Gradually gaining fluency

Paul Roos concluded their pre-season preparations with a 10-all draw against Bishops at the WP Rugby Schools Day.

On Wednesday, Newlands again showcased arguably the finest schoolboy sides in the Cape. Notably absent were Boland Landbou, who are touring New Zealand with three teams, but their attendance may have upset the curious (coincidental?) Afrikaans against English fixtures list.

Bishops, who are celebrating 150 years of rugby, were looking to repeat their 33-24 win against Paul Roos (in the 2010 season’s full-length match), but were forced to settle for a draw after a second-half resurgence from the Stellenbosch side.

‘We traditionally struggle against Bishops and the first half was no different,’ Paul Roos 1st XV coach Stefan Jordaan told ‘They dominated, particularly at the set piece, where lineouts and scrums were difficult for us. We’ve got a young side but they held on well to go into the half 10-5 down.

‘We fought back well, and drew level. It sums up our pre-season, really: gradually gaining fluency. We made a lot of mistakes, but I’m satisfied with the way we finished.’

However, with each match limited to 40 minutes and no kicks at goal allowed, how accurately do the results reflect the strength of the sides? Jordaan believes the playing conditions only add to the intensity.

‘Yes, 40 minute games have a different dynamic, but it’s a great opportunity for younger players to experience rugby at this skill level especially with the heightened pace,’ he said. ‘This was our final pre-season hit-out before the inter-schools matches with Grey College [Bloem] and Grey High [PE], so it was a valuable outing.’

Meanwhile, DF Malan, Paarl Boys’ and Paarl Gimnasium claimed wins over Primrose RFC, Wynberg Boys’ and SACS respectively.

Tygerberg, who have established themselves as giant-killers after toppling Paarl Gimnasium once and Bishops twice in the past two seasons, were expected to do well against an experimental Rondebosch line-up but were held to a scoreless draw.

DF Malan 10 Primrose RFC 0
Paarl Boys’ 20 Wynberg Boys’ 5
Paarl Gimnasium 10 SACS 0
Rondebosch 0 Tygerberg 0
Bishops 10 Paul Roos 10

By Rory Keohane