Bishops will host Rondebosch on Saturday for the 100th derby between the two schools, which makes this game the Schoolboy Derby feature match of the weekend.
This fixture is one of the classics in Western Cape and South African school rugby as the first encounter is recorded back to 1911. What will make this game even bigger is that Bishops are also celebrating their 150th year of rugby.
Heading into the game, Bishops boast the better record this season with eight victories and one draw from their 13 games and they are currently enjoying a four-match winning streak. Rondebosch have also impressed with six wins and three stalemates from 12 matches, but have endured a bad run of late after losing their last two games against Paarl Boys’ (48-11, after leading 11-10 at half-time) and Drostdy (14-7).
However, both teams will admit that records will count for nothing when it comes to a derby. While Bishops will be favourites with home ground advantage, Rondebosch has the ability to cause an upset. The latter already beat Paarl Gym away from home in one of the upsets of the season.
Bishops have thrived this season because of their expansive game. They spread the ball to create numerous opportunities and test most defences while they don’t commit too many players at the breakdown. The success of this plan has been because of flyhalf Tim Swiel, who will start for the WP Craven Week side in Kimberley next month, but the Bishops’ pivot has been ruled out with injury. It will be interesting to see how Bishops cope without their key man.
Rondebosch have depended on their pack to create their momentum, which has done well for most of this season. The heavies then set the platform for their backline, that includes the two quick and dangerous WP Academy team wings Khanyo Ngcukana and Selom Govar. Their loose forwards will also be instrumental in this clash, with Bishops not using many numbers at the tackle point.
The most crucial part of this game will be how the teams finish. Rondebosch are known as strongs starters, but tend to fade later in the match. If this happens this weekend, Bishops will run riot at the death as they are a fit team and finish their performances strongly.