FARMERS SET FOR A FLYING START TO THE 2015 CAMPAIGN
A Man for All Seasons. Multi-talented Boland Landbou sportsman Luke Philander gives
Oakdale wing JP Coetzee the slip in last season's Interschools match at the Farm.
(photo: Marilize Jordaan)
Boland Landbou’s rugby players are literally going to be walking on air at the start of what promises to be a bumper year for the popular Windmeul school when a group of 75 learners and seven staff members embarks on a two-week tour to Italy and France on Wednesday 1 April 2015.
Although the touring group comprises two Under 19 and one Under 16 team, sports organizer Oloff Bergh noted that only the 1st XV would be strictly merit-based, the remainder being lads who were able to afford the trip.
The first team will be playing three games. The opposition for the first fixture, in Rome, has still to be confirmed; the second match is against Padua in Petrarca Padova and the final game sees them take on Perpignan in France.
The planning wisely took into account the enormous hardships that bedeviled the side, particularly in terms of injuries, after their last pre-season tour – to New Zealand in 2011 – in which they lost all three games, to St Patrick’s College, Rotorua Boys’ High and Westlake College, some of the perennial top performers in the land of the All Blacks.
Hopes are high that the 2015 flagship team will banish the ghosts of last campaign when the Farmers came agonizingly close to several victories that might have seemed extremely unlikely on paper and this while fielding a fifteen that contained only four matrics.
Even then, despite surrendering a comfortable half-time lead to lose to Bishops (25-29 after leading comfortably at the break) and suffering further narrow setbacks at the hands of HTS Middelburg (11-12), Paarl Boys’ High (14-18), Wynberg (20-21), Paarl Gym (23-25) and Paul Roos (32-43), their remarkable resilience saw them end the season with a 13-7 home win over traditional rivals Oakdale.
They have several able replacements entering the senior ranks, not least of whom is last year’s WP Grant Khomo captain, Athi Magwala. In addition the squad welcomes experienced provincial rugby veteran Deon Carstens as forwards coach in the place of Christoff Janse van Rensburg, who was transferred by his employers to Moorreesburg, where he will be taking charge of the Dirkie Uys 1st XV.
Oh, and if you think that these youngsters are one-trick ponies, read on.
Even before the first ball is kicked, the 1st cricket XI has set the bar extraordinarily high for their rugby brethren. It seems that plenty of the magic of past pupil Stiaan van Zyl’s dazzling Protea debut has rubbed itself off on these lads, eight of whom are also in the 1st XV squad.
They started the season by beating highly-rated Wynberg and have also performed the Winelands Whitewash by downing Paarl Gym, Paarl Boys’ High and Paul Roos, the lattermost by six wickets late in January.
The captain of the men in white is utility back Luke Philander, who represented Boland at the 2014 Khaya Majola Under 18 Cricket Week and turned out for the Cobras Under 18s earlier this year, while Danrich Visagie, Jondré Williams, JT Potgieter and Slabber la Grange are also dual-code stalwarts.
This weekend (6-7 February 2015) the Farm hosts the Summer Interschools against Oakdale.
Although Saturday’s athletics might be a close-run affair, you can be sure that the cricketers, who start Friday’s match as overwhelming favourites, will be keen to take up where the rugby team left off against the Riversdale Bulle in August !
Friday 17:00 : Boland Landbou (261 all out) beat Oakdale (88 all out) by 163 runs.