A Weekend In The Western Cape To Set The Pulses Racing

Jet-propelled!  Robertson loosehead Antonie van Ass, with lock Taylor May in support,
breaks through the Montana defence during his side’s emphatic 53-0 away win on Saturday 12 May 2019.  (photo courtesy of HS Robertson)

The decision not to participate in the rather meaningless - unless you’re a physiotherapist - union weekend, to be held in Riversdale from Friday - means that the Western Province schoolboy rugby fraternity finds itself spoiled for choice more than on any other Saturday this season as the second term draws to a close.

How’s this for a wide choice?  Bishops vs Paarl Boys’ High, Boland Landbou at home to Paarl Gym, Wynberg visiting SACS and Stellenberg pitting their skills against in-form Rondebosch.

The Piley Rees would seem to be the place to be with the Platinum Blues, who have shown outstanding recent form, welcoming a Boishaai side heartened by its 29-16 success against Paul Roos last Saturday.

The home team has put the 31-10 home defeat to Paarl Gym at the start of the local programme behind them, with many attributing that fairly tame performance to the inferior quality of the opposition Wes Chetty’s charges had faced in Ireland prior to that outing.

It is bound to be a fascinating clash of two very different styles.  The Brug Street boys are geared to achieve results with the methods employed not up for discussion, whereas the hosts steadfastly maintain their commitment to Brand Bishops, the expansive, running style they have purveyed for some 170 years.

The visitors’ pack will be very influential in the outcome, one feels, with no. 8 Gideon van Wyk proving a thorn in opponents’ sides week in, week out.

It’s not that they don’t breed them tough in the southern suburbs, it’s just that historically the Winelands outfit has been particularly formidable up front.

The backline duel should be much more evenly contested.  Anyone who has pored over the video clips of the Bishops - Boland Landbou game will be well aware that the Platinum Blues thrive on whatever possession comes their way.

The key Bishops fast men would appear to be Luca Liebenberg, Ollie Jones, Mikey Ford and Sam Marthinussen, while the street smarts of scrum-half Liam Kloosman and the dependability of Matt Lennett at full-back round out a potentially lethal unit.

Not that the Paarl side lacks individual talent.  Centres Tyler Bocks and Quan Horn, wings Angelo Osch and Javier Farmer and polished full-back Jacques Rousseau constitute a threat in their own right.  It’s just that the cohesion the hosts have been exhibiting of late is tantamount to an extra man.

Should be a wonderful exhibition, whoever wins!

There was a time not long ago when people regarded Paarl Gym as Boland Landbou’s bogey side, such was the Farmers’ inability to beat their neighbours from down the road.  All this changed when Gym left the Farm defeated (15-24) in 2017 and the Boyz in Black almost did the unthinkable in 2018, restricting the northern Paarl side to a narrow 42-38 home victory.

The last few weeks have not been kind to Oloff Bergh’s squad, but they seem to have found their mojo at just the right time when they outscored Stellenberg 51-38 in a twelve-try thriller away from the Farm last Saturday.

It seems that a positional jig, which saw Keanan Wentzel, usually a wing, move to flyhalf with established pivot CJ Snyman shifting to inside centre, might just have done the trick.  Snyman, who has not been in great kicking form for some time, revelled in his new position, landing six conversions, two penalties and a drop goal just for good measure!

It was also encouraging to see the forwards outscoring the backs five-one in tries, thanks to the contributions of Hen-ko Smuts (2), Tehan du Plessis, Jaunu Olivier and Jacques Mostert.

Gym had a relatively quiet day, beating SACS 41-19 up in Newlands, with memories of 2017’s shock 19-22 defeat to the Young Ikeys no doubt fresh in their minds.  The margin seems fairly convincing, but many believe the Gimmies were looking to reserve their strength for this week’s clash.

Flank Pierich Siebert continues to be the spanner in various opponents’ works, but the real danger lies out wide where Stravino Jacobs (fifteen) and Curwin Gertse (nine tries respectively) taunt defences mercilessly.

One cannot but see an enthralling contest taking place.

It’s a real pity that most people regard SACS and Wynberg’s only current claim to fame being their elder statesmanship among South African schools, preferring to flip quickly past reference to their rugby fortunes.

Both sides are short of real punch both up front and at the back, but it’s definitely not for a lack of trying.

Duran Koevort’s eight touchdowns for SACS comfortably represent the highest return on either side, ahead of team-mate and flank Nic Boden and ’Berg’s full-back Lezaine Davis and hooker Kamva Mgwali, all of whom have crossed the whitewash five times.

Then again, by way of balancing the scales, Wynberg centre Devon Pretorius has amassed in invaluable 99 points in 2019, which is 27 more than all his opponent’s tee-men combined.

However, all bets are off when it comes to this most eagerly anticipated showpiece.

They may be the weakest sides in the WP Premier A league, but you know how the saying goes: it’s better to serve in heaven than reign in hell!  You can be part of the action, just tune in to DSTV channel 210 at 12:10.

Rondebosch is living out a dream, unbeaten since their 31-7 home defeat at the hands of Paul Roos on 6 April.  On the other hand, their hosts this weekend, Stellenberg, have impressed on a variety of stages, inter alia North-South event in Tshwane and the Wildeklawer Spectacular in the Diamond City, only to find themselves outgunned 51-38 at home by Boland Landbou last weekend.

The Jade Brigade has a very nicely balanced team: good hard-working forwards, capable of scoring tries when the opportunities present themselves, and a backline expertly marshalled by Nivan Petersen and his trusty sidekick Conwill Conradie.

Bosch’s strength is also fairly evenly distributed, the front row providing a great deal of the front-foot fire via Troy Fisher, Lukhanyo Vokozela and Bryan le Roux, while line-out possession comes through no. 8 Josh King and locks Matt Gray (if fit)/Campbell Slater and Will McDonald.

Kian Davis has developed an almost telepathic partnership with scrumhalf Ishma-eel Safodien to the extent that even the absence through injury of centres Jordan Collier and, recently, Dalvon Blood has gone largely unnoticed, thanks mainly to the effervescent skills of full-back Conor van Eden.

This, too, is set to provide a titanic struggle, the fourth on a very busy Saturday!

Exams take a heavy toll on the rest of the teams, with only Durbanville’s home match against Parel Vallei providing any sort of background music.

As regards the WP Under 18 teams for the Craven and Academy Weeks in Bloemfontein in July:  The sides are only being officially announced next Tuesday, 4 June.  Schoolboy Rugby Blog has, however, contacted all the coaches in an effort to provide an insight into the teams.  For a good potshot, look at his site.  I prefer to watch the ICC World Cup 2019 for the next four days.

Article by: http://www.stoopstats.co.za/

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