Big guy forgaging.
  Upington's 2014 SA Schools cap Cobus Wiese (bending, in orange)
contests possession in the match against Punt at Porterville last Saturday.
(photo: Lyzanne Janse van Rensburg)

The Paul Roos 150 Rugby Day on Saturday 28 March 2015 is unquestionably going to be the Western Cape schools rugby event of the year, forget about the week.

The Markotter programme boasts full-length matches complete with goalkicking, an integral part of the game. At the same time it affords local spectators the rare opportunity to see some of the better sides from throughout the country compete against the top local sides, making it possible, to some certain extent, to assess the strength of the game in our province.

The early kick-off, between Hugenote and Hermanus, promises to be a fitting opening, given the attractive style of rugby to which both subscribe, while SACS face an interesting challenge against Oudtshoorn’s ever-improving Langenhoven Gymnasium in the 9:15 match.

Despite both schools being agricultural in name Oakdale don’t get to meet HLS Jacobsdal very often. On the basis of the way the Bulle demolished HTS Daniel Pienaar awat from home last Saturday, one suspects that they will prevail in this game too. Not that Landboudal can be written off: their strength over the years has seen them firmly entrenched in the Northern Cape Premier League (even if they’re technically in the Free State).

Boland Landbou are champing at the bit ahead of their European tour starting next week, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be holding back against Worcester Gym, whose highly-talented flyhalf Adriaan van der Bank will be a player worth watching.

Lunchtime sees Paarl Gym take on Limpopo side Pietersburg. What with Christoff Lötter’s very conservative attitude to pre- and early season games, this will be an intriguing clash, seeing that the north Paarl unit heads up to Tshwane to take on Garsfontein and Menlo Parkin in just two weeks’ time.

Much is expected of this Rondebosch crop, so highly rated when they were Under 16s. Bearing that in mind, Outeniqua are probably the last side with whom they’d want to bang heads.

The form of Bosch’s Zain Davids is going to be integral to the 2015 WP Craven Week side, but the Quaggas boast a team loaded with plenty of provincial experience, the cherry on the top being current SA Schools Sevens star Manie Libbok at full-back.

One could be forgiven for thinking that the way Paarl Boys’ High hit the ground running against Framesby last week gives them a head start in their match against Kimberley’s Diamantveld.

That would be the case in most years, but just fourteen days back the Diamond Boys came back from 13-34 down against Grey College to draw 34-34.

And if that doesn’t make you sit up and take notice, their new coach, former Griqua centre Jean Stemmet, is an Old Gimmie and would love nothing more than to put one over on his traditional enemy.

So to the main attraction, Paul Roos vs Affies, a face-off between two schools widely regarded as royalty in their provinces.

The Tshwane lads did not experience a great 2014; Paul Roos did. And they’ve got ideal replacements for the players who have matriculated – the Paul Roos Under 16s of 2013 were ranked no 1 in the country.

Even that is unlikely to faze the visitors, who will doubtless be banking on the Maroon Platoon feeling the pressure of playing the main game at their own celebrations in front of a crowd liberally sprinkled with old boys with very high expectations.

What a day it’s going to be !

Regrettably, for several reasons the same can’t be said for Saturday’s Brackenfell Day. Fair enough, most local quality acts will be at the Markotter, but, even so, the remaining fixtures display a lack of imagination.

However, the last four fixtures do offer some hope.

At 14:00 Strand take the field against a Namaqualand team that impressed against the Brakke at Porterville last weekend. Tygerberg play a rather young Jan van Riebeeck team in the next match, before Bellville meet Piketberg and the hosts play Labori.

Labori may be pretty competitive, but a City Bowl team undergoing a serious rebuilding phase and a Piketberg side that is a pale shadow of last year’s successful unit look more and more like sitting ducks.

There aren’t many other games in our catchment area.

DF Malan host Charlie Hofmeyr in their traditional opener and Durbanville entertain a Swartland side that is still finding its feet.

Out west coast way Lutzville will be holding their annual sports day. The three feature games see Vredendal play Stellenberg, who stop off in Porterville en route on Thursday, Augsburg Gym tackle resurgent Hopefield and the host school take on Monument Park.

In Eagle territory, Bredasdorp’s Albert Myburgh visit Kairos in Heidelberg, Langenhoven High roll out the mat for Porterville in Riversdale and Robertson begin their short tour up the N2 at Punt, before taking on Nico Malan in Humansdorp on Monday.

The latter part of the statement in the first paragraph above might help to explain this site’s lack of enthusiasm regarding Tuesday’s Newlands Schools Day.

What with the constraints on time and the tee, the only acknowledgement those matches receive on this site is their inclusion in the Results section and the scorers’ appearance on the relevant stats list.




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