16 teams will participate next year's 57th edition of the Craven Week that will be hosted at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth. It will be the fifth time since the inaugural tournament back in 1964 that the Friendly City will play host to the prestigious event.
Due the budget constraints it was decided to decrease the number of teams that will take part in the annual festival. Coca-Cola decided to part ways with SA Rugby's Youth Weeks at the end of last year after sponsoring the Craven Week for the previous 35 years.
This decision means that the Blue Bulls and Golden Lions won't be sending a second team to next year's Craven Week. Western Province will however still be sending a second team which is well deserved. It also shows that SA Rugby knows the worth of the talent pool which resides in the union.
Next year's hosts, Eastern Province, will face Griqualand West in the main match of the opening day in Port Elizabeth. This year's unofficial champions, Western Province, will face Border in their opening match. WP defeated the Blue Bulls by 56-31 in the main match of this year's tournament in Bloemfontein.
Western Province it seems will have an easier route to the main match as they will probably face Eastern Province or the Sharks in their second match. That is if both these teams manages to defeat Griqualand West and the Valke respectively.
The Blue Bulls and Golden Lions will face each other in what would probably be the match of the second day of the tournament. The Free State will take on South Western Districts in their opening match of the 2020-edition.
The Craven Week will take place from 29 June until 4 July.
The fixtures are:
Monday, 29 June 2020
Eastern Province vs Griqualand West
Sharks vs Valke
Boland vs Western Province XV
Western Province vs Border
Tuesday, 30 June 2020
Pumas vs Limpopo Blue Bulls
Griffons vs Leopards
South Western Districts vs Free State
Blue Bulls vs Golden Lions