WRAP UP WARMLY AND GET OUT THERE !
"Never gonna let you go !" Paarl Gym and SA Schools flank Pierich Siebert finds
himself firmly held by Outeniqua lock Corné Struwig as Quagga loosehead
Xander Bezuidenhout looks on approvingly during Gym’s 11-8 win
in George on Saturday 20 July 2019. (photo: Gavin Falck)
With only three full weekends of the schools rugby season left, it stands to reason that everyone is getting ready for their respective interschools showdowns, but there is nevertheless is a very full programme scheduled for Saturday 27 July 2019, with only a few teams taking a breather before hitting the final straight.
Six of the WP Premier A sides are in action, all against one another, while Boland Landbou and Paul Roos rest up before their meeting at the Farm next Saturday.
Southern suburbs aficionados don’t have to move too far, with Bishops hosting SACS at the Piley Rees and Rondebosch at home against Paarl Boys’ High on their Tinkie Heyns paddock. The only travellers are Wynberg, who face a daunting task out at Paarl Gym.
Both SWD giants have home fixtures: Oakdale welcoming crack EP side Framesby, while WP second tier high-fliers Durbanville make their way to George to test their skills against Outeniqua. Boland’s premier outfit, HTS Drostdy, have their last home match of the season when Tygerberg come calling.
Without being disrespectful, even bearing Wynberg’s heroics of last weekend in mind, one finds it difficult to predict any upsets in the Premier A matches.
Bishops have cultivated a winning habit, despite the sobering experience of losing to Stellenberg. Last week’s 51-7 romp against Parel Vallei saw no fewer than eight players cross the whitewash, five of them forwards, with skipper Isaiah Wharton fittingly leading the way with two tries.
The Platinum Blues’ pack has a solid, established look to it, with locks Sam Rudston and SA Schools cap Connor Evans prominent week in, week out, the former scoring tries with the regularity of a loose forward. Last Saturday’s eight even boasted one or two part-timers, for want of a better term.
With much of the focus on the big men, the backs have been able to further hone their graceful attacking style, marshalled by halfbacks Liam Kloosman and Sacha Mngomezulu. Hopefully, pacy left wing Sam Marthinussen will see more of the ball, allowing him to thrill the crowd with his speed and stepping.
SACS continue to struggle manfully, but just don’t seem to have the size or wind to match most of their Premier A peers. Hooker Hlumelo Ntweni always poses a threat up front, as do lock Jordan Thomas and flank Nic Boden, but the support’s willingness in spirit doesn’t count for enough against teams like Bishops.
Likewise, the backline lacks the same penetration of the Platinum Blues. Centre Robin Aspeling battles the odds courageously and left wing Thomas Doyle shines on occasion, but a try tally of 55 as opposed to the 83 of Bishops ultimately says it all.
Rondebosch host Paarl Boys’ High seven days after slumping to a very disappointing 17-27 home defeat to lowly Wynberg.
Although Troy Fisher and Lukhanyo Vokozela put in good shifts, the Bosch front row sorely missed SA Schools player Brian le Roux. Another worry was how the Canigou Carnivores managed to turn over so much of the possession earned, particularly by the outstanding line-out trio of Matt Gray, Will McDonald and Josh King.
The immediately apparent result was that scoring opportunities for the likes of Ishma-eel Safodien, Jordan Collier and Dalvon Blood were few and too far between. The last-mentioned’s two seemingly effortless tries gave one pause to wonder what might have been possible, had he received anything like a continuous flow of good ball.
For their visitors, this is the final dress rehearsal for next week’s interschools at Faure Street. Do they give it a full go, ironing out any of the little flaws that still bother them or do they rest key players and put out a less than full-strength fifteen ?
Beating the former would be almost impossible for the hosts, even on a good day. The front men are in imperious form, led by skipper Rhynhardt Rijnsburger (SA A) and spearheaded by SA Schools no.8 Gideon van Wyk.
The backline features two SA Schools players, flyhalf Kian Meadon - how on earth did he only make the WP Craven Week A team ? - and inside centre Tyler Bocks, and two SA A caps, outside centre Quan Horn and full-back Jacques Rousseau. And that’s not to mention wings Javier Farmer and Angelo Osch, who have dotted down nineteen times between them ! Enough said.
Whereas Boishaai had the luxury of a 60-14 win over Boland Landbou last Saturday, Gym were brought down to earth by Outeniqua, having to scrap for their 11-8 victory in abysmal conditions.
The northern Paarl team has been nigh-on unbeatable at home for several years now and Wynberg will be well aware that the last time their 1st XV came to the Jan Kriel field they were on the receiving end of a 103-12 trouncing. Well, if they weren’t, they are now.
The only thing that has changed as far as fortunes are concerned since then has been the recent boost to the southern suburbs’ sides fortunes provided by the 27-17 away win over Rondebosch last weekend.
The Gym forwards may only boast two SA Schools players - lock Marco van Rhyn and flank Pierich Siebert - to Wynberg’s Philip Masango, but the difference is far more pronounced, the predatory instincts of the hosts being very hard to contain, even on a bad day.
Siebert’s nine tries aside, hooker Liam Compion (eight) and loosehead Gerhard van Niekerk (six) have also developed a taste for the whitewash. In addition, whichever Van Rhyn twin takes the field will be well aware that his lock partner Reynhardt Crous is as fast as any loose forward.
The backline has settled nicely with SA Schools scrumhalf Bobby Alexander and Jandré Burger combining flawlessly. The loss of Ethan James has, however, necessitated some juggling to find a midfield partner for Stephan du Toit.
His seventeen tries are all the proof you need that Stravino Jacobs is an outstanding finisher, far happier on the left wing, while Curwin Gertse on the right and Tiaan Swanepoel fill out a very accomplished back three.
In Masango and hooker Kamva Mgwali, the visitors boast a very strong presence in both the tight and the loose phases, but the rest of the pack isn’t quite as physically intimidating. Second-rower Cormac Faul caught the eye in setting up good second phase ball against Rondebosch, but one doubts whether he’s going to have anything to work with this week.
The backline showed commendable spirit against Bosch, flyhalf and captain Devon Pretorius relishing the chance to set up attacks, rather than just having to kick for touch.
Inside centre Yaseen Sadien linked effectively with the resourceful Rethabile Louw, who unleashed his full range of tricks, utilising wings, Lezaine Davis and big Ebenezer Tshivanga, whose diminutive (by comparison) replacement Daniel Hayes was equally up for the fight.
The problem with all these pleasing aspects of Wynberg’s last outing is that they are not likely to have any opportunity to display themselves against Gym. However, the visitors are sure to try, which is as much as one can ask.
Up the N2, Outeniqua face an interesting time against a Durbanville side that has found scoring ridiculously easy this campaign. Of course, this is likely to undergo a radical change when they match wits with the Quaggas in George, but it should still be an intriguing seventy minutes.
Oakdale haven’t had the success in 2019 to which the school has become accustomed. The only consolation they have going into their last three fixtures is that all three are at home.
This week’s guests are Port Elizabeth’s Framesby, who are enjoying an outstanding season. Next week’s are Grey College. One can only hope that the Bulls weather those two cold fronts before Boland Landbou come to town on 10 August 2019.
Other action in Eagle territory sees Langenhoven Gym host PW Botha, Bridgton entertain Kairos from Heidelberg and Wittedrift drive from Plettenberg Bay to play Knysna. Tough assignments await Punt, who are away to Despatch; Oudtshoorn, who go coastal in Bredasdorp, and Langenhoven High, who visit Montagu.
Boland’s big boys, HTS Drostdy, shouldn’t have too much trouble dealing with visitors Tygerberg, boasting as they do an awesome attacking arsenal which includes Keane Galant, Roann Jansen, Zach le Roux and Hugo Mostert.
Other Boland highlights include in-form Worcester Gym’s visit to Charlie Hofmeyr, Hermanus’s home game against ever-improving DF Malan and unbeaten Hopefield’s attempt to beard Swartland in their own den.
The Bosvarke’s star appears to be on the rise after a quiet period and the Charlies would do well to guard against complacency.
Swartland have been in Hopefield’s sights for several years now, most particularly since the Malmesbury side thumped them 69-5 at home three years ago. Jean Rossouw's lads may have beaten the Rockies 32-14 in their picturesque town last year, but taking them down on their home turf would be the cherry on the top of a great season.
There are just two Premier B league games, with Brackenfell at home to Parel Vallei and Stellenberg travelling down Durban Road for a date with Bellville.
Although the Jade Brigade ought to see off the Lions with ease, it will be interesting to see how much Parel Vallei have learnt from their experiences this year when they face a struggling Brakkies side.
Need one say it: next Saturday, 3 August 2019, is the Paarl interschools, but there’s also Boland Landbou vs Paul Roos, SACS vs Rondebosch and Oakdale vs Grey College, while Bishops travel up to Grahamstown for their big derby against St Andrew’s and Outeniqua take on Framesby in the Windy City.
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