One of the biggest cross-Jukskei River clashes of the season – Monument vs Garsfontein – takes place in Krugersdorp on Saturday. THEO GARRUN reports.
This is a Tuks Series pool game, with Garsfontein no longer in with a chance of still making the playoffs and Monument only having a mathematical chance. It’s not a significant one in that context, but it is a matchup between two of the most successful school in the northern part of the country in recent years so there is a lot at stake.
Monument are the defending champions in the Tuks Series, having beaten Garsfontein in the semi-finals last year, and they need to win, with a bonus point, to make sure they advance to the semis this year. So Monnas will not be holding back and neither, one suspects, will Garsfontein, who will be looking for a psychological edge going into the next time the two schools meet, in a Virseker Trophy pool game on 9 June.
The Tuks Series, like the Craven Week, is an U18 tournament, while the Virseker Trophy allows boys who are U19 to play. Garsfontein are going to be affected by that ruling as they have three first-choice players who will not be playing. Monument, on the other hand, have two U19s who will be out, but they usually come off the bench and will not be missed as much.
Both schools say that they definitely not regarding this as a pre-season warm-up game.
‘Every game the 1st XV play I regard as important,’ says Ryno Van der Merwe, director of rugby at Garsfontien, and the 1st XV assistant coach.
‘We look at our processes and what we want to achieve and want to improve on, and any game against Monnas is a great challenge for us. We want to measure ourselves against the best.’
They will miss their U19 players, he says, but those are the tournament rules.
‘We do have a few injuries, as I would imagine all teams do at this stage of the season, particularly in the pack, but we are ready for the game.’
Monument coach Tjaart van der Walt believes his side has not fired on all cylinders yet this season.
‘We haven’t lost, but we haven’t produced a convincing performance either and we will use this opportunity to try to do that.
‘Playing Garsfontein is always big for us, no matter what the competition. We are still missing a few players with injuries, but one of our first-choice locks is back and that is good for us. Garsfontein are a good team, with a number of X-factor players. It’s going to be a hard game.’
Kick-off is at 13:15.