A TOTAL of 24 rugby teams – 16 boys' sides and eight girls – will compete in the Northern Areas High Schools Night Series, which kicks off at the Adcock Stadium today.
The tournament will run during the week with the final playoffs being held on Friday, the main final set to take place at about 7.30pm.
The boys' and girls' events are part of the revival of the rugby programme in the northern areas, which began last year when the Northern Areas High Schools Rugby Initiative (NAHSRI) was launched by teachers Shaun Fondling and Kenny Joseph.
The year's programme incorporates a sevens tournament, the night series event, and a league programme which will be played on Wednesday afternoons in the second and third terms, ending in August.
The 15 northern areas high schools will be joined by Walmer High in the boys' competition. The draw was done last week at a function to launch the night series and the action will kick off at 1.45pm at the Adcock today.
NAHSRI chairman Fondling said the events were the continuation of the revival of rugby in the northern areas. "We are up and running now and I am sure it will grow from strength to strength," Fondling said.
He said that the plans were to choose two northern areas squads from the tournament and then to select a northern areas team which could possibly play composite sides from other regions.
"We are only too keen to meet with other regions, like the townships or Uitenhage, to show them how it works and to help them possibly set it up in their areas," Fondling said.
Today's matches are:
A field, 1.45pm: Bertram girls v Paterson, 2.05: Chapman v Booysen Park, 3.05: Paterson v Woolhope, 4.05: Booysen Park girls v Walmer, 4.25: Chatty v Livingstone, 5.25: Hillside v Arcadia
B field, 1.45pm: Hillside girls v Chatty, 2.05: Sanctor v St Thomas, 3.05: Westville v Morningside, 4.05: Arcadia girls v Gelvandale, 4.25: Bertram v Bethelsdorp, 5.25: Gelvandale v Walmer