Bishops seek clean sweep

Bishops stand on the cusp of completing another ‘grand slam’ over their three traditional rivals.

Having twice easily seen off SACS and Wynberg, Bishops, on their turf, will fancy their chances of completing the double over Rondebosch to make it a clean sweep for the second time in five years. It does appear to be a foregone conclusion based on the previous meeting between these two arch rivals, Bishops running in five tries to one on that occasion to complete a 38-10 win. Played out in front of a huge crowd, Bosch, although never waving the white flag, came off clear second best in all departments, a late try adding some respectability to the final scoreline.

Bishops, bar three narrow defeats this season (with a total losing margin of four points), have played breathtaking rugby this year and will want to close out their campaign with another power display of the 15-man rugby that they have become admired for. For Bosch to stand any hope of causing a massive upset, they must, at all costs, keep it tight amongst their forwards as well as producing a defensive effort yet to be seen from them this year.

While they will approach this game with a lot more confidence than the corresponding one after morale-boosting wins over Drostdy and Wynberg respectively, any attempt by them to adopt an expansive game plan, without the personnel to back it up, will be courting disaster. Their best form, while sporadic at the best of times, has evolved by keeping the ball amongst their pack and grinding it upfield. Leading the charge will be impressive No 8 Raÿn Smïd, his pace, skill and try-scoring prowess (three tries in the last two games) sure not to have gone unnoticed by the Bishops coaching staff led by Dave Mallett.

But individuals seldom win games, teams do. Bishops have the upper hand in the latter with a side blessed with an abundance of raw talent, that when, firing on all cylinders, has no equal.

‘We’re expecting a tough fight from a Bosch team who don’t know the meaning of the word [quit],’ said Mallett. ‘I remember not too long ago a Bishops side not conceding a point away to them in a big win for us, being taken out in the return match. So definitely, we don’t want to go down that route again.

‘The boys know their capabilities but also understand that nothing less than full commitment from them will get the desired outcome.

We always respect Bosch for the passion they bring to the occasion, but let them know that we aim to close out our very successful season on a high with a brand of open rugby at every turn. Let’s see how they counter us.’

Bosch counterpart Clint van Rensburg, although conceding his team were heavy underdogs, was nevertheless hopeful of an improved showing from the first encounter.

‘Bishops deserve their favourites tag after a good season, but my boys are an improving lot,’ he said. ‘This is our last game, the boys are positive on the back of improvement so let’s wait and see what unfolds.’

By Mike de Bruyn