2018 IN REVIEW (PT V) : PAUL ROOS LEAVE THE REST MAROONED !
Blitzkrieg boy ! Paarl Boys’ High no. 8 Evan Roos (centre) had two injury-plagued seasons
to make up for this year. He didn’t disappoint ! (Photo: Poppie Terblanche)
To say that great things were expected from Paul Roos in 2018 even before the season started would have to rank as one of the greatest understatements in South African schools rugby.
The Young Maties had recorded a very impressive 11-5 record the previous year and were expected to be even stronger with the inclusion of players from the school’s highly successful Under 16 team.
They did not disappoint, winning all but the last of their fifteen matches and accumulating just short of 800 points – a phenomenal return, by anyone’s standards.
Eleven players were chosen for the WP Under 18 sides: full-back Cade Wolhuter, inside centre Brendan Venter, flyhalf Juan Mostert, the entire front row of Hanro Jacobs, JJ Kotzé and Robbie Rogers and left-wing Tiaan Pretorius made the Craven Week squad; utility back Remy Engelbrecht and no. 8 Mathew Cordy represented the Craven Week Invitation team, and outside centre Regan van der Westhuizen and lock Jarod Cairns were included in the Academy week team, Cairns as captain.
Venter, Mostert, Jacobs and Kotzé received the extra accolade of being selected for the SA Schools squad.
Mink Scharink proved his versatility by doing duty in both the front and second row, where he partnered Micardo du Preez or Daniel Swart, while Herman Heins, André Smit and Johan Bouwer filled out the loose trio. Scrumhalf Xander Botha kept the star-studded backline, in which Aiden Sale and Ruben Labuschagne were primed to fit in whenever required, well supplied with quality possession.
After the traditional feeding frenzy friendly against Swartland, the team headed to Johannesburg for the St John’s Festival where they beat a Golden Lions Invitation XV (76-10), HTS Daniel Pienaar (68-5) and Nelspruit (68-0). Back in Cape Town, SACS (70-21) and Grey High (43-8) were swept aside before the Wildeklawer weekend during which they overcame Menlopark (68-25) and Waterkloof (63-12) with consummate ease.
The major hurdles that were Paarl Gym and Paarl Boys’ High were successfully negotiated 32-13 and 44-8 respectively with a 44-21 victory at Bishops sandwiched in between before the term ended with an emphatic 44-21 defeat of Oakdale in Riversdale.
Wynberg (73-14), Rondebosch (44-17) and Boland Landbou (30-15) provided the build-up to the winner-takes-all clash against Grey College in Bloemfontein, which ended in a 26-28 defeat after seventy engrossing minutes.
The team managed 116 tries in its fifteen matches, full-back Kade Wolhuter leading the way with thirteen – which helped boost the young kicker’s tally for the season to 281 points - JJ Kotzé notched eleven, Engelbrecht and Scharink, ten each.
Next year holds as much promise for the Maroons. Many schoolboy rugby followers’ thoughts are already on the Grey College game to be played at the Markotter in August.
Paarl Gym (15-2) had another outstanding season, even if they tasted defeat in the season-defining matches against Paul Roos and Paarl Boys’ High.
The various WP Under 18 teams included eleven Gym players: centre Dawid “Duffy” Kellerman, left wing Stravino Jacobs, scrumhalf Dylan “Bobby” Alexander and lock Juan Beukes, in the CW squad; flank Dean Nieuwoudt and tighthead Jovan Bekker in the CWI team, and flyhalf Charl Janson, no. 8 Hendri Siebert, lock Mark Etzebeth, hooker Delarey Nel and full-back Tiaan Swanepoel in the AW team with Jacobs gaining selection for the SA Schools squad.
Other first team regulars included hooker Van Eeden Hanekom, who spent a spell on the sidelines after being injured before Wildeklawer, prop Preben Verleden, flank Pierich Siebert, no.8 Juan Wilson, right wing Hein Strauss and utility back Stephan du Toit.
After a successful opener against Durbanville (38-0), the season proper began with emphatic wins over EG Jansen (54-32) and Waterkloof (57-20) at the North-South Festival in Tshwane and the American Rhinos (84-7), for which a B team was fielded, and South American Jaguares (38-36) at the World Schools Festival.
Affies were soundly beaten 41-21 in Tshwane, as were SACS (54-38) before the side left for the Wildeklawer weekend in Kimberley, during which they defeated Monument 34-31 and Welkom Gym 24-7, before suffering their first setback, a 32-13 reversal at home to Paul Roos.
Rondebosch (69-28), Oakdale (47-39) and Boland Landbou (42-38) were all beaten, the last two in nailbiting encounters, before the term ended with a 29-6 victory over Wynberg. Outeniqua were thrashed 57-0 and Bishops were overcome 52-27 before the somewhat surprising 24-21 interschools defeat to Paarl Boys’ High brought down the curtain on the season.
Janson kept the points, 171 of them to be precise, flowing at flyhalf, while the leading try scorers – the team accounted for 111 altogether – were Kellerman (17), Jacobs (15) and Swanepoel (11), while Hanekom (nine tries) might well have slotted into this elite group, were it not for his injury.
Paarl Boys’ High (10-4) pulled out all the stops to celebrate their 150th year of existence in style so it is perhaps a little ironic that some unforeseeable glitches meant that not everything went entirely according to plan for what is arguably their flagship sports team, the 1st rugby XV.
The World Schools Rugby Festival, for all its wide embrace, failed to attract enough sides of sufficient quality, yet, even then, one of the visitors beat the hosts against all the odds in the first round of games.
The domestic programme had to be slightly rearranged in order to accommodate the Grey College game at Brug Street, which meant that the Rondebosch game regrettably had to be written out of the fixture list.
Lastly, it can’t have been easy for all concerned when they had to announce the departure of highly successful head coach Sean Erasmus, albeit only at the end of the season.
However, these negatives were largely offset by the school’s impressive representation in the various WP Under 18 sides, the icing being the selection of lock and captain Adrian Alberts as captain of the SA Schools team, where he was joined by second row partner Emile van Heerden – even though he was only selected for the local Craven Week Invitation team – and dynamic no.8 Evan Roos.
Other provincial representatives were tighthead Roubert Bester (CW), hooker Cullen van der Merwe, loosehead De Wet Wolhuter, Alastair Williams, Tyrone Maritz and flank Armin Posthumus (CWI) and centre Noegh Hayward, Angelo Ochse, flank Louwan Horn, front rower Rhynhardt Rijnsburger and Jade Hendricks (AW), the vast preponderance of them being among the forwards, the school’s traditional strong point.
The team called upon the services of so many players over the course of the season that it would be difficult to do justice to them all here. However, it would be unfair not to mention the tremendous effort put in by the wings Javier Farmer, whose two tries sealed the result at interschools, and Carlo Uys.
The winter got under way with an impressive showing against Grens of East London, who were soundly beaten 64-8, which made the 10-19 defeat to the Argentinians hard to rationalise. The second festival game was far more satisfying as they beat Christchurch of New Zealand 25-7.
Outeniqua were successfully negotiated, 21-10, in George and, although they came close, Wynberg also fell just short, 28-32. Wildeklawer brought victories against Waterkloof (53-10) and Affies (19-14). Two more defeats followed, at home to Grey College (20-34) and a resounding 8-44 at Paul Roos, although there was time before the term ended for wins against Bishops (14-13) and Boland Landbou (22-17).
The third quarter started with a surprise 29-47 home defeat at the hands of Oakdale, but all ended well as SACS (25-10) and, most importantly, archrivals Paarl Gym (24-21) were both beaten.
Two kickers, Trent Sivertsen (89) and Kian Meadon (55), contributed the most points, but, bearing in mind the side’s exploits over the last few seasons, the meagre haul of 52 tries, eight of which went to Roos, who dotted down four times in the opening game alone, points to a side that wasn’t running quite as smoothly as one might have hoped.
Boland Landbou (9-8) put in their usual shift, which meant that they lost some games that no-one could have foreseen. A big plus is that full-back Darren Hendricks was selected for the WP CW team and the SA Schools squad, while inside centre Erik Lambrecht and flank Thys Kitshoff were included in the CWI selection and outside centre Sebastian de Klerk, scrumhalf Ricky Agulhas and lock Schalk Bezuidenhout made the AW group.
The first team also regularly included props RJ van der Merwe, Henri van der Westhuizen and Hen-Ko Smuts alongside hookers Tehan du Plessis and JJ Wiggins. Schalk Bezuidenhout and Louis-Dirk Human formed a powerful second row, supported by loose forwards Eugene Snyders, JW Snyman and George-Louis Beukes.
Scrumhalf Gavin Mills, whom many considered to have been cruelly overlooked when it came to provincial selection, and Franna du Toit made sure that Lambrecht and De Klerk were free to exercise their attacking skills, while wings HD van der Merwe and Bertus Baard proved to be capable finishers. When required, Dean Reichert filled in for Hendricks at full-back, most notably in the huge win over Oakdale.
Coming after a handsome win at the Bulls Prestige Day, the 20-24 home defeat to Garsfontein was a surprise, followed as it was by a heartbreaking 25-26 setback in Tshwane against Monument, but there were convincing victories over Napier of New Zealand (59-26) and the Australian Cavaliers (67-0) at the World Schools Festival and healthy results against Brackenfell (68-24) and Rondebosch (67-12).
Setback followed setback in late April and May. Although the Farmers beat Helpmekaar 35-21at Wildeklawer, they lost their other game 14-38 to Affies, came home to defeats at Wynberg (25-27), Framesby (20-34) and Paarl Gym (38-42) and Paarl Boys’ High (17-22) with a 24-14 success against Bishops sandwiched in between the Framesby and Gym games.
The third term finally saw the youngsters build up some momentum as they beat SACS 47-24 and Stellenberg 31-20 and managed to put defeat at the hands of Paul Roos (15-30) behind them enough to record an astounding 56-19 interschools triumph at home to Oakdale.
His 182 points, which included six tries, underlined just how indispensable Mills was to the Farmers. The top tryscorers were Hendricks, De Klerk and Baard, each of whom contributed ten tries to the team’s very impressive total of 91 five-pointers, while Bezuidenhout nabbed a highly creditable nine.
Once again one can expect a fine blend of youth and experience out at Windmeul next season, just one of the many reasons the crowds continue to pour in to support Oloff Bergh’s boys.