The past weekend’s results confirmed that South Africa’s top school rugby team for 2018 will be either Grey College or Paul Roos Gimnasium. THEO GARRUN reports.
And it’s just about certain that the match between the two schools in Bloemfontein on 18 August will decide just who the top dog will be. Just about certain because of two things. Firstly, there’s another school who should not be discounted and who have at least a mathematical chance of upsetting the apple cart – Durban’s Glenwood High School.
Glenwood are the other team among the traditional big guns who are still unbeaten as the season moves into its closing stages. They have beaten all their KZN rivals so far, they were unbeaten at the Kearsney and Wildeklawer festivals, and in their most recent clashes knocked off Affies and Monument – the best that Gauteng can offer.
Their 49-22 win over Monument in Krugersdorp at the weekend was very impressive and, although they still have to negotiate the tough hurdle of facing the much-improved DHS in their local derby this coming weekend, they look set for a showdown with Grey College, in Durban on 4 August and a win there would give them a legitimate claim to being among the top two schools in the land.
The second impediment to that 18 August ‘final’ is beyond the control of the schools involved. On that exact date last year the SA Schools team played England U18 at the City Ground in Cape Town and there has, so far, been no word from SA Rugby about a repeat of the international series which also involved Wales and France, but if it does take place, there might be a game on the day of the Grey vs Paul Roos game. And the chances are pretty good, given the quality of players in both teams, that their stars may be missing for it.
What isn’t in doubt is that both Grey and Paul Roos were in command last weekend. Grey were given some stiff opposition by Affies who came back from 22-0 down to actually lead 28-27 with 10 eight minutes to go. Grey scored two more tries after that, however, to win comfortably in the end.
It was much easier for Paul Roos Gimnasium against Paarl Boys’ High in Stellenbosch. They scored five converted tries in their 44-8 win and restricted Boishaai to one try.
Apart from Glenwood’s win at Monument, other significant results over the weekend saw DHS continue their good run with a 45-30 win over Maritzbrug College; Waterkloof were too good for King Edward, winning 35-23; Paarl Gim beat Oakdale 47-39 and Transvalia confirmed that they are a force in the Northvaal Virseker Trophy this year by trouncing HTS Middelburg 73-24.
There are a number of intriguing clashes on the cards this coming weekend. Schools rugby followers in Durban will be keen to see if DHS, who dealt with their one big rival, Martizburg College, last weekend, will be able to do the same to the other, Glenwood, next weekend – and bring the Green Machine’s unbeaten run to an end.
In Gauteng, Jeppe host Affies, still looking for a first win over them, and Transvalia meet Monument in the Virseker Trophy.
The big Eastern Cape games are St Andrew’s vs Selborne and Grey High vs Dale, while in the Cape, Bishops host Wynberg Boys’ High and Paarl Gim take on Boland Landbou in a local derby.
Photo: Thys Lombard/Paul Roos Facebook