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Sharks players return to Kearsney Easter Festival, where it all began

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THE 9TH annual Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival was held this weekend and for Sharks duo S’bura Sithole and Tera Mtembu it was significant.

Both professionals were seen at Kearsney, catching up with coaches from their high school days and watching the young talent showcase their skills.

The rugby festival, known as KERF, is considered to be one of the most competitive in the country and, in past years, the Sharks have used it to snap up the best rugby talent on offer for their academy.

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Sharks player S'bura Sithole was reunited with coach Clinton Loest, his high school coach at the Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival. Pictures: Tracey van den AardwegDrostdy and try scorer Cohen Jasper in the win against Kearsney College. Picture: Tracey van den AardwegSelborne captain and point scorer David Coetzer in the win against EG Jansen. Picture: Tracey van den AardwegDale 8th man Thandile Mpaneva fending off Monument players. Picture: Tracey van den Aardweg

Sithole could not be reached for comment on his cellphone but his high school rugby coach from his days at Queen’s College in the Eastern Cape, Clinton Loest, spoke highly of the centre-cum-winger. “He was very good, even at the under-15 level, where he used to play centre but we decided to convert him to the wing, where he played three seasons with the first team and captained our first team during the school’s 150th anniversary.

“He was different from the other players – his work ethic was incredible, he was dedicated. His work ethic got him where he is today,” said Loest. This week, Loest and Sithole were reunited at Kearsney where they watched a few matches together. Loest said the quality and the level of competition was “very high”. Like Sithole, Mtembu was a recipient of the first KERF Sharks Academy bursary awarded in 2008. He was moved to No 8 from centre in Grade 11 and joked that he only found out much later why the decision was made.

“I was too slow for centre and I only found out the truth four years later. It was definitely a good move.

“I’m a big family man. I had to pack up and leave my family to come to Durban. The day I left, my mother said to me: ‘Don’t let me down. You are going there for a purpose, give 100% percent’,” he said.

Asked if he had spotted any promising players, Mtembu said his old school, Dale College in the Eastern Cape, had a talented fullback in Aphelele Fassi.

Fassi will be joining the Sharks Academy.

KERF-Sharks Academy Bursary Recipients since 2008

2008

Hendrik le Grange – Middelburg Technical College

S’Bura Sithole – Queen’s College

Tera Mthembu – Dale College


2009

Leon Makiwane – Queen's College

Morne Stassen – Hoerskool EG Jansen

Chris Cloete – Selborne College


2010

Neil Jordaan – Grey College

Brendan Olivier – Nico Malan

Kagiso Segole – Kearsney College


2011

Dries Swanepoel – Grey College Bloem

Ryan Germishuys – Selbourne College

Sphu Msutwana – Dale College


2012

Siyabonga Tom – Glenwood High (captain)

Nqoba Mxoli – Westville Boys High

Wion Robertse – Paarl Gim


2013

Matt Reece-Edwards – Kearsney College

Mzwandile Mazibuko – Glenwood High

Rikus Bothma – Paarl Gim

Sarel Roux – Boland Landbou


2014

Kenny van Niekerk – Glenwood High

Curtis Jonas – Glenwood High

Adrian Heystek – Westville Boys’ High

Justerino Davids – Dale College

Barend Smit – HTS Middelburg


2015

Nico Peyper – EG Jansen

Jordan Chait – SACS captain

Heinrich Nieuwenhuizen – Selborne College

Jaydon Morgan – Glenwood High

Khuthazani Mchunu – Glenwood High


2016

Renier van Rooyen – Glenwood High

Aphelele Fassi – Dale College

Sibulele Mbana – Dale College

SUNDAY TRIBUNE

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