The annual Raikes Memorial Match first played in March 1956 was for many years the traditional “pipe opener” to the rugby season in the Transvaal (now Golden Lions) province.
The event, inaugurated in honour of Humphrey Rivez Raikes, a former Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand was initially played between the Wits First XV and a Past Students XV, but from 1973 the opposition was changed to an invitation team and teamsheets over the years have read like a veritable Who’s Who of rugby with the likes of Frik Du Preez, Tommy Bedford, HO De Villiers, Kevin De Klerk, Gerald Bosch, Errol Tobias and John Robbie having graced the Wits field with their superlative talents.
The advent of an extended Super Rugby competition and more recently the Varsity Cup has necessitated a rethink on the timing of the Raikes match and Pieter Visser, the GLRU amateur rugby manager, has proposed that the event now be promoted as the official “season closer” for club rugby in the province.
This year’s opposition for the students comes in the form of a SupaRugby invitational team put together by Andre Bester, head of the well known rugby website.
The match will take place at the Wits rugby stadium on Saturday 14 September (17h10) and will be the final match of the Steinhoff International Raikes Memorial Rugby Day which includes golden oldies rugby, a schools invitational match and a “koshuis” encounter between the Steinhoff Wits Barbarians and the Steinhoff UJ Barbarians.
Raikes Memorial Match Programme:
13.00 Wits Old Boys vs Golden Lions Golden Oldies Invitational XV
14.00 Pirates Rugby Club Schools Festival XV vs Roodepoort Rugby Club Invitational XV
15.30 Steinhoff Wits Barbarians vs Steinhoff UJ Barbarians
17.10 FNB Wits First XV vs SupaRugby Invitational XV