Premier Interschools Preview: Paul Roos vs Boishaai

(Photo Credit: Jorina Raath/

On Saturday, 25 May, Paul Roos from Stellenbosch will travel to Boland neighbours Paarl to take on Paarl Boys’ High for this 5th edition of the 2019 Premier Interschool derbies. These two pillars of schoolboy rugby in the Western Cape have been neighbours, friends and rivals for 150 years. They met intermittently on the rugby fields during the early years as in those days Paul Roos played mostly in the “Cape” leagues against the likes of SACS and the equivalent whereas the boys from Paarl mostly in the “Country” leagues against the neighbouring town schools.

Paarl Boys’ vs Paul Roos is one of the great derbies between two schools that have dominated Western Province school’s rugby for many years. Together with Paarl Gym, they have produced more than 75% of all Western Province Craven Week players since 1964!

Paul Roos has the bragging rights from last year as they comprehensively outplayed Boishaai in Stellenbosch. The boys from Paarl would like to set the record straight on their home turf. Traditionally the derbies go the way of the home team by the smallest of margins. Exceptions to the rule are in the ’70s when Paarl Boys’ High won 10 in a row and in the late ’80s and early 90’s when Paul Roos won 4 on the trot. Since then the matches have been very close and evenly spread until Paarl Boys had a golden three years going unbeaten from 2015 to 2017 in local schoolboy rugby.

Paul Roos had an unusual start to their season only having played 2 local South African schools up to the month of May. They started their campaign at the World Schools Festival which they hosted and blasted their New Zealand opposition off the park. They then travelled to Japan to partake in the Sanix World Youth Rugby tournament and came back as the champions after comprehensively defeating St Peters from New Zealand in the final.  Once back in South Africa they were brought back to earth by a rampant Paarl Gim who took advantage of Paul Roos’s second-half mistakes to give the maroon boys their first taste of defeat for 2019.

Paarl Boys’ also had an international taste for the start of their season when they played against a university side from Argentina. They struggled at the North vs South tournament and looked undercooked but somehow still managed to get away with a draw and a win against very good opposition. They built steadily over the next few games and started to look like a well-oiled machine by the time they met Grey College in Bloemfontein. After leading 17-12 at halftime, they somehow managed to lose their momentum and Grey College punished them in the second half to run away as easy winners. They had a good rest over the past weekend and should be ready for a Paul Roos team that will look to avenge their defeat against the other Paarl school.

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