SARU’s Coca-Cola Youth Weeks, and more specifically Craven Week, is in all likelihood the most iconic schoolboy rugby tournament in the world. A tournament that showcases South Africa’s future Springboks, it is not to be missed by the truly passionate rugby fan who appreciates greatness in the making.
Over the years, many youngsters who featured in Craven Week have gone on to greater things in their lives – in various sports, business, academia and more.
The likes of Herschelle Gibbs, who went on to represent the Proteas cricket team, (and who could forget his contribution in one of South African cricket’s greatest comebacks against the Australians at the Wanderers?) as well as former Proteas captain, Hansie Cronje, are just some of the greats who began their sporting careers in this prestigious rugby tournament.
DHL Stormers and Springbok rugby player, Conrad Jantjes, who has the distinction of having represented his country in all three major South African sports disciplines - rugby, cricket and soccer - was initially spotted at the Coca-Cola Craven Week tournament in 1997.
He has played against rugby greats such as Christian Cullen, Jonah Lomu and football star Michael Owen, as well as fronted up against one of the world’s most resilient cricketing nations, the West Indies. From Jantjes’ starting point in youth rugby to being a superbly skilled soccer player (who had the chance to attend trials for the English Premier League giants, Chelsea), he is a perfect example of how greatness has beckoned.
Although Jantjes never achieved the opportunity to play for Chelsea due to being so young, he could easily be ranked as one of the most extraordinary sporting talents ever to come out of South Africa.
The Coca-Cola Craven Week, which is named after the legendary rugby player, coach and administrator Dr. Danie Craven, has given rise to some great South African stars from all walks of life. It made history in becoming one of the first multi racial sporting tournaments in South Africa, opening up its doors to players of all races in 1980.
With the Under 18 Craven Week tournament to be held in Kimberley this year (from 10-16 July), with a fresh and vibrant revival of the game, the Coca-Cola Youth Weeks promise to be an experience filled with excitement for the whole family - and it cannot be denied that in attending the youth event of the year, you could very well be watching future sports or business greats in the making.
Brand Manager for SARU, Sarah Mundy, commented that their contemporary creative and strategic implementations behind Coca-Cola Youth Weeks is directly in line with what SARU wants to do in targeting youth rugby overall. “It’s vital to develop and revive this tournament. Youth of today want to be involved in exciting and innovative ideas, and marketing the Coca-Cola Youth Weeks this way will motivate young people to become engrossed, participate and consume more rugby.”