Grey College host Paarl Boys’ High in what will undoubtedly be another classic between the two schools in Bloemfontein on Saturday, writes DYLAN JACK.
While Paarl Boys’ have been flying under the radar the last year after going three seasons unbeaten, the rugby factory from Bloemfontein have again claimed the top spot in schoolboy rugby. They have swept away all opposition with ease so far, with their latest conquest being another Paarl team in Paarl Gimnasium, who they dispatched 47-33 at the Wildeklawer tournament.
They once again possess a backline of sublime speed and skill with a pack of forwards who can dominate their opponents in all aspects. There is pedigree in their team with some offspring and siblings of well-known rugby players such as Andre-Hugo Venter, son of legendary Springbok flanker Andre Venter, Ian Small-Smith, brother of William Small-Smith, and Danwich Beukes, son of Free State stalwart Joe Beukes.
It is not the individuals that make this team so dangerous, however, but rather their ability to perform as a well-oiled unit. On attack or defence, there always seems to be an extra man to close the gap or put another into space, the result of a team that plays well together and knows their game plan.
Paarl Boys’ High are finding their feet under new head coach Peter Engledow, and are looking better with each game they play.
With the side settling into a winning rhythm, they are perhaps best suited to give the juggernauts from Bloemfontein a run for their money. With a solid pack of forwards, a pivot in Kian Meadon with a learned boot, great midfield defence and some real speed in the back three, they can put Grey under pressure in areas where they may not have been tested before.
Other big games this weekend see Dale host Selborne in the first of their two derbies, while Bishops travel to the Boland to take on Boland Landbou.
Grey College – 15 Nabo Soyoki, 14 JD Odendaal, 13 Ian Small-Smith (c), 12 Lesley Botha, 11 Franco Knoetze, 10 FC du Plessis, 9 Juan Dee Olivier, 8 George Cronje, 7 Deon le Roux, 6 Ricardo Fourie, 5 Danwich Beukes, 4 Tiaan Jonker, 3 Petrus Naudé, 2 Andre-Hugo Venter, 1 Jan-Hendrik Wessels.
Subs: 16 Amandio Cavaleiro, 17 Diaan Hattingh, 18 Tielman Nieuwoudt, 19 Sisonke Vumazonke, 20 Duan Ludik, 21 Tiaan Fourie, 22 Riaan Brits, 23 Marcell Muller.
Paarl Boys – 15 Jacques Rousseau, 14 Angelo Osch, 13 Quan Horn, 12 Tyler Bocks, 11 Javier Farmer, 10 Kian Meadon, 9 Wian van der Sandt, 8 Gideon van Wyk, 7 Eon van den Berg, 6 Stass Nel, 5 Niel Venter, 4 Evan Roode, 3 Sebastian Lombard, 2 Allister Williams, 1 Rhynardt Rijnsburger (c).
Subs: 16 Delmar Degenaar, 17 Abraham Reyneke, 18 DM Holls, 19 Jade Hendricks, 20 Cameron Hanekom, 21 Keean Barnard, 22 Rickus Jonk, 23 Riis du Plessis.
Standout Saturday fixtures:
Michaelhouse vs Kearsney
Hilton vs Pretoria Boys’ High
Dale vs Selborne
St Stithians vs KES
Boland Landbou vs Bishops
Grey College vs Paarl Boys’ High
Photo: Gallo Images