Bishops should have little trouble in recording their fifth straight derby win when they host underperforming southern suburbs rivals SACS on Saturday.
While the home side chases the elusive clean sweep over their three traditional rivals, for the visitors, a slim chance of redemption albeit it a seemingly impossible task as they search for the first Premier League A win of the season.
The gulf between these two sides this year has been massive; Bishops once again against the odds able to field a competitive XV against all-comers, while for SACS, the poor neighbours tag lives on, always struggling to make a fist of it for whatever reason.
To be brutally honest, SACS’ poor form has set in over recent years. But, in headmaster Ken Ball, there’s hope of a renaissance in, as there’s no man passionate about the game at this level than this former senior provincial player. But Ball alone can’t succeed – it’s going to need a collective effort from interested parties to affect the much-needed, long-awaited turnaround.
Let’s remember that SACS were once a feared foe. Nothing will hurt the school more than the sub-standard rugby being dished out at the moment. They also have a long-standing relationship with WesternProvince rugby dating back to the very first committee meeting held of the union in 1883 with former old boy WH Ashley as one of its members. He would be turning in his grave at the thought of the one-sided defeats suffered by his former school and would want nothing more than pride to be restored back to the jersey.
While that process may begin to take shape next season, the first tentative steps in the right direction could be sewn by putting up a fight against an in-form Bishops XV enjoying a great season. It won’t be easy to contain the second best XV in the Cape, but with passion, pride and commitment comes hope. Any team emitting those three key ingredients can never be faulted on the final outcome.
Just take the approach of Bishops, they can’t wait to get stuck in such is their motivation for the occasion. Coach Dave Mallett says his boys live off the hype in these derbies.
‘Nothing like a match against one of your main rivals to get the blood pumping,’ he said. ‘And to be playing on our beloved Piley Rees field for these encounters is always something special. But we will never forget to afford our rival the utmost respect irrespective of their form. But in saying that, I will be somewhat disappointed if we don’t run out big winners, I’ve got my best starting XV for some time at just the right time.’
By Mike de Bruyn