The No 1 ranking will be at stake when Paarl Boys’ host Grey College in a Premier Interschools clash on Saturday. TYRONE ENGEL reports.
Both sides are unbeaten after 10 games this season, with Boishaai on a 30-game winning streak stretching back to last year.
Grey College have reasserted their dominance this year. They went unbeaten at the Union High festival, with big wins against the Eastern Cape’s Framesby (57-6) and Stirling (99-7), and at the Wildeklawer Super Schools Festival, beating Garsfontein 31-13 and then coming back from 13-0 down against Oakdale to win 48-23. They went on to beat Affies 53-29 away from home, and Selborne (48-17) at home last weekend.
Grey College will boosted by the return of flyhalf Christopher Schreuder, who was injured against Affies.
‘Boishaai, like Affies, have a very strong side this year,’ Grey College 1st XV coach Wessel du Plessis told SARugbymag.co.za. ‘But unlike Affies, whose game is built around big, strong forwards and good set phases, Boishaai play more of a running game, so the challenge is to try and close down the space for them in which to run.
‘We haven’t changed too much in terms of preparations for Saturday, ‘ Du Plessis added. ‘We are still focused on playing Grey rugby. We haven’t thought much about ending Boishaai’s winning streak, our focus is on playing quality Grey rugby against a big school and hopefully coming away with the win.’
Paarl Boys’ got their season off to a strong start with a 48-6 win against Brandwag at the Porterville Rugby Day in March before going unbeaten at the St John’s Easter Festival with wins over a Lions Invitational XV (54-0), Helpmekaar (24-17) and Nelspruit (17-11).
They faced a tough challenge at Outeniqua two weeks later, but escaped with a last-minute 29-27 victory to keep their winning streak alive. They next beat Bishops 58-12 at home and Wynberg Boys’ 48-7 away, before beating Waterkloof (51-1) and Affies (29-25) at the Wildeklawer Super Schools Festival. They extended their winning streak to 30 games last Saturday with a 41-3 win at home against Stellenberg, with No 8 Khanya Ncusane scoring four tries.
Boishaai welcome flank Francke Horn back into the starting lineup this week. Horn, who has returned from injury, will start at blindside flank with Charl Serdyn shifting to openside. Vian Fourie, who started at openside against Stellenberg, shifts to the bench.
‘I’m very happy with how the season has gone so far,’ Paarl Boys’ 1st XV coach Sean Erasmus said to SARugbymag.co.za. ‘As I said at the beginning of the year, our focus been attention to detail and improving on what we do well and that’s what we’ve done really well so far. We also showed we have the character to fight back when it counts the most, against a very good Outeniqua side.
‘We aren’t too concerned about the winning streak, that hasn’t been the focus for us this year,’ Erasmus added. ‘There’s enough pressure trying get through every week without injuries and having prepared well. The legacy left by last year’s 1st XV to perform well and put together a good season is more important and we’d like to honour that legacy.
‘We are approaching this weekend’s game like we have every other game this season. We can’t afford to make mistakes against a big team like Grey, but we also have to apply the pressure and be able to capitalise on any of their mistakes as a result of that pressure.’
In other games to look forward to in the Western Cape, Rondebosch Boys’ travel to Bellville in search of their ninth win of the season, while SACS host Tygerberg and Bishops welcome Durbanville.
Western Cape schools fixtures (21 May):
Paarl Boys’ vs Grey College
Bellville South vs Kasselsvlei
Bishops vs Durbanville
SACS vs Tygerberg High
Bellville High vs Rondebosch Boys’
Bernadine Heights vs HTS Bellville
Brackenfell High vs DF Malan
Monument Park vs Eben Dönges
Parel Vallei vs Primrose
Strand vs Strand Secondary
Langenhoven Gym vs Oakdale
Outeniqua vs Swellendam
Photo: Deborah Redelinghuys