Grey College set for tough year

Grey College will enter new era this season.

The Bloemfontein-based institution have been regarded as the No 1 rugby school in country for the past five years. During this time, they have only lost one match (a 9-3 defeat to Paul Roos in 2009) and have enjoyed four unbeaten seasons. They also produced most of the junior stars who are emerging through the Super Rugby and national ranks, like Cheetahs flyhalf Johan Goosen, Cheetahs prop Coenie Oosthuizen, sevens stars William Small-Smith and Paul Jordaan (who also made his Super Rugby debut for the Sharks this season) and several Baby Boks, SA Schools and other junior representatives. These players were central to the school’s success.

However, this year, they have a new-look squad. Only three players remain from the 2011 season – team skipper Henco Greyling, scrumhalf Arrie Vosloo and flyhalf Pieter Jordaan. First team head coach Ingo Machts expects a tough challenge for his current charges, who kick off their year with a match against Duineveld in Kimberley this weekend.

‘Pre-season went very well for us, but we’re still in the process of finalising our run-on side and testing different combinations. We’ve only been together as a team for the past two weeks because of summer sport commitments and the term starting later than usual,’ Machts told keo.co.za. ‘But looking at the group we have this year, this is definitely a new era for us. Most of our 1st XV players in 2011 were in matric, so we only have three guys left over this season.

‘Our pack isn’t as big as we used to be, so it’s going to take a 15-man effort if we’re going to be successful this season. We want to start well against Duineveld, which will give me the opportunity to make the final team selections.’

This season will see some exciting clashes, with fixtures against Affies (12 May), Paarl Boys’ (26 May) and Paul Roos (18 August) considered some of the finest schoolboy games of 2012.

‘There’s also Waterkloof, Glenwood, Grey PE, Monument … they will all be tough. I think the big one will be against Boishaai, who we drew 15-15 against last year at home,’ adds Machts.

Grey College to face Duineveld – 15 Pieter Faber, 14 Ernest Haarhoff, 13 Johan Nel, 12 Stephan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Lezar Marnewick, 10 Pieter Jordaan, 9 Arrie Vosloo, 8 Reinhardt Arndt, 7 Marius Louw, 6 Henco Greyling (c), 5 Awie Thompson, 4 Billy Wagner, 3 De Ville Piek, 2 Corniel Els, 1 Andrew du Plessis.
Subs: 16 Markus Odendaal, 17 Ruan Kramer, 18 Edwardt Schmidt, 19 Raymond Weimann, 20 Pieter Michau, 21 Carel Durow, 22 Steven Rautenbach.

Grey College fixtures for 2012:
17 March: Duineveld
24 March: Hentie Cilliers
Kearsney Easter Festival (5-9 April)
5 April: Paarl Gym
7 April: Westville Boys’
9 April: Monument
14 April: Jim Fouché
21 April: Louis Botha
Wildeklawer SuperSchools (27-30 April)
28 April: Waterkloof
30 April: EG Jansen
5 May: Selborne
12 May: Affies
19 May: Sentraal
22 May: Fichardtpark
26 May: Paarl Boys’
21 July: Pretoria Boys’
28 July: Grey PE
10 August: Glenwood
18 August: Paul Roos

By Gareth Duncan