Queen’s up against it

Keo.co.za previews this weekend’s round of schoolboy matches from around the country.

Queen’s will face an uphill battle when they take on high-riding St Andrew’s in Queenstown.

While St Andrew’s confidence will be sky-high after their 17-16 win against Grey High (PE) last weekend, Queens’ will be relatively low after their disastrous 14-12 loss to Sterling High.

If Queen’s are to stand any chance of victory they will have to nullify the attacking prowess of St Andrew’s points machine James Price. The winger has been a revelation this year with his elusive running and accurate goal kicking, and he scored all 17 of his side’s points against Grey PE.

St Andrew’s coach Stefan Louwrens admitted to keo.co.za that his side won’t have proceedings all their own way. ‘It’s never easy at the Rec, Queen’s will definitely lift their game for us this weekend,’ he said.

Queen’s looked out of sorts last weekend and squandered numerous try-scoring opportunities that effectively cost them the game. The strength of Queen’s is most definitely in their pack and coach Clint Loest will have focused a large majority of his energy this week on the close-quarter exchanges, as well as the lineouts. If Queen’s are to compete convincingly then their set-pieces will have to be superior to that of St Andrews.

Queen’s No 8 Johan Meyer has been the standout player for his side this season, and Saturday will provide another opportunity for him to turn over ball at the breakdown. However, Meyer will face stern contesting from Saints’ loose forwards, James Gotz and Justus Luttig, who have also been outstanding in this area of the game.

Queen’s left winger Leon Makiwane has also shown some neat touches in recent weeks and the match-up between him and Price will be interesting to watch.

Also in the Eastern Cape, Dale will host Grey PE and attempt to inflict a third successive defeat over Dean Carelse’s team. ‘Amododa’ will be looking to eighthman Lubo Balo to lead from the front and provide the spark to ignite the home side.

In Gauteng, St John’s host St Stithians, with the former looking to avenge last season’s losses to their bitter rivals. St Stithians have shown great promise this season and a recent victory over Pretoria Boys’ High will have given the visitors some impetus going into this fixture. Keep an eye out for St Stithians flyhalf Morgan Ferguson, who has been in magnificent form in the last few weeks.

Pretoria Boys’ face unbeaten KES in the nation’s capital on Saturday, hoping to avenge their 17-15 loss to the Jo’burg-based side earlier in the season. Flyhalf Lucien Ruiters had an off day with the boot in last weekend’s epic encounter with Westville Boys’ High that ended in a 27-all draw. Pretoria Boys’ will definitely target the KES playmaker and try to rattle him.

Monument meet Marais Viljoen in their big derby clash of the season. Monnas have had a great run of victories in the last few weeks that has seen them creep into keo.co.za’s top 10 rankings.

In the Western Cape, giantkillers Wynberg play host to Rondebosch this weekend. Wynberg surprised Paarl Gym 15-10 last Saturday with Bosch running Paarl Boys close in an 18-13 defeat. The battle between the two Craven Week wingers, Justin Fillies (Bosch) and Zungisa Nziki (Wynberg) is sure to be an interesting one.

Bishops, who convincingly beat Paul Roos 27-15 in Stellenbosch last weekend, host Paarl Boys’ on Saturday. Bishops will be looking to maintain the same rich vein of form that has seen them suffer just one loss this year to Wynberg earlier in the season.

SACS play Paul Roos in Newlands and persistent rain will once again mean that the field will be water-logged, suiting the home side.

By Gareth Wright