Paarl Boys’ will tackle Paul Roos at home this Saturday in Schoolboy Derby’s feature match of the weekend.
It was a strange scenario when Paul Roos had seven players selected in the WP Craven Week team this season (which includes six initial starters and one backline reserve), considering the unimpressive season they have experienced this year. Out of their 13 matches, they have lost four and drawn two and they find themselves in the bottom half of the FNB Top 20 rankings – a big fall from the No 3 position they achieved in 2010. Conversley, this season’s top-ranked Cape side Paarl Boys’ have only five boys selected in the match 22.
If the provincial U18 team was based on form, it would’ve been a different story. Apart from their defeat to Affies earlier this year, Boishaai have rallied to 12 victories from their 14 fixtures so far and achieved a respectable 15-15 draw against Grey College in Bloemfontein – a feat unheard of in recent seasons. This is the most successful record from a Cape school so far this year.
This will make Boishaai big favourites in the major clash in Paarl this weekend as Paul Roos have blown hot and cold. In recent results over the last fortnight, the Stellenbosch-based school suffered a big upset on the road against Oakdale in Riversdale but returned to winning ways against SACS. A victory over Boishaai might not elevate them back to the top of the rankings, but it will earn them much-needed respect after a string of inconsistent performances.
Paul Roos will depend mostly on their Craven Week boys, with the likes No 8 Andrea Dercksen and wing JP Lewis the most experienced players in their team. The weather forecast suggests some wet and cold weather, so they will look to gain momentum through their loose forwards. In such conditions, an upset is always on the cards.
Paarl Boys’ boast a formidable pack and the best lock combination in the Western Cape – you can trust they will play a strong forwards-orientated game plan. If the heavies set the platform for their backline, you can expect flyhalf Andreas Nel and scrumhalf Jean Nel to spearhead their team well, like they have regularly this year.