2017 CAPE SCHOOLS WEEK(END) FOR DUMMIES
Farmer in full flight. Boland Landbou inside centre François du Toit outpaces the
Bellville defence during their match in May this year. (photo: Marlize Jordaan)
The 2017 Cape Schools Rugby Festival is being hosted by Rondebosch High School on Saturday 1 and Monday 3 July.
The local participants are Rondebosch, SACS, Boland Landbou, Wynberg and Stellenberg, the last two being guests, while Queens, Selborne and Dale (Border) and Grey High and Muir (Eastern Province) will be trekking down to show their mettle.
Every time the festival comes around, the use of Craven and Academy Week players provokes argument. The long and short of this contentious issue is that, although the Western Province players are under a pre-tournament embargo, there is nothing preventing the Eastern Cape sides from using such players. It’s that simple. So, live with it.
The format, indeed the very existence of this gathering, held every two years and hosted alternately by WP and Eastern Cape schools, has come under pressure recently. For instance, the first concession to those disaffected with the length of the event has seen it reduced from three to just two days, starting this year.
Concerned with the number of games their learners were playing, Wynberg, the school credited with the idea of the week, withdrew at fairly short notice from the 2015 week and have made it abundantly clear that their presence this year is purely as a favour to the host school.
Even Grey High have been a little pedantic, insisting that, this time around, they were only prepared to play core schools, which meant that the fixture list had to be altered so that they wouldn’t meet Stellenberg. The PE side wouldn’t have Wynberg anyway as the schools have a huge interschools weekend in May every year.
Stellenberg, who ironically may well be the side most affected by provincial call-ups this year, only owe their inclusion to the timely request by Paarl Gym to be allowed to be excused from this year’s proceedings.
With the pressure of the northern Paarl school’s pre-season derby with Affies, followed in quick succession by the rigours of the prestigious North-South and Wildeklawer events, one can only wonder whether they might not decide to make this decision more permanent.
To the neutral observer, such a school, proud of its results and high ranking nationally, has nothing to gain by participating in such a festival as they regularly supply up to a dozen players to the provincial Under 18 teams, meaning that they are forced to field sub-par teams.
It is virtually impossible to provide accurate forecasts for matches between teams that have faced few, if any, common opponents, but, in case wading through statistics isn’t your cup of soup, here are some suggestions as to which games might stand out.
And, just in case you were thinking of playing prediction games, swallow this one:
During the 2017 Eastern Cape local season Queens have beaten Dale (25-24), who have beaten Grey High (28-27) and Selborne (22-19), both of whom have, in turn, beaten Queens (24-22 and 14-12 respectively) !
Saturday 1 July
09:30 Wynberg vs Queens
10:45 Stellenberg vs Muir
12:00 Boland Landbou vs Grey High
13:45 SACS vs Selborne
15:00 Rondebosch vs Dale
If you look at the form of all the sides involved, Saturday’s match-ups appear to be as close to perfect as one could hope for.
Neither Wynberg nor Queens have had what could be described as successful winters, so this represents a chance for both teams to start to turn things around, albeit at this late stage. The Berg side has a large number of Grade 11s who can only benefit from the exposure.
Muir, arguably the weakest of the visiting schools, but who restricted in-form St Andrew’s to a twelve-point winning margin last Saturday, must fancy their chances of beating a Stellenberg team stripped of both first-choice half-backs, try-machine Angelo Davids on the right wing, hooker Josh Muller and fiery second-rower Janko Swanepoel.
Grey High’s exciting brand of running rugby has been rewarded with a string of impressive victories, but they will be facing a Boland Landbou side that is brimming with self-confidence after stirring victories over Stellenberg and bogey-side Paarl Gym, followed by an honourable 38-33 defeat away to Paarl Boys’ High last weekend.
This, along with the SACS vs Selborne clash, will most likely provide the most exciting fare of the whole festival.
The statistics below might show that Selborne have lost five matches this season, while their opponents SACS have only tasted defeat once, at the hands of Paul Roos – and then only 20-24 – but, hidden in among the lads from East London’s victories, is a 20-19 win over Grey College.
That, combined with the ten Craven Week players in their squad, should make this a must-see clash. The Young Ikeys were kept honest by lowly Wynberg last Saturday, by no means the result they would have been hoping to achieve going into what is almost a season-defining fixture.
Just before the final match of the day, Rondebosch headmaster Shaun Simpson will officially name the main rugby field the Tinkie Heyns Field in honour of the late Professor Heyns, who gave six decades of devoted service to the school. That is half of this fine institution’s entire existence, when one considers it was only founded in 1897 !
The day’s on-field activities close with Rondebosch taking on Dale. The fact that the school from Kingwilliamstown only boasts two Border Craven Week representatives may simply be ascribed to there being a fair number of Under 19 players in their squad, but that will provide scant relief to the hosts.
The visitors traditionally rely on moving the ball wide at speed, which means that, if they are to have any chance of winning the match, Bosch will have to try to force the King’s men – all of them, plus their horses – to play a more forward-oriented game, something which will not be made any easier by the absence of their provincial trio of Falconer, Smid and Mgolodela.
Monday 3 July
Cape Schools Week (at Rondebosch)
10:00 Stellenberg vs Dale
11:15 SACS vs Grey High
12:30 Boland Landbou vs Muir
13:45 Wynberg vs Selborne
15:00 Rondebosch vs Queens
As for Monday’s prospects, we’ll have to wait and see how things pan out on Saturday ! However, the SACS vs Grey High match is sure to be another humdinger.
Visiting schools’ 2017 results to date
Dale (2 Border Craven Week representatives)
Won (9) vs HTS Middelburg 22-21, vs HTS Daniel Pienaar 33-12, vs Stirling 34-17, vs Selborne 22-19, vs Grens 38-5, vs Muir 48-22, vs Kingswood 38-5, vs Grey High 28-27, vs Cambridge 47-7
Drawn (1) vs Die Brandwag 21-21
Lost (3) vs HTS Drostdy 25-26, vs Monnas 16-33, vs Queens 24-25
Grey High (8 EP CW reps)
Won (10) vs Durban HS 50-17, vs Maritzburg College 27-19, vs Westville 27-8, vs Parktown 52-6, vs Jeppe 36-22, vs Paul Roos 22-20, vs Wynberg 40-20, vs Graeme 22-15, vs Queens 24-22, vs HTS Daniel Pienaar 43-25
Drawn (1) vs Marlow 11-11
Lost (1) vs Dale 27-28
Won (3) vs Westering 18-10, vs Nico Malan 38-26, vs Cillie 33-15
Lost (8) vs Cambridge 5-23, vs Grey College 10-94, vs Union 20-21, vs St David’s 0-25, vs Parktown 7-25, vs Die Brandwag 12-35, vs Dale 22-48, vs St Andrew’s 17-29
Queens (1 Border CW rep)
Won (2) vs Dale 25-24, vs Hudson Park 36-15
Lost (7) vs Framesby 3-6, vs St John’s 7-13, vs Selborne 12-14, vs St Andrew’s 22-45, vs Stirling 28-31, vs Grey High 22-24, vs Graeme 11-18
Selborne (11 Border CW reps)
Won (8) vs Graeme 20-15, vs Pretoria BHS 60-5, vs EG Jansen 46-19, vs Grens 76-0, vs Queens 14-12, vs Grey College 20-19, vs Cambridge 87-7, vs Stirling 36-23
Lost (5) vs Monnas 12-19, vs Helpmekaar 5-28, vs Paarl Boys’ High 16-33, vs Dale 19-22, St Andrew’s 5-26