Trio of big derbies

Schoolboy Derby previews Saturday’s three major clashes between Paarl Gym and Paul Roos, Affies and Grey Bloem and Glenwood and Kearsney.

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We usually have one Schoolboy Derby feature match every weekend, but we are forced to have three on this occasion. The Western Cape, KZN and the schools from up north all have big games that headline this Saturday’s schoolboy action.

Down in Paarl, Gimmies will host Paul Roos in an epic Boland derby. The two schools have impressed on the national scene this year, with Gimmies winning seven of their eight fixtures and Paul Roos claiming seven wins and one draw from their 10 games.

Gimmies will be the more confident side as they come off two big wins over Tygerberg (75-3) and Bishops (57-3). Paul Roos suffered their two defeats to Grey PE (23-19) and Tygerberg (22-20) recently, but 1st XV head coach Thys Stoltz is confident his side can bounce back.

‘It was one of those disappointing days against Tygerberg, when everything just didn’t go our way,’ Stoltz told Schoolboy Derby. ‘We lost six of our first-choice players to injury, including our flyhalf and four forwards, and the boys just weren’t committed enough. We could’ve won that game, but we let ourselves down.

‘We now head into one of our toughest fixtures against Paarl Gym, who are one of the top schools in the country this year. We only have two players missing from our run-on XV [centre Daniel du Plessis and lock Jan Uys], so we have some of our top guys back.

‘It should be an exciting match. Gimmies have a well-balanced side, who are dangerous from up front and out wide. We like to play an entertaining brand of rugby, but tend to lose cohesion once players focus on individual efforts. If we can put together a strong team performance, we can return to winning ways.’

The clash will be broadcast on SS5 at 11:50.

In Pretoria, Grey Bloem make the trip across to Pretoria to take on Affies.

Despite suffering their first defeat in three years against Paarl Gym at the Kearsney Easter Festival, the boys from Bloemfontein boast an impressive 2012 record (won nine of their 10 games). They also have the better record against Affies over the years as the two schools have duelled on 34 occasions since 1953.

Grey Bloem have won 26 times and Affies have only achieved three victories. There have been five draws.

However, Grey Bloem 1st XV head coach Ingo Machts predicts a close encounter this year.

‘Affies have a massive pack and backs who can punish you,’ said Machts. ‘This will be a big challenge for us. We had a bit of a tough start, but the team has built a great deal of confidence since our loss to Paarl Gym. We tried a specific game plan at the start of the year, but we lost too much ball at the breakdown. After making specific tactical changes, we are winning the contests at the tackle points.’

The match will be broadcast on SS1 at 14:50.

In Durban, the big KZN derby will be played between Glenwood and Kearsney.

The Green Machine has had an ordinary season so far, with eight wins, four losses and one draw from their 13 fixtures. Glenwood 1st XV head coach Sean Erasmus believes his charges haven’t reached their full potential yet, but can start being more consistent with the Kearsney scalp.

‘They have some big ball carriers among their forwards and their centre Sandile Kubeka is a quality player. So we need to be defensively strong,’ said Erasmus. ‘On attack, we need to be clinical and take our chances. Expect a big battle between the forwards.’

This game will kick off at 14:20.

By Gareth Duncan