After several years, to the Grey College standard in the desert, the 2018 1stXV team announced with no uncertain terms that Grey College is back and even better than before.
With 36 players available to Grey College representing the Free State already at youth weeks and then adding new pupils enrolled for 2019 it is no wonder why everybody that claims to know anything has Grey College as their No 1 hands down for 2019.
Players to return with provincial honours:
2018 Craven Week: AH Venter #2, DJ Beukes #4, Ian Small-Smith #11/12
2017 Grant Khomo: CH de Wet #1, S Lesolang #2, D le Roux #7, T Jonker #8, A van Straaten #10, L Botha #13, J-h Wessels #16, J Odendaal #22.
2018 Grant Khomo: T Nieuwoudt #1, R Fourie #2, O Botlhoko #3, S Vumazonke #4, D Louw #5, C Pretorius #7, M Barnard #8, JD Olivier #9, R Izaks #10, E Liberty #11, E Kotze #12, K Fransman #13, K Chabanyane #14, S Sokoyi #15, D Coetzee #16, H Swanepoel #17, C Campher #18, C Volschenk #19, D Ludik #20, D Lottering #21, L Leballo #22, C Mettler #23.
2018 SARU EPD Squad: G Cronje #7, F Knoetze #10, P Ekeji #11.
Grey College ended 2018 unbeaten with 1 draw against Glenwood (25-25) and 12 wins which included most of the top schools with Paarl Gim, Helpmekaar and Boland Landbou the only schools they did not play from the Ruggas.co.za final top 10. Their two victories against Hartpury College (Eng) and Christchurch BHS (NZ) at the World Schools Festival issued an early warning to the rest of the South African 1stXV's.
2019 will see Grey College 1stXV play 16 games (13 in 2018) with all of the teams deemed to be of the top rugby schools in South Africa but still no Helpmekaar or Boland Landbou.
09/03/2019 v Welkom Gim at home
16/03/2019 v Menlopark at Noord/Suid hosted at Garsfontein
19/03/2019 v Garsfontein at Noord/Suid hosted at Garsfontein
25/03/2019 v TBA at World Schools Festival hosted at Paul Roos
27/03/2019 v TBA at World Schools Festival hosted at Paul Roos
06/04/2019 v Middelburg HTS at home
13/04/2019 v Selborne away
02/05/2019 v Outeniqua at Wildeklawer hosted at Diamantveld
04/05/2019 v Paarl Gim at Wildeklawer hosted at Diamantveld
11/05/2019 v Paarl Boishaai at home
18/05/2019 v Affies at home
13/07/2019 v Waterkloof away
20/07/2019 v Grey High at home
27/07/2019 v Glenwood at home
03/08/2019 v Oakdale away
10/08/2019 v Paul Roos away
Personally, I do think that the top of the pile is becoming more crowded every year and Grey College 1stXV will have to perform better than the class of 2018 to remain unbeaten. However, taking into account the personnel they have one have to ask yourself why not?