The South African College High School (SACS) host near neighbours and rivals Rondebosch Boys’ High School this weekend.
Local derbies between these two very similar schools are always fiercely contested but both teams will be hungrier than ever for a win in what promises to be a titanic battle.
Rondebosch have had a difficult run of games but have been playing well, mixing structured attack with dogged defence and a never say die attitude that tangibly displays the immense spirit within their squad. Despite injuries they have continued to run more fancied opposition close every week. Unfortunately for them their fixture list has not been kind and they have had to face Paarl Boishaai, Boland Landbou and Paul Roos already this season.
The Boland schools are all particularly strong this year so just being competitive is no mean feat. That said no Rondebosch side goes into any game hoping for an honourable defeat so they will be hurting and targeting the SACS game to get their season back on track, in terms on results that is. Having not lost to SACS since 2007 they have every reason to feel confident.
SACS are desperately trying to restore a reputation tarnished by two poor seasons in 2009/10. Having broken their duck and scored two premier league wins in 2011 over Bishops and Wynberg, Rondebosch are the one Southern Suburb scalp that still eludes them.
SACS pushed a very strong Rondebosch side close twice in 2011 but now need to put that behind them and turn the tables. Having decent form going into the game after a solid win against Tygerberg last week, SACS need to capitalise on the momentum they have and home ground advantage.
Both teams have loose forwards, Luke van der Smit (SACS) and Graham Geldenhuys (Rondebosch), who have been selected for the (Western Province Academy team and both have captains who are the heartbeat of their backlines. For SACS, scrumhalf Cameron Calder will call the shots from scrumhalf, while for Rondebosch Tim Hillock will pull the strings from centre.
The game will be won by a small margin and true to its "Test-match" billing for the two teams, probably by the team that gains the ascendancy up front and kicks its penalties. Both teams defend well so the battle for the gainline and at the breakdown will be crucial.
It promises to be a wonderful spectacle with a big crowd expected on what promises to be a warm winters morning.
SACS: 15 K Wheeler, 14 S Chibale, 13 R Rodgers, 12 L van Wyk, 11 M Dempers, 10 C Smith, 9 C Calder (captain), 8 G Lupini, 7 L van der Smit, 6 M Hoogwerf, 5 A de Carvalho, 4 D Basson, 3 Y Maqenukana, 2 S Murray, 1 J Macquene.
Date: Saturday, 2 June, 2012
Venue: Memorial A-field (SACS)
Expected weather conditions: 12°C/19°C Wind 19km/h SE No chance of rain
Referee: (Western Province Referees’ Society
Free State 19 – Tries: Werner Vorster, Rian Joubert, Ian Sadie, Kallie van Biljon. Natal 7 – Try: Derek la Marque. Penalty: Hugh Reece-Edwards.
Boland 16 – Tries: Gert la Grange 2, Thys Swart, Philip Viljoen. Eastern Free State 9 – Try: Gerhard Oosthuizen. Conversion: Gallie Meyer. Penalty: Meyer.
The KwaZulu-Natal weekend gets started on Friday evening with a rematch of the Durban Night Series final when then winners George Campbell host Port Natal.
Campbell will be desperate to make amends after their narrow defeat at Northwood last week, which all but put pay to their hopes of ending the year as the seventh best team in the province. Port Natal will arrive at North Beach in a confident mood, having seen off the huge challenge from high-flying Suid-Natal in an 11-8 victory.
With Michaelhouse looking certain to be the best represented school in the local Craven Week team, their profile on the rugby front has just shot up, meaning a lot more attention will be focused on their achievements from here on out. The boys from Balgowan will be expected to achieve convincing wins beginning with the Northwood match, in order to justify their numerous Under-18 selections to some often tough to please local followers of the school game. Northwood is already known for putting up spirited performances on their own home turf. Now adding to the equation for this game is that it’s their Old Boys Day, suggesting they will be that much more pumped up to do well in front of the a large and loud crowd.
The Maritzburg College versus Kearsney game is an FNB Classic Clash and makes for an interesting match-up. The two teams have started peaking in recent weeks. Also as far as strengths and weaknesses are concerned, they appear to be complete opposites. College should dominate scrums and play out wide, while Kearsney should control the lineout and be marginally better in and around the rucks. However this is rugby and sometimes the form book simply has to be thrown out the window. College players will also be able to feed off that special energy that can be felt all around Goldstones on their Reunion Day.
DHS’s best form this season has come on their own home ground. It’s therefore hard to imagine them pulling off a win against Hilton 100km away from Durban. The feeling is always there that School can be very influential in a slow or a start-stop type game though. Hilton has a good pack but they might find an expansive game more to their liking against heavier DHS forwards.
Westville are a safe bet to be too powerful for Empangeni from the onset. Nevertheless the game might be a good occasion to experiment or develop a good game-plan ahead of Westville’s final big challenge of the season in the form of Kearsney.
Sarel Cilliers who has pretty much sewn up the unofficial Northern Natal title this year plays next door neighbours Dundee.
Elsewhere in the country there are some huge games on.
Port Elizabeth schoolboy rugby fans look set to be treated to an action-packed match when home team Grey High meets undefeated Border region heavyweights Dale College. It wasn’t too long ago that Grey High was being mentioned in the same breath as the leading contenders for top spot in the national rankings. Things have gone awry since then for Grey and they will see this game as a vital opportunity to get back on track. Watching Dale run the ball is a sight for sore eyes for any rugby lover. At their very best the King William’s Town boys execute with a high degree of precision at such tremendous pace that even the best organised defences can be made to look weak.
Garsfontein and Centurion might not be the first two Northvaal rugby teams that come to mind when discussing the region’s usual cream of the crop in any given year. However, in 2012 both sides are right up there amongst the best not just in the region but also in the whole country. Saturday’s match-up will be nothing short of an absolute humdinger.
KES gets a chance to extract some revenge for an early season shock defeat at the hands of Pretoria Boys High. That result has been the only real blemish in an almost spotless record for KES, arguably one of the best teams in the country going by the talent in the team, the form shown and most importantly the result achieved.
As mentioned in another article on this website, there are also some thrillers down in the Western Cape as well.
Enjoy the rugby and remember to be a good sportsman in the stands as well.
Players: Henri Boshoff, Jannie Theron and Rikus van Schalkwyk.
Players: Carel Raath, Rudi Engelbrecht, Jaco Erwee, Johnny Bester, Harmen Potgieter, Ruan Treurnicht, Donovan Comerma, Darion Uys (captain), Eugene Nel, Victor Hughes, Arno Meintjies, Rudi Burger, Mynhardt Koen, Louis Swanepoel, Diaan Crafford.