Craven Week canceled as Covid-19 lockdown continues

Written by Hannes Nienaber

YouthWeeks School of Rugby | Craven Week canceled as Covid-19 lockdown continues  - School of RugbyThe Craven Week will for the first time since the inaugural festival of schools' rugby back in 1964 not take place this year due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. SA Rugby and the South African Schools' Rugby Association had to make the difficult decision to call off all the Youth Weeks.

This includes the Academy Week (u18), Grant Khomo Week (u16), LSEN-week (for learners with special educational needs) as well as the Craven Week for Primary Schools (u13). It was very unlikely that these weeks would've taken place as the South African lockdown was extended for another two weeks by president Cyril Ramaphosa. 

The Youth Weeks was left without a sponsor in 2018 and adjustments were made earlier this year to the various tournaments to ensure that they will still continue despite the major financial constraints. The lockdown will without a doubt have major financial implications for South Africa's economy. This will further put stress on SA Rugby's budget and the future of the various Youth Weeks might be in the jeopardy. 

The biggest annual school rugby tournament in the world the Craven Week is without a sponsor after Coca-Cola and Saru decided not to renew their long-standing relationship after 35 years in 2018. This year's Academy Week, as well as u13 Craven Week, was already not part of SA Rugby's budget. Parents of players selected to represent their provinces would've had to cover the cost of attending the tournament. 

It is however not a new occurrence in schools' sport as the Nuffield Week as it was known back then wasn't held in 1955 due to the polio outbreak. It also took a break in 1971 because of the school leavers being called up for national service after writing their matric exams. The Nuffield Week (now the Khaya Majola Week) then moved from a December tournament to a tournament hosted in January for a couple of years to ensured the tournament survived past the Border War.

The Craven Week was also disrupted back in 1975 and 1976 when the Transvaal schools moved to a three-term year. The prestigious tournament was split into two with the Transvaal schools hosting their own Craven Week and the rest of the country playing as normal. 

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