Getting the job done.  Three SACS defenders, inside centre Robin Aspeling (arriving, left),
full-back Ross Letcher (15) and scrumhalf Thurston Cloete (right), make sure that
a Bishops opponent doesn’t get away during the Young Ikeys’ 20-22 home
defeat on Saturday 8 August 2018. (photo: Lindsey Thomas)


Don’t be fooled into thinking that schools rugby down south is devoid of any intrigue and excitement just because the Paarl interschools match has come and gone.   There is still a huge amount at stake in the various other traditional season finales scheduled for Saturday 18 August 2018.

Fair enough, the biggest game, certainly more so than the Faure Street fixture in the greater scheme of things, takes place over 1000 kilometres away in Bloemfontein, where Grey College host Paul Roos, but there is still more than enough going on locally to keep enthusiasts interested.

Topping the bill in and around the Peninsula are the Boland Landbou vs Oakdale match out at Windmeul and the two southern suburbs derbies, in which SACS head down to Rondebosch and Wynberg host Bishops.

All Western Cape supporters are sure to wish Paul Roos well in their quest for top spot on the national rankings. 

In recent years, this clash has become tinged with irony because the two sides have been obliged to take the field without their SA Schools players, who are playing a series against international sides at the time.  Thus a school’s success in having players acknowledged at national level simply comes back to bite them when they are deprived of their services when they need them most.

This means that the Young Maties will be looking to some of their more peripheral stars for Saturday’s showdown – and none more so than full-back Kade Wolhuter, whose deadly accurate goal-kicking has put daylight between his and every other side this campaign.

Here’s hoping that the Maroons pull it off – it’s always nice to have a Western Cape side at the top of the pile !

What makes the Boland Landbou – Oakdale game so different from the two major local attractions is that, while the boys in the ‘burbs are all fairly familiar with their opponents’ strengths and weaknesses – having grown up alongside them, not to mention having already played them once this season – the only time the two agricultural giants have been in the same place this year was Wildeklawer, and then only for a few days.

Oloff Bergh’s side has had a pretty unremarkable season, beating a lot of sides relatively comfortably, but then losing a few of the games that really matter, namely those against the two Paarl sides and Paul Roos, plus Wynberg, just for good measure. 

Still, they normally end fourth in the WP Premier A log simply because the four city schools can be relied upon to beat each other enough to wreck their chances.

The Farmers may have proven try-scorers in lock Schalk Bezuidenhout (nine), centres Erik Lambrecht (7) and Sebastian de Klerk (8) and wings Bertus Baard (8) and HD van der Merwe (6), but their most prolific player in this respect, full-back Darren Hendricks, will be absent on national duty.

Oakdale have had a superb season, running both Paarl Gym and Paul Roos close up in Riversdale and spending the last few weekends thumping Paarl Boys’ High at Brug Street, Marlow on home soil and Framesby in Port Elizabeth. 

Their try-scoring exploits make those of Boland look pretty average: full-back Clyde Lewis has scored eleven tries, outside centre Janco Klinck, 14, and right wing Trevino Gordon has a stunning 23 five-pointers under his belt.  Plus there’s the threat posed by wrecking-machine lock Hannes Gous, many of whose thirteen tries have seen him simply run over opponents.

The Bulls aren’t coming to Windmeul to make friends, so it seems very likely that they’ll return home happy.  

The subtexts to the two southern suburbs games couldn’t be more different, with Rondebosch and SACS having little to play for but their pride, while the Wynberg – Bishops clash could well decide who has bragging rights in the leafy parts of the city for the next twelve months.

Bosch just haven’t been able to fire on all cylinders this season, the Tinkie Heyns field having witnessed the odd sublime result, such as the 43-27 win over HTS Drostdy, mixed with low points like the 12-31 slump against Stellenberg, whose not being in peak form merely compounded the despair.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong in the Bosch set-up and, given the right attitude, which opposition such as SACS will bring out in them, they could quite easily turn on the charm.

The forwards can be depended upon to do their part, with no.8 Johann Strauss and prop Seth Christian having long since achieved cult status for their unremitting efforts, so much will depend on the backline, in particular the distribution of Ross Stone, who has had a steady if unremarkable winter. 

Nothing would please players like the elegant Thoubaan Gabriels and nippy Dalvon Blood more than to end their home commitments with a memorable display.

SACS have promised much but delivered painfully little, unless one counts the successful mid-year trip to Zimbabwe.  Their stirring performance in defeat at Paarl Gym early in the season boded well for the months ahead, but nothing has gone their way.

Jean Minnaar on the flank has put in hundreds of extra kilometres in defence of the cause; maybe it’s time that the rest of the pack put it all out there for the team. 

A defeat will consign the Young Ikeys to an ignominious last place in both the Premier A and southern suburbs tables.

If Bishops can taste success up at lush Hawthornden and grab a four-try bonus point, they should have the local laurels within their grasp.

The jitters that the narrow 22-20 win against SACS might have caused are likely to have been dispelled by a resounding 38-22 derby win over St Andrew’s of Grahamstown on the Piley Rees last Thursday. 

Most importantly, it is the backline players who are scoring most of the tries.  It is a general belief that when the quick men – in this team Victor Allen, Bingô Ivanisevic, Harry Newman and even pivot Jordan Meyer – are appearing regularly on the scoresheet, things are going very nicely, thank you, with the Platinum Blues.

Don’t for a moment think that ‘Berg have nothing to play for.  If they can win with a bonus point and, most importantly, deny Bishops one, they could find themselves crowned local champions, come next Saturday.

What it looks like boiling down to is whether the home pack can assert enough power to stifle the supply of clean possession to the Bishops quick men.

Should be riveting !

The two WP Premier B finales this week feature Stellenberg at home to Durbanville and DF Malan away to Bellville.

Neither Stellies nor the ‘Ville have hit any great heights this year, but one suspects there will be just enough hunger to see Divan Batt’s youngsters home against the Durbeez, who are looking a little more like the Wannabeez they were in 2017.

The Bellville – DF game should be an absolute cracker.  The latter, under Bertus Enslin’s patient eyes, have turned in a memorable season, as their elevated position on the Team Stats table attests. 

The whole team, from hooker Daniël Wesson, prop Tienie Brink, lock JP Luise, loosies Ruan de Beer and Maarten van der Walt, scrumhalf Jean-Louis Brink, flyhalf Damian Oosthuizen all the way to full-back Tashriq Mynhardt, has bought into a plan which now requires just one move to reach completion.   

Bellville’s loose forwards JW Loubser, Stefan van der Merwe and James Boyes will have to be at their defensive best, but, once the ball gets past flyhalf and captain Deuvajio Solomons and midfield general Greyling Moolman, there is always that rare talent Xavier Adams just quivering in anticipation of a few more visits to the opponents’ tryline. 

The usual showdowns can be found across the Boland this weekend.  These being too numerous to mention, attention will be focussed on a few of the potentially close affairs.

Hugenote have upped the tempo enough recently to be fairly confident of beating a Swartland side that has been very dependent on the efforts of their pack, particularly the loose forwards. If Dawson Humphreys can inspire his men to play to their strengths, there may be hope for the Rockies, who are anxiously waiting on the fitness of flyhalf Ethan Diston. 

However, if the Blackies can loosen up play as they did in seeing off humble Labori  43-13 last Tuesday, they have a wide enough array of attacking options to make things unpleasant for their guests.

The Piketberg – Porterville crunch should also be a close-run affair.  The Bulls do have a real trump card in prolific points-scorer Denzil Douries at flyhalf.  Besides dotting down twelve tries himself, he has successfully harnessed the talents of Lee-Marvin Mouton, Rowaldo Hollenbach and Dylan Young, who between them have added 27 more.

The White Ship has showed great character in bouncing back after the 68-0 trouncing they suffered against Durbanville to beat Augsburg Gym (36-14 in Clanwilliam) and Dirkie Uys (17-12 in Moorreesburg) before being held to a sobering 14-14 draw by hosts Bonnievale.

Don’t clip your fingernails – this game will do it for you !

The way Robertson, winless but for successes against Montana and Labori, has suddenly caught fire with successive victories over Stellenbosch (18-16 away), Overberg (20-16 in Caledon) and Langenhoven High (29-15 at home) should fill them with confidence ahead of the arrival of Charlie Hofmeyr from Ceres in what is always one of the province’s toughest interschools meetings.

While it was noted a few weeks ago that the inability of Oudtshoorn to provide A teams in each age-group had led to their annual day with Outeniqua being restricted to netball and hockey, this definitely doesn’t spell the death knell for Interschools fever down the Garden Route.

After too many years languishing in the shadows of their more illustrious neighbours, both Langenhoven Gym and Punt have earned rave notices with their excellent results this season.

Punt, for example, went to Uitenhage last week and beat HTS Daniel Pienaar 31-24, which no-one in their right mind would have predicted a year ago. 

Langenhoven Gym have also sailed into uncharted territory, starting with the 88-0 demolition of neighbours Oudtshoorn.

Both sides had representatives in the SWD Under 18 teams this July. 

For Punt, Joshua Hermanus and Sydney Volkwyn made the Craven Week squad, with JH Marx, AJ Mondo and Lwazi Mpato gaining selection for the Academy Week. 

GW Lund flew Langenhoven Gym’s flag at the Craven Week, while Bennie Stemmet anchoring the Academy Week team’s midfield.

Head off to Oudtshoorn and catch what promises to be a keenly-fought contest.

Next week’s menu is sparse, featuring only Bishops vs Rondebosch, SACS vs Wynberg and Brackenfell vs Tygerberg.  After that, it’s time for 7’s.!!!!!


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