TICKING THOSE LAST FEW BOXES

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Drawn like moths to a flame.  Three Oakdale defenders combine to prevent Paarl Boys’ High
inside centre
Nathan Bezuidenhout from making any headway during their match, won
47-29 by the Bulls, at Brug Street on Saturday 21 July 2018. (photo: Juandré Nortjé)

 

As the Paarl Interschools, the second round of the southern suburbs derbies and, a fortnight later, the Grey College vs Paul Roos clash loom ever larger on the Western Cape schools rugby  horizon, Saturday 28 July 2018 is largely given over to taking care of unfinished business.

That said, even these games offer very attractive possibilities, with three of them coming in the form of Premier A town vs country encounters.

The two Rondebosch schools take to the road for the last time this campaign, Rondebosch to face the might of Paul Roos at Fortress Markotter and Bishops to cross swords with the relentless machine that is Paarl Gym on their Jan Kriel field.  In the third fixture, Paarl Boys’ High make the trip to Newlands to face SACS.

The other two WP Premier A teams take on second-tier opponents.  Wynberg visit Bellville while Boland Landbou host their annual meeting with Stellenberg.

There’s also much to get excited about further inland.  Hugenote entertain HTS Drostdy on Murrayfield, while two Eastern Cape sides, Marlow and Framesby travel down to Eagles territory to play Oakdale and Outeniqua respectively.  

What Paul Roos might regard as little more than another hurdle on their race to Bloemfontein couldn’t come at a worse time for Rondebosch. 

Although the southern suburbs side’s forwards acquitted themselves satisfactorily of their task last weekend against Stellenberg, regrettably, the same can hardly be said for their midfield, which inexplicably juggled and fumbled their way through the game, even offering up two simple interception opportunities in the opening stages, which was enough to ensure they were left with a deep hole to dig their way out of.

As if their pack isn’t going to find the going tough enough against a front row comprising Hanro Jacobs, JJ Kotzé and Robbie Rogers, the backs are facing arguably the most dynamic unit in South African schools rugby.  From scrumhalf Xander Botha and flyhalf Juan Mostert, via centre Brendan Venter all the way to fullback Kade Wolhuter, an awesome points machine, every single player possesses the skill and awareness to seize on even the slightest hint of weakness.

The Young Maties have only this outing and next week’s visit from Boland Landbou to finalise preparations for the Grey College match.  There is absolutely no reason for them to let up one bit, which does not bode well for Justin Reynolds and company.

Similarly, the ease with which Gym dumped Outeniqua (47-0) last Saturday suggests that the northern Paarl team is getting ready to peak at the Faure Street showdown on 4 August 2018.

Bishops are by no means the pushovers Bosch showed themselves to be against Stellenberg, but even a side with their level of flair is going to find imposing their style on the menacingly methodical home team virtually impossible.  Helmut Lehmann and Pieter Rossouw’s lads have developed the second-half squeeze into such an art form that they seem to be implementing it in the first thirty five minutes as well !

Gym’s forwards are likely to dominate, with flank Dean Nieuwoudt currently their stand-out performer, while Stravino Jacobs, Duffy Kellerman and Tiaan Swanepoel keep opposing fast men on their toes.

What should be intriguing will be to see whether the Platinum Blues’ midfield of Victor Allen and Harry Newman can harness the qualities of wide men Luca Liebenberg and Michael Roche.

Gym will probably win well, but they will know they’ve been in a game afterwards.

Boishaai’s defeat at home to Oakdale last week couldn’t have come at a worse time for SACS – or Boishaai, for that matter.  Smarting from the setback and desperate to get their patterns ready for Interschools, the lads from Auret Street are not going to be in anything like a  generous mood,

SACS have given of their best all winter, but that has just not proved sufficient to cut the mustard.  The hard work of the likes of Ethan Burger and the indefatigable Jean Minnaar never quite suffices and this week they have the triple obstacle of Adrian Alberts, Emile van Heerden and human torpedo Evan Roos to contend with !

The Winelanders have been less convincing at the back, but this should hardly prove to be a problem if they play close to the big men.

Ultimately, the visitors will be looking for some much-needed positives ahead of the big one in a week’s time.

Just how quickly Wtnberg are able to process the lesson they were handed down by Paul Roos one week ago will go a long way to determining how they will approach their visit to Bellville.

The northern suburbs side is a very workmanlike combination that boasts few stars.  The obvious go-to man is jet-booted right wing Xavier Adams, whose haul of 21 tries is unmatched in the province to date. 

The half-back pairing of Aldrin Otto and skipper Deuvajio Solomons and centre Greyling Moolman have proved adept at supplying him with the ammunition to run riot.  However, Wynberg will be alert to the threat he poses and are bound to take adequate measures to nullify it.

The Berg forwards can expect to assert their dominance, but will need to keep a wary eye on the likes of predators Kyle Milford, Stefan van der Merwe and JW Loubser.

Boland Landbou simply cannot afford to slip up against Stellenberg as this match constitutes a vital stage in their tough run-in, which comprises a visit to the Markotter next weekend and the arrival of high-flying Oakdale on 18 August 2018.

The battle of the backs could be very entertaining.  Erik Lambrecht is an accomplished cog in in a Farmers’ machine which also includes SA Schools full-back Darren Hendricks.

The visitors may not boast many big names, but no.10 Nivan Petersen and full-back Tharquinn Manuel can be deceptively quick off the mark, while wings Likho Msengana, who score twice from interceptions at Rondebosch last time out, and Irwin Meyer cannot be ignored.

The frequent flyers – or whatever the highway version of that is – of HTS Drostdy only have about sixty kilometres to travel this week when they take on Hugenote in Wellington.

The Donkies machine is flying on all cylinders, thanks to halfbacks Luciano Elias and Shaun Baxter and centre supremo Christie Grobbelaar. 

The Blackies have used a large number of players in their offensive division and will have to choose very carefully if they are to restrict their visitors.  A lot may rest on the shoulders of flyhalf Emile du Plessis as they attempt to halt the red tide.

The two big guns in the South Western Districts enjoyed vastly differing fortunes down in Winelands Central last weekend.

Outeniqua, who imploded to lose 0-57 at Paarl Gym, appear to have the slightly easier task this weekend, their visitors Framesby having also been soundly trounced 39-13 by Grey High.

It is difficult to imagine how a side with as much talent at its disposal as the Quaggas could fail so miserably and one might be tempted to brush it off as “one of those things”.  Well, urgent measures need to be put in place to ensure that the gentleman in the checked shirts don’t pull off “another one of those things” in George.

Marlow is a small school that thrives on dishing out bloody noses to big names schools.  Last week they humbled St Andrew’s 39-31 in Grahamstown, perfect preparation for probably their biggest match of the year.

It won’t have escaped coach Deon Gerber, formerly of Hopefield and Paarl Gym, that their hosts Oakdale humbled Boishaai 47-29 at Brug Street,

The Wolramme will have to keep a very watchful eye on fast men Trevino Gordon, Clyde Lewis and Janco Klinck, who are doubtless intent on ending 2018 without any further blots on their copybook.

Neither of the WP Premier B clashes look particularly exciting, with Durbanville tipped to beat visitors De Kuilen comfortably and DF Malan expected to return victorious from their trip to Strand.

Both Swartland and Tygerberg, who meet in Malmesbury, have put together nice little runs recently and their meeting should be interesting if for no other reason than that it is likely to boil down to a stand-off dominated by the home forwards and the visiting backs.

Two games catch the eye in the Boland.

Montagu might find the 2018 version of Langenhoven Gym a bit too hot to handle and the Overberg – Robertson fixture has just become a whole lot more interesting with the Red Wine Farmers having dispatched Stellenbosch on the latter’s home ground last week despite trailing at the break.

Next week, the really serious stuff starts.  There’s Interschools at Faure Street, Paul Roos vs Boland Landbou, SACS vs Bishops and Wynberg vs Rondebosch in the WP Premier A, Durbanville host Outeniqua, Hugenote come to town for a match against Brackenfell, Oakdale travel to Port Elizabeth to play Framesby and HTS Drostdy welcome Noord-Kaap.

And that’s just a taste !



 

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