Barry backs Gimmies

Paarl Gym old boy De Wet Barry believes his side will extend their five-year winning streak against Paarl Boys’ High on Saturday.

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A crowd of over 25 000 is expected, with Gimmies the overwhelming favourites after humiliating their foes 35-8 in 2008. In the last 20 meetings between the schools the score is 10-10 with Boishaai’s last victory occurring in 2003.

Both teams experienced narrow encounters last weekend, with Boishaai fending off a determined SACS outfit 23-16 and Paarl Gym sneaking home 29-22 against a dogged Drostdy.

Paarl Boys’ are currently rated the top side in the Western Cape having lost only to Boland Landbou (23-19) this year. Paarl Gym have had a mixed bag of results this season with losses to Boland Landbou (14-12), Paul Roos (47-36) and Wynberg (15-10).

However, Barry doesn’t expect a one-sided encounter between the two rivals.

‘I look back on inter-schools with fond memories having played and won the tie in 1996,’ Barry told ‘The build-up is intense and as close to a Test match atmosphere as you can get at schoolboy level. Saturday will be no different as the weight of expectation on both sides is enormous.

‘I think the weather will be a factor and whoever deals with the pressure the best will win the game. It’s going to be close, but I think Paarl Gym will edge it.’

Meanwhile, Boys’ High coach Elmo Wolfaard said his side would stick to their structures.

‘It is a massive occasion and everyone is looking forward to the game. Continuity will be the key and whoever makes the least mistakes will come out on top.’

Wolfard will be pleased to welcome back flyhalf and points machine, Gavin Hauptfleish. The pivot has been a revelation this season, especially when it comes to his goal kicking. His opposite number is the incumbent WP and SA Schools flyhalf, William van Wyk. This match-up presents two contrasting playing styles: while Van Wyk will look to attack the gain line at any given opportunity, Haupfleish has a tactical appreciation of the game to complement his sound kicking abilities.

Boys’ High captain and tighthead prop Frans Malherbe, who has also been selected for SA Schools, will look to galvanise his forwards along with lanky WP Schools lock Wilhelm van der Sluys.

If Boys’ High are to come away as victors they will have to nullify Gimmies No 8 JC Erasmus from the outset. Erasmus poses a real threat on attack as he has the ability to break the defence open with his strong running and direct ball-carrying skills.

Saturday’s clash, that starts at 4pm, will ultimately be decided by two factors: defence and goal kicking. Expect a tight, low-scoring affair as rain has been predicted.

Meanwhile, in another gigantic clash in Bloemfontein, Grey College face Grey High from PE.

Grey High last beat their opponents in 2004, but came agonisingly close to victory in 2008  before losing 22-17.

‘We start as massive underdogs, as Grey College have not lost at home since 2006 when Paul Roos defeated them,’ said Grey High coach Deon Carelse. ‘The undergdog tag suits us as anything can happen on the day and we will definitely give it our all.’

Grey College boast six SA Schools players, including captain Pieter Rademan. The Bloemfontein outfit will try to soften Grey High  upfront before letting their backline cut loose, with skilful centre Piet Lindeque and devastating broken-field runner and SA Schools fullback, Riaan Britz, at the forefront of the attack.

Weekend fixtures:
Boland Landbou vs Paul Roos
Paarl Gym vs Paarl Boys
Selborne vs Queens
St Andrew’s vs Dale
Grey College vs Grey High
Brackenfell vs Rondebosch
SACS vs HTS Bellville
Tygerberg vs WBHS
Affies vs Glenwood

By Gareth Wright