GARETH DUNCAN analyses the major schoolboy action across South Africa this weekend.
GREY COLLEGE vs PAARL BOYS’, BLOEMFONTEIN, SATURDAY
This is the main feature of the weekend. We have the most successful school on the South African circuit against best of the Cape sides this year. It’s also your typical North vs South derby, a battle all rugby fans savour.
This Grey side wasn’t expected to be as successful as their previous teams, but they have proved their quality with an unbeaten run after 10 games. Paarl Boys’ will look at Selborne’s 16-16 draw with the latter as moitivation, but all signs of Grey’s vulnerability this season has been away from home. On their own turf, Grey will beat most sides. If not, all schools.
Last year the Cape’s finest sides ran well, but the North has dominated the national schools scene this season while the South have floundered. I don’t see that changing in this match.
Prediction: Grey to beat Boishaai, quite convincingly.
GAUTENG/FREE STATE/NORTHERN CAPE
Waterkloof face one of their toughest challenges as they travel to Monument, who are celebrating their 90th year anniversary. It will be an emotional clash in Krugersdorp on Saturday afternoon, with SuperSport covering the match live at 2pm. Monnas edged last year’s fixture 26-25 in the Beeld final, but they will come across a stronger Klofies outfit, who have only suffered one loss out of their 11 games. Monument have suffered three defeats from 15.
In other major action , No 1-ranked and unbeaten Affies face Jeppe, St John’s, KES and St Stithian’s host KZN trio Michaelhouse, Hilton and Kearsney and Daniel Pienaar travel to unbeaten Noord-Kaap.
Predictions: Klofies to edge one this time, Affies to continue their reign, KES the only team to beat the KZN visitors while Noord-Kaap will continue to surprise the big boys.
The two main games will see Paarl Gym host Rondebosch while Bishops tackle SACS. Paarl have failed to replicate the heights they reached last season as they have only won four of their eight matches. They should be too strong for Rondebosch, even though the latter have achieved some surprise wins.
Bishops will be too much for SACS, who have endured a poor run so far. Paul Roos also travel to Oakdale and should come back with a win while Wynberg won’t be so lucky against Boland Landbou.
Predictions: Paarl Gym to make it five out of nine, Bishops to down SACS and Paul Roos to continue their winning ways after a losing start to the season.
There will be plenty of schoolboy action at the weekend. The big guns will duel as St Andrew’s host Grey PE, Dale face off against Queen’s while Nico Malan battle Framesby. While St Andrew’s were the top EP school last season, they haven’t done as well this year and they will be up against a wounded Grey team on Saturday.
Dale and Queen’s have impressed this year, but the former should continue their good run of form while Framesby will be favourites against Nico Malan. 2011 top-ranked Eastern Cape school Selborne will travel to Graeme for their next match.
Predictions: Wins for Grey, Dale, Framesby and Selborne.
With Michaelhouse, Hilton and Kearsney on the road, there’s not too a lot to talk about on the east coast. The two big games see Glenwood continue their 50-year rivalry with Northwood while Maritzburg play hosts to Westville.
Glenwood should continue their supremacy in their annual derby. Maritzburg feature higher than Westville on the Top 20 rankings, despite a better record with seven wins form nine compared to the former’s five victories from eight. It will be tough for Westville away from home, but they should finish on top.
Predictions: Glenwood to win, Westville to set the record straight.