Paarl Gimnasium erased four years of heartache when they beat bitter rivals Paarl Boys’ High 18-17 in another thrilling Premier Interschools match in Paarl on Saturday.
The Paarl derby, viewed as the biggest schoolboys rugby match in the world, came down to the last kick of the encounter after Boys’ High almost managed to wipe out a 18-5 deficit in the last five minutes – plus stoppage time – to win the match.
Wing Javier Farmer finished off a wonderful passage of play for Boys’ High that stretched from their own half eight minutes after the 70 minutes had come and gone. Fullback Jacques Rousseau then had a kick to win the derby, but his effort from the right touchline sailed narrowly wide, which started wild celebrations from the Gim faithful.
It just perfectly summed up this wonderful clash, which stretches over a 100 years. It’s not always pretty, while the quality sometimes takes a back seat to sheer guts and determination.
This year it was Gim’s turn to earn bragging rights after Boys’ High dominated this clash over the last few years. It’s their first win since 2014, and they fully deserve it. They were the best team on the day, but almost managed choke again like they did when Boys’ High also came from behind to win.
Boys’ High opened the scoring when wing Angelo Osch ran a magnificent angle to break the Gim line, before showing his pace and stepping ability to dive over the line.
Jandre Burger, who had a fantastic afternoon with the boot in terms of his tactical kicking and controlling the game, kicked a penalty in the 26th minute for Gim, before wing Curwin Gertse scored the first of his two tries on the day with a good finish shortly before half time.
Gim then stretched their lead shortly after the break when left wing Strevino Smith, who also had a top game, ran through the Boys’ High defence straight from the kick-off, before earning his team a penalty, which Burger converted.
Gertse scored his second try with about 16 minutes left to give Gim an 18-5 lead, and it looked like boys in green, maroon and yellow would cruise to victory.
However, substitute backline player Reece du Plessis would score for Boys’ High from close range, before Rousseau converted to make it a six-point game with virtually no time left on the clock.
Boys’ High, with time up, then surged their way upfield, before getting a penalty and setting up a lineout close to the Gim tryline. Farmer finished off well in the corner after a few phases, but unfortunately for Boys’ High Rousseau just couldn’t kick a difficult conversion to get the win.
Paarl Boys’ High – Try: Angelo Osch, Reece du Plessis, Javier Farmer. Conversion: Jacques Rousseau.
Paarl Gimnasium – Try: Curwin Gertse (2). Conversions/Penalties: Jandre Burger (2)
Paarl Boys’ High – 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 der Berg, 6 Stass Nel, 5 Niel Venter, 4 Evan Roode, 3 Sebastiaan Lombaard, 2 Allister Williams, 1 Rynhardt Rijnsburger.
Paarl Gimnasium – 15 Tiaan Swanepoel, 14 Curwin Gertse, 13 Ethan James, 12 John du Toit, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 10 Jandre Burger, 9 Bobby Alexander, 8 Juan Wilson, 7 Pierich Siebert, 6 Louw Nel, 5 Marco van Rhyn (c), 4 Reynhardt Crous, 3 Jovan Bekker, 2 Liam Compion, 1 Gerhard van Niekerk.
Subs: 16 Delarey Nel, 17 Louwtjie Marais, 18 Dante Booyens, 19 Johan van Rhyn, 20 Eric Basson, 21 Bradley Davids, 22 Johan Smal, 23 Migael Basson.
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images