The Mighty Maroons Crown An Awesome Weekend

“Ain’t nothin’s gonna stop me now !”  Labori tighthead Stefan Roworth heads for the tryline
during his team’s 15-16 defeat against Klerksdorp's Schoonspruit at the Arthur
Johnson Week in Mossel Bay in March.  (photo: Jahnie Steenkamp)


A persistent sniffle, the petrol price increase and the amazing amount of top-flight rugby available online, both in Japan and Kimberley, meant that yours truly didn’t feel remotely guilty about taking the weekend off and devoting this week’s article to a review of the goings-on.

It really has been a week that has tested one’s ability to focus, literally as well as figuratively, as one’s eyes tend to drift away from the screen almost as much as much one’s attention does.

Paul Roos at SANIX

The Maroons really did the country proud in the land of the rising sun.

They started by winning all three pool matches with ease, seeing off Kyota Kogakuin (49-7), Toin Gakuen (34-13) and Russians Enisei-STM (54-5), the only noteworthy incidents occurring in the first three minutes of the second match.

The Young Maties snapped up a poorly-received kick-off to score within twenty seconds of the start, then broke through a minute later only to lose the ball, which their opponents promptly dribbled upfield to level matters at 7-7!

The quarter-final against England’s Exeter College saw the pride of Stellenbosch in ruthless form, winning 75-0.

The Maroons ran up a 34-0 half-time lead in the semi-final against Australia’s Waverley College before clearing the bench and coasting to a 41-21 win, a score which seriously flattered their opponents.

So, to the final.  St Peter’s College of New Zealand must have thought that they were in with a chance at 5-7 down ten minutes in, but a near-flawless display by Marinus Pretorius’s side saw them crush the life out of the Islanders.

From fiery hooker Meiring Ebersohn, through athletic lock Dylan de Leeuw, stunning no.8 Jarod Cairns all the way to Luke Burger on the wing, every player contributed to a runaway 52-5 win against a side that wilted visibly the longer the game went on, resorting to questionable tactics which cost them a red card in the closing minutes.

However, it would be unforgivable not to mention a masterful display by pivot Kade Wolhuter, who ran proceedings both with his jinking and his lethal boot.

That said, it speaks volumes for the Young Maties that replacement flyhalf Christiaan van Blommenstein was entrusted with the ball for the last penalty and conversion, even though Wolhuter was still on the field.

Congratulations on a true team effort, Paul Roos!  PS: Sorry, I got the broadcast time out by fifteen minutes.


This festival never disappoints, although one suspects that the organisers may be left with a bit of egg on their faces when sides invited on the strength of their 2018 showing didn’t quite live up to that promise a year later.

Stellenberg got the ball rolling against the host school Diamantveld on Wednesday evening, eventually sneaking home 22-21, thanks to a late try by reserve wing Likho Msengana.  They were fortunate to have scored the try because in the dying minutes the hosts were awarded a highly contentious touchdown which gave the margin some respectability.

Nivan Petersen managed to confuse a lot of people by forgetting his no.10 jersey in the hotel and playing the first half in no.21 which had the commentators calling him Ayrton Nel.

The first Western Cape team out on Thursday was Oakdale, who struggled against a much stronger Garsfontein team who made good use of the ball the Riversdale side generously turned over to run out 31-14 victors.

Transvalia’s excuse for getting destroyed 106-3 by HTS Drostdy at the North-South event in Uitenhage was that they had sent their second team.  Well, let it be said that their firsts aren’t much better, based on their hapless 73-7 defeat by a typically serene Paarl Gym side.

Boland Landbou were in more trouble against Monument than a person with an upset stomach who chooses to sleep over at a certain athlete’s townhouse in Tshwane.  They did manage to finish with their pride intact, thanks to two late tries, the margin of defeat flattering them somewhat at 33-42.

Outeniqua’s frailties were laid unequivocally bare by a frighteningly clinical Grey College, the Free Staters cantering home 64-7, in the process whetting everyone’s appetite for their Saturday showdown with Paarl Gym.

Going into Thursday’s clash, Glenwood had a reasonably good record against Paarl Boys’ High in recent years.  Not any more, they don’t.  The Brug Street Brigade tore the Natal giants into little shreds 55-7, the only negative being an injury scare to their flyhalf, points machine Kian Meadon, in the latter stages of the match.

Last up was HTS Drostdy, who performed very efficiently against a slightly stereotypical Affies team.  The Donkeys ended up losing 22-38, but chances are that the Pretoria team’s opponents at the weekend, Boishaai, might well have learned a great deal.

Come Saturday, Boland Landbou ploughed Transvalia (or their 2nds or their netball team) into the ground 59-15 in the sunrise special, scoring nine tries in the process, before HTS Drostdy ran into a formidable Monnas unit, losing honourably 20-28, the Donkeys’ main shortcoming is their lack of bulk.

Stellenberg almost learned the hard way just what happens if you give the nippy Welkom Gym side a sniff of the ball.  Apparently trotting to a comfortable win, the Jade Brigade had to ride out a few shocks before coming out on top 43-26.

Unfortunately, the Oakdale - Menlo Park game didn’t reach any great heights, the Tshwane side enjoying overall superiority to triumph 32-10.

Boishaai was in irrepressible form against Affies, crushing the Tshwane big guns 39-12 before their neighbours Paarl Gym played their full part in a classic match against the mighty Grey College, losing 33-47.

Outeniqua seemed to have recovered from their match against the Free Staters and registered a runaway 50-7 victory over Noord-Kaap.

What does all this tell one about the top echelon of South African schools rugby?  Well, the Grey College vs Paul Roos game at the Markotter on 17 August 2019 is going to be an absorbing clash.  Otherwise, Paarl Boys’ High and Paarl Gym look like being the crown princes in the saga.

Meanwhile back home…

Unfortunately, the games played within the Western Cape on Saturday didn’t reach quite the same heights.

The SACS - Bishops game was a marvellous exhibition of running rugby, the Platinum Blues edging the try stakes 5-3 on their way to a fairly comfortable 39-21 win.

At Hawthornden, the usual suspect, Rondebosch hooker Troy Fisher, was amongst his side’s try scorers as they defeated a game Wynberg side 28-17, the unerring boot of Bosch full-back Conor van Eden goaling all four five-pointers for a 28-17 victory.

Outside of the Premier A, two results stand out.

Firstly, Premier B debutants Parel Vallei had to fight all the way before subduing Boland visitors Hermanus, who outscored their hosts by four tries to three, 30-25, in a match which was graced by the whistle of that great friend of the local schoolboy game, Jonathan Kaplan.

Secondly, the yawning chasm between the top of the WP second tier and its bottom was glaringly illustrated at DF Malan, where the home team were on the wrong end of a thirteen-try hiding at the hands of Durbanville, who racked up 81 unanswered points.

And now for the news you’ve all been waiting for.  This season’s Team and Scorer Stats should be up by mid-morning on Monday 6 May 2019.

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