WYNBERG OR BISHOPS ? WHO WILL IT BE ?

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A chip off the old block !  Stellenberg scrumhalf Conwill Conradie clears an attacking ruck
during his team’s 25-22 win against SACS in Newlands on 19 May 2018. (photo: supplied)


The schools rugby season draws to a close on Saturday 25 August 2018 with a handful of fixtures the most prominent of which are the two southern suburbs derbies in which SACS host Wynberg and Rondebosch stroll across to Bishops.

The very close outcomes (and, in one case, result) of Saturday’s matches involving the four teams mean that these clashes are by no means dead rubbers: their results will finally determine the bragging rights among the city slickers.

Although, as one experienced pundit put it, no-one would like to top the pile by virtue of bonus points, if both Wynberg and Bishops record the same results in their final matches, that is how the winner will be decided since both these schools currently have 4/5 records.

On the face of it, Wynberg shouldn’t have to struggle to beat a SACS side that seems determined to contribute to its own demise in whatever manner possible.

It is difficult to single out individual Berg players: they are all contributing equally, as one would expect from a team that has been together for two seasons now.  As a result, the fact that Patrick Chivanga grabbed two tries against Bishops is little more than incidental.

While Berg march on at a measured pace, it looks like a lot will depend upon the performance of their opponents on the day.

Last weekend the Young Ikeys showed just what they were capable of in an exhilarating first- half display at Rondebosch.  They had the home team desperately rushing to shore up gaps as they ran the ball at them from all points with props Ethan Burger and Josh Barrett and wiry lock Jean Minnaar as involved in every attacking move as any of the backline players.

The problem was that, in the second half, they meekly allowed Rondebosch to take the lead, producing a very tepid thirty-five minutes during which they surrendered a 24-7 advantage in such a way that the result was beyond doubt long before Bosch regained the lead.

From a SACS perspective, the two halves were as different as the proverbial chalk and cheese.  One is left to wonder which SACS team will turn up on the day.  Maybe, just maybe, they will finally produce what their supporters have longed for all season.

The Bishops – Rondebosch match on the Piley Rees poses a similar question.  Which Bosch side can one expect ?  If it’s the inspired second-half unit in which they ticked absolutely every box there was, then they could easily overturn their first round defeat.

Flank and captain Justin Reynolds, tireless warrior Johann Strauss and feisty front-rower Seth Christian can pose huge problems for a defence that is not prepared for them.

Obviously, more eyes will be on their backs, given the Platinum Blues’ impressive record in that department this campaign, but even here the Canigou Carnivores boast their own bite.  Full-back Dalvon Blood has produced many scintillating displays, while the quick footwork of wing Jonathan Jollivet de Oliveira also makes him a man to watch.

Flyhalf Ross Stone should be available again after his SA Schools waterpolo stint, so there is no reason why the quick men shouldn’t function as a cohesive unit.

This is, of course, the last match of the school careers for two groups of youngsters who have virtually lived in each other’s back yards for the last five years.  As with the SACS – Wynberg match, emotion is bound to play a part.  Whoever harnesses or channels that emotion is going to be well on course for a win.

The match will be live on DSTV channel 209, starting at 12:05, directly after which the Brackenfell vs Tygerberg interschools match will be broadcast for the first time.

Unfortunately these two teams have been on the WP Premier B back-burner for most of the season, although both did their best to preen their feathers with impressive victories last week, the Tygers demolishing Elsies River 125-0 and Brackenfell trampling hosts Parel Vallei 50-0.

There are no stars shining particularly brightly in either firmament this year, although Tygerberg look pretty sound at the back of the scrum where no.8 Edja de Meyer and scrumhalf Thandi Hoyi have both turned in some impressive performances.

The second row battle between the Brakkies’ George Olivier and his Parow counterpart Liam Tattersall could also be pivotal in the tussle for good, clean possession.

Gavin Beresford never fails to include a few trump cards in his backline, so the home team would do well to hone their tackling skills ahead of the big day.

Worcester has long had a, some might say, well-earned reputation as the graveyard of Western Province schools teams, but, even so, De Kuilen, fresh from an encouraging 61-0 win over third tier Bergvliet, should be able to take care of business against a Gym team that has tailed off dramatically towards the end of the season.

Apart from that there’s just Bosmansdam's visit to Labori for a game which the latter should navigate without too much trouble, and George’s trip to Oudtshoorn to take on the rising force that is Bridgton.

Please note that there will be no match report this weekend.  The usual end-of-season reviews can be expected in three or four weeks’ time.



 

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