Schools preview: KES vs Waterkloof

KES and Waterkloof will be looking to extend their respective winning streaks when they clash on Saturday. THEO GARRUN reports.

One of the most eagerly awaited annual cross-Jukskei clashes, King Edward VII School vs Hoërskool Waterkloof takes place at King Edward this Saturday (kick-off at 1:15pm).

This is a fairly new rivalry. The schools have only been playing each other in full fixtures since 2016. Waterkloof won 30-14 that year, while last year KES ended up on top 28-25.

The teams go into Saturday’s clash on the back of contrasting performances last weekend. Waterkloof pulled off one of the surprises of the season when they beat Monument 28-26 in Krugersdorp, while KES scraped home by a single point (24-23) against St Benedict’s in a game they were expected to win comfortably.

It’s been a difficult season for Waterkloof, who must surely have the most difficult fixture list of any school in the country.

Prior to the win over Monument they played, and lost to, Paarl Gimnasium (57-20), Grey College (60-15), Paarl Boys’ High (53-10) and Paul Roos Gimnasium (63-12) in consecutive games. Before that, they lost to Helpmekaar (38-11), with a sole victory over Durbanville in between.

Their victory over Monument brought a welcome end to that string of losses and they will be hoping to stay on that track against KES on Saturday.

The King Edward Reds are coming off two victories – that close one against St Benedict’s and, the week before, a good 37-18 win over Maritzburg College.

It’s not been a great season for them either. They lost to Grey High and Selborne at the Grey High Festival, and have gone down to Wynberg, Jeppe and Affies.

So, for both sides, victory in Saturday’s clash could be the start of a bit of a streak, which adds spice to what should be a close encounter.

Neither coach is taking much notice of past history and both are approaching Saturday’s game with caution.

‘We take each match as a new challenge,’ says Waterkloof’s Jean Coetzer. ‘It’s important that we reset and focus before every game.

‘KES is always an important fixture in our season. We take great pride in playing against schools like KES who have a long-standing tradition and a rich heritage. It’s a fantastic opportunity to rub shoulders with them.’

King Edward coach Mzwakhe Nkosi says that although his side was poor against St Benedict’s, they showed good character and willingness at the end to get a positive result.

‘It was perhaps not a bad thing as it might serve as a wake-up call before the Waterkloof fixture.

‘Waterkloof had a couple of tough results prior to the win against Monument. It will give them some much-needed confidence. We are going to have to contend with a team on a massive high. We are looking forward to the challenge.’