GARETH DUNCAN analyses this weekend’s top schoolboy action around the country.
PAARL BOYS’ vs PAUL ROOS, PAARL, SATURDAY
Considering the WP Craven Week team was announced recently, you couldn’t have slotted in this fixture at any better time – making it an easy decision for my Schoolboy Derby feature match of the weekend. Despite an unimpressive season, Paul Roos is the school that has contributed the most boys to the team (seven) while the top-ranked Cape side Boishaai have five players selected.
A team should be picked on form, so this weekend’s tie should prove why the WP selectors got their picks wrong this season. Wet and cold weather is expected Paarl, which increases the odds of an upset, but Paarl Boys’ boast a formidable back row and a handy halfback combination who should steer them to victory.
Boishaai have been the most successful Cape school this season, and their record should continue with a win over the Stellenbosch visitors.
Prediction: Boishaai win
There’s some top quality Cape derbies this weekend, with Bishops travelling to Wynberg and Paarl Gym hosting Boland Landbou. Bishops have been one of the in-form sides, having claimed a hat-trick of victories in the last three weeks. They will be confident of making it four in a row this weekend.
Gimmies haven’t had their most impressive campaign in 2011, but they will look for some success in achieving back-to-back wins with a triumph over Boland Landbou. Gimmies have suffered a recent upset at home against Rondebosch, but Boland Landbou haven’t been happy travellers this season.
Predictions: Bishops to extend their winning run, a Paarl Gym win at home.
After thumping KZN’s top school this season Maritzburg College 55-7 last weekend, Affies will take on another province’s best side – this time the Northern Cape’s Noord-Kaap. This will be a tougher challenge for the No 1-ranked school as Noord-Kaap are undefeated after 12 games this year and have delivered their best performances at home. But if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best – and Affies should do that in Kimberley this weekend.
Other top action in the region sees, Monument tackle Marais Viljoen while KES face Pretoria Boys’.
Predictions: Affies to show why they’re the top school in the country, wins for Monnas and KES.
There are some top Eastern Cape clashes set for this weekend, with the Dale/Grey PE game the biggest one. Dale, who are celebrating their 150th anniversary, should provide a difficult environment for Grey at home. However, Grey have picked up some good wins in recent weeks and will still be favourites.
Queen’s also host St Andrew’s, who are enduring a poor year while Selborne have an easy trip to Port Rex.
Predictions: Wins for Grep PE and Queen’s, Selborne to deliver a convincing display against another weak Eastern Cape school.
The major games see Maritzburg College host Michaelhouse and Kearsney take on Northwood.
Maritzburg College come off a hefty loss to Affies in Pretoria, and will now take on a refreshed Michaelhouse side that enjoyed a bye last weekend. College will need to win in order to keep up their status as the best school in the region, while Michaelhouse will show the KZN Craven Week team selectors what talent they have left out. My gut feeling believes home ground advantage will be the difference in this derby.
Northwood have been known as giant killers, especially after their 9-8 win over big rivals Glenwood. However, Kearsney have only lost three games all year and should be able to add to their 11 wins.
Predictions: Maritzburg College to gain some pride, Kearsney to spoil Northwood’s upset record.