KwaZulu-Natal’s best face off this Saturday as Michaelhouse travel to Maritzburg College.
Recent history favours Maritzburg, who won this fixture 25-24 last year and 23-9 in 2013.
Michaelhouse are currently the highest-ranked KZN team in the FNB Top 20, in 13th place. The private school has enjoyed a perfect season so far, but notably face its first top 20 school in Maritzburg this weekend.
Michaelhouse director of rugby Ryno Combrinck is well aware of the challenge Maritzburg represent.
‘Traditionally they’re the bastion of Natal schoolboy rugby, and that’s exactly how we see them. Knowing we’re up against a school with the tradition and ability to reach that level means it’s a big clash for us.
‘It would be a mistake to consider rankings and form,’ he added. ‘They’re a respected school with a respected 1st XV, and I think it’ll be a wonderful game on Saturday.’
College are ranked 15th, having played six games more than Michaelhouse, and have already claimed the scalp of Grey PE.
'We're pretty clear on the fact that we're the underdogs,' 1st XV coach Kevin Smith told SARugbymag.co.za. 'Michaelhouse have a side they believe is their best in many years, if not ever. They're travelling here, though, and they're going to meet the same Maritzburg College that doesn't lie down for anyone.
'We were told we were going to lose last year, and we won,' he added. 'We respect them as a team, but we're Maritzburg College and we'll do everything we can to make sure we come out on top.'
Maritzburg have made two changes to their starting XV from last week, with Ruben van Blerk starting at fullback instead of Dan Griffiths, and Kudzai Munangi making way for Matt Kriel (brother of Jesse and Dan) at flyhalf.
Michaelhouse's team changes will be confirmed on Friday.
Other big games this weekend see KES host Monument, Kearsney travelling to Hilton, and Noord Kaap looking to halt the in-form Helpmekaar
Kempton Park vs Florida
Rustenburg vs EG Jansen
KES vs Monument
St Benedict’s vs St Stithians
Riebeeckrand vs Randburg
Bastion vs Alberton
Linden vs Jan Viljoen
Hans Moore vs Oosterling
Dr Malan vs Hugenote
Transvalia vs Driehoek
Vokskool Heidelberg vs Benoni
Westville vs Garsfontein
Pinetown Boys’ vs Clifton (Durban)
George Campbell vs Glenwood
St Charles vs DHS
Hilton vs Kearsney
Maritzburg vs Michaelhouse
Weston Agricultural vs Greytown
Stirling vs Queen’s College
St Andrew’s vs Kingswood
Cambridge vs Dale
Hudson Park vs Port Rex
Noord-Kaap vs Helpmekaar
– Email your school's fixtures to [email protected]
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images