Monnas, Florida clash for top honours

Monument and Florida will meet in the Beeld Trophy final at Hoërskool Linden in the Schoolboy Derby match of the weekend.

While many will consider Monnas as the favourites considering their 57-18 thumping of Florida during the league phase of the competition. But you can never rule out the upset factor when it comes to play-off matches, like Florida proved with their 22-20 triumph over the former in the Nu Power semi-finals this season. The neutral venue will also level the playing fields when it comes to home ground advantage.

Monument will be gunning for a hat-trick of titles after winning the Beeld Trophy in 2009 and 2010. They boast a strong pack, which has been instrumental in their success this season. Five of those forwards featured for the Lions U18s at Craven Week, and their captain, No 8 Ruan Steenkamp, was named SA Schools skipper last Saturday. They also have Lions U18 and SA Schools flyhalf Jaco van der Walt, who boasts an accurate boot and impressive all-round game.

Monnas 1st XV head coach Wynand Moolman believes his forwards will set the platform for victory.

‘We are enjoying a good season this year as we came third in the Nu Power competition and beat Waterkloof in a FNB Classic Clash earlier this year,’ Moolman told keo.co.za. ‘We boast a strong forward group, with a loose forward combination that includes the SA Schools captain (Steenkamp) and the SA Academy captain (Willy Newman). They’ll set the platform for the backline.’

Florida will be competing for their first title as they haven’t won a Beeld Trophy before in the tournament’s 89-year history. With a backline winged by Lions Craven Week wings Charlton Africa and Tshepo Mooki, they might have enough to upset the defending champions.

First XV head coach Koos van Vuuren conceded they are underdogs, but believes his team will be up for the battle.

‘They’ll be favourites, but we’ll have the passion this weekend. We beat them in the Nu Power semis and we’ll take confidence from that win,’ Van Vuuren also told this site. ‘Our strengths lie in our backline. We have plenty of speed. They have a tough pack, but we’ll just have to man up in the scrums and make sure we’re competitive at the breakdowns.’

Monument – 15 Gideon Meiring, 14 Erich de Wet, 13 Barend Herbst, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Shaun Conradie, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Hanko Venter, 8 Ruan Steenkamp (c), 7 Rikus van Niekerk, 6 Willy Newman, 5 Phillip du Preez, 4 Jannie Stander, 3 Pieter Bothma, 2 Theuns Reynolds, 1 Mauritz van Rooyen.
Subs: 16 Francois van Heerden, 17 Hannes Kotze, 18 Stephan Vermeulen, 19 Andre Venter, 20 Ryan Carmichael, 21 Regie Viljoen, 22 Michelle Minnie.

Florida - 15 Bradley Paulse, 14 Charlton Afrika, 13 PJ Rheeders, 12 Dominic Kroezen, 11 Tshepo Mook, 10 Bouke Gouws, 9 Ruhann Kruger (c), 8 Mark Strydom, 7 Ettien Pretorius, 6 Dominic Wiering, 5 Jodé Mostert, 4 Kobus du Plessis, 3 Nico du Plessis, 2 Armand Dreyer, 1 Shayne Erasmus.
Subs: 16 Stian Nel, 17 Ehrard Maritz, 18 Waldo de Lange, 19 Johan de Jager, 20 JP van der Nest, 21 Steven Matsieng, 22 Brandon Barkley.

By Gareth Duncan