Affies will host Grey College in a Classic Clash on Saturday, writes TYRONE ENGEL.
Affies have been victorious in two of the last three fixtures between the sides. They won 37-31 in 2013 and 29-18 last year, but went down 42-31 in 2014 when they last hosted the fixture.
The Pretoria side went into last weekend’s Wilderklawer Super Schools Festival having won all six of their games this season, including three at the St John’s Easter Festival against Parktown Boys’ (49-7), Nelspruit (38-0) and Paul Roos (24-17).
They beat Outeniqua 34-7 in their first match at the Wildeklawer Festival, before suffering their first defeat of the season against Paarl Boys’ on Monday. The 29-25 loss saw Affies relinquish their place at the top of schoolofrugby.co.za’s rankings to Boishaai, who have now won 29 consecutive games.
‘We’ve achieved some very good results this season,’ Affies coach Jaco Koch told SARugbymag.co.za. ‘The game against Paarl Boys’ didn’t go according to plan, but we are very happy with where we are at the moment. One of our goals is to know before every match that we’ve done everything we can to be fully prepared, and I can honestly say that we’ve achieved that this season … there’s nothing we would have done differently.
‘However, the loss to Paarl Boys’ has definitely influenced our plans for Saturday’s match,’ Koch added. ‘There were errors made under pressure at crucial moments.’
Grey College are one of only three unbeaten teams (along with Paarl Boys’ and Glenwood among the top-ranked sides in the country) with eight consecutive wins, including big wins against Framesby (57-6) and Stirling (99-7) at the Union High Festival in March. They followed this up with a 60-13 thrashing of Maritzburg College at home.
Grey continued their strong run of form at the Wildeklawer Festival last weekend, beating Garsfontein 31-13 in their opening match and coming back from 13-0 down against Oakdale to win 48-23 on Monday.
‘The hard work we put in during our pre-season training has come through in our match performances, which has been rewarding for us,’ said Grey College coach Wessel du Plessis. ‘Two of our strongest performances this year have been against Maritzburg College and Garsfontein at the Wildeklawer Festival. We are playing well as a team, and we are able to convert quality ball possession into points.
‘Our preparation for Saturday’s game against Affies has been affected by the shorter week [because of the Wildeklawer Festival], but we aren’t too concerned because we know Affies are in the same boat,’ Du Plessis added. ‘But it helps to have players in the squad who have played in the 1st XV against Affies before as the juniors in the squad are able to feed off their experience.
‘The game against Affies is always a special one for the boys, and it’s one fixture that really displays the character of the players.’
The game will be televised on Supersport Select SA (channel 210) at 14:55 on Saturday.
In another big Gauteng-based fixture, KES will host Maritzburg College in the third Premier Interschools clash of the season. KES and Maritzburg have both won two of the last five fixtures between the sides, with a 25-25 draw in 2014.
KES go into Saturday’s match with a win record of 50% after eight games this season, including wins against Kingwood (26-5) and Northwood (39-24) at their Easter festival and against Tygerberg (19-7) at the Wynberg Rugby Festival last weekend. Maritzburg have won three of their eight games this season against Pretoria Boys’ (32-11), Michaelhouse (30-20) and Wynberg Boys’ (29-28).
Gauteng schools fixtures (7 May):
Jeppe vs Westville
Affies vs Grey College
Alberton vs Linden
St John’s vs Pretoria Boys’
Krugersdorp vs Rand Park
Parktown Boys’ vs St Stithians
KES vs Maritzburg College
Free State schools fixtures (7 May)
Jim Fouché vs Marlow
Afrikaans Hoërskool Kroonstad vs Welkom Gym
Fichardtpark vs Sentraal
Hentie Cilliers vs Bethlehem Voortrekker