There are some big games coming up that will sort out the pecking order of the top rugby schools in the land, writes THEO GARRUN.
It will all come down to one game, one suspects, when Paul Roos Gimnasium take on Grey College in Bloemfontein on 18 August.
But before then, Grey have to travel to Glenwood this Saturday and the result there is far from certain, while Paul Roos host Boland Landbou, which also won’t be easy. So we are in for an interesting weekend.
That 18 August clash will, of course, be affected by the SA Schools game against England on the same day. Both schools will have three players away, so it becomes a test of reserve strength in addition to everything else.
Both those schools had good wins at the weekend. Grey College overwhelmed Grey High 63-8 in the clash of the Greys, while Paul Roos beat Bishops 52-27.
Glenwood didn’t play this past weekend, so they will be rested and primed to take on Grey College on Saturday.
The biggest local derby of them all – the Paarl interschools between Gimnasium and Boys’ High – takes place on Saturday. There was an online survey trying to identify the top derby games a few years ago and this one was tops, hands down, despite the obvious parochialism of many who voted.
There have been years when this traditional end-of-season encounter has determined who the top school in the country is. That may not be the case this year, but it won’t reduce the size of the crowd that turns up at the town’s Faure Street stadium, neither will it diminish the passion on and around the field as the town is neatly split in half this week.
Both teams had wins over Cape Town opposition last Saturday. Boishaai beat SACS 25-10 and Gim beat Bishops 52-27. It hasn’t been a very good year for Boishaai, by their standards, so this could be closer than it has been in recent years.
Second on that list of the top derbies was Affies vs Pretoria Boys’ High, and that’s also on this Saturday, at Affies. Boys’ High have pulled off a surprise in this one on more than one occasion, but their fortunes have waned recently to the extent that an upset is unlikely, even though it has been, again by their standards, an ordinary season for Affies.
This weekend also sees the last round of league matches in the North Vaal Virseker Cup competition. Garsfontein, Helpmekaar and Monument are assured of playoff places, with Menlopark and Transvalia vying for the final spot, that after Menlopark surprisingly beat Transvalia 38-37 last weekend.
Transvalia play Garsfontein this weekend, needing a bonus point to go through. Helpmekaar host Monument in a clash that will decide second and third place on the table, but also who is Joburg’s top Afrikaans medium school this year.
In other action this past weekend, Jeppe pulled off the double against KES in Joburg’s biggest derby with a 40-25 win; Selborne confirmed their dominance in the Border region by beating Queens College 76-13 and Affies beat Waterkloof 34-26 in another clash between close neighbours.