Paarl Gimnasium coach Pieter Rossouw says Paarl Boys’ High will start Saturday’s derby at the Faure Street Stadium as favourites. DYLAN JACK reports.
Paarl Boys’ last loss to their cross-town rivals came in 2014 (16-15) and they were unbeaten against South African teams until being defeated by Grey College earlier this year.
‘Boishaai are going to be really motivated,’ Rossouw told SARugbymag.co.za. ‘They are a really good side and have three SA Schools players and a WP U19 coach in Sean Erasmus.
‘So they should be the favourites because they have beaten this Paarl Gim age-group team every year from U14 level. We know it is going to be a tough game and expect that from them.’
However, the former Bok wing remains optimistic about his team’s chances. Paarl Gim have lost just one match this season, to the No 1-ranked Paul Roos.
‘We aren’t really focused on the record [Paarl Gim’s three-match losing streak in the Paarl derby]. Every year you have a different team and it is important to get these guys to believe in themselves. We have played very well this year and are not focused on the past.
‘It is obviously a very important game for the kids,’ Rossouw added. ‘Every year they look forward to this game.
‘The result tends to define your season as a success or failure, but we already regard our season as a success, with the way that we have played and developed. Obviously, we want to win this game, but if we do not, it is not the end of the world.’
Rossouw, who could name an unchanged lineup from the one that thrashed Bishops 52-17, said the challenge will be to keep his players calm in the midst of a 25,000-strong crowd.
‘Fortunately, we have been playing in front of big crowds all year, like at the World Schools Festival. So it is important that the guys focus on helping their teammates, on their jobs and not worry too much about things they can’t control, like the crowd.’
With rain forecast for the weekend, the conditions may influence how the teams approach the match.
‘We will make that decision on the day, or the day before,’ Rossouw said. ‘For us, it is important to cover all aspects of the game and be prepared for the weather on Saturday.’
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images