Gonna stop me, hey ?
  Labori flank Shane Scott (centre) prepares to cross swords with
Groendal full-back Kirsten Lewis during Monday's match. (photo: Jahnie Steenkamp)

The focus on Saturday 21 March 2015, the second weekend of the local schools rugby season, is firmly on Porterville for two closely connected reasons.

The foremost of these is the unmissable annual sports weekend; the second is that Paarl Boys’ High will be offering those spectators who have the time and petrol a first taste of their 2015 vintage.

Ever since it was moved from August to March, the OK Grocer Porterville Sport Weekend (aka The Port-a-Party) has grown in stature, the unsurpassable hospitality of the townsfolk combining perfectly with the breathtaking backdrop of the Winterhoek Mountains to provide the ideal platform for many sides to introduce their brand new models to an expectant public.

Much of the murmurings and speculation will be consigned to the past when Boishaai take the field against EP stalwarts Framesby in the main game at 19:40.

Most of the chatter surrounding the Brug Street Boytjies has concerned their tight five, with names such as Andreas van Wyk, Wikus Groenewald, Leo Kruger, Ruben de Villiers and Salmaan Moerat being whispered amongst those who in the know.

Not that the backs, who are bound to include pacy wing Tyreeq February and multi-talented utility back Rayhann Lombaard, are likely to escape the attention of the faithful.

Framesby, in their blue and maroon chequerboard jerseys, are hardly ever spotted in these parts, as they normally only make it as far as Oakdale or Outeniqua. However, this year they will strut their stuff twice before more southerly audiences: this weekend and on 23 May when they visit Boland Landbou.

While the other offerings might not fuel the imagination quite as much as does abovementioned game, they are, if anything, more important because they give schools the chance to meet and play teams they would not normally encounter, which is one of the primary ways of keeping the game alive in the more sparsely populated parts of the country.

Indeed, such is the popularity of this event that the fixture list had to be reorganized several times to accommodate new entrants and ensure that teams not wishing to enjoy a second night in this charming town could make it home safely before dark !

The 1st XV bill starts with Brackenfell versus Namaqualand at 13:00.

The Brakke performed heroically last year and, bearing in mind that the school is the largest secondary school in the whole Western Cape, it seems highly improbable that they will be fielding anything less than a workmanlike combination. The side from Springbok had better prepare themselves for an uphill battle.

If Punt have learned their lessons from last weekend’s defeat at the hands of Nico Malan, they might be able to pull a rabbit out of the hat against Upington, a school which usually provides the bulk of the players for the Griqua Country Districts Craven Week side. The guys from the banks of the Orange River will include juggernaut lock Cobus Wiese, a 2014 SA Schools squad member.

Neither team starts as favourites in the mid-afternoon match between Dirkie Uys and Langenhoven High, while Tygerberg are bound to show a vast improvement on last Saturday’s performance against Hugenote when they take on a Piketberg team rebuilding after the departure of such stars as Erich Kankowski and Christie van der Merwe.

At 18:30, the hosts take on Graaff-Reinet’s Union High, a side whose attractive style of rugby on the paddock and irreproachable manners off it have endeared them to everyone who is lucky enough to watch them.

Only two other matches are scheduled for the weekend.

In Wellington, Hugenote will be looking to build on their win over Tygerberg at the same venue last weekend when they welcome Oudtshoorn to the Murray Field.

Captain and flank Anthony Creighton marshaled the pack efficiently, the result being some storming performances, in particular by hooker Hanré Smith and lock Dion Welman.

The new-look midfield should be functioning more smoothly now that they have over an hour of match-time behind them, but will still be looking to scrumhalf Wihan von Wielligh and full-back Dillon Feast for leadership.

The odds favour the hosts, but they will have to keep a watchful eye on experienced Struisie outside centre Clayton Isaacs.

You’ll have to travel a long way to watch the other heavy artillery in action as Oakdale head for Uitenhage to match wits with HTS Daniel Pienaar.

For stay-at-home southern suburbanites, there is bound to be loads of fun at the Auric Auto Bosch 10’s.

This is the third year that Rondebosch will be hosting the event, played in honour of Prof “Tinkie” Heyns, a legend in the Rondebosch community and after whom the winners’ shield is named.

The format of the 10’s game is a wonderful way for teams to shake off those early season cobwebs and for anxious coaches to fine-tune their squads for the start of the campaign.

And next week ?  Only Newlands Day on Tuesday 24 March and the Paul Roos Spectacular on Saturday 28 March on the hallowed Markotter turf !




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