Just about all the Western Province schools take a breather over this long weekend just ahead of the final three weeks of the campaign this weekend. Apparently two schools out in Paarl have other ideas but someone else is bound to chip in his ten cents worth about that elsewhere and Bishops will be out of sight, out of mind up in Grahamstown for their derby against St Andrews. So the local focus is on a busy midweek for the Boland schools.
However, nobody told the Eagles that they could take a break. This week their top sides are paying the price of the extended trials process in the second term.
On Wednesday Langenhoven Gym welcome an Outeniqua side who may have beaten Uitenhage’s HTS Daniël Pienaar 16-5 last Saturday, but at a cost: three red cards! At the time of writing, there was still uncertainty as to whether these would result in suspensions as the match in question had been 'only a friendly' (No, seriously!). On the face of it, the Quaggas should have too much firepower whatever the disciplinary ruling.
Oakdale head over the Robertson Pass to play the Struisies on Thursday in a match which will ultimately decide who has bragging rights in the South Western Districts this season. Both sides are nursing injuries, the game against Marlow having taken a particularly heavy toll on Oakdale, amongst whose casualties were outside centre Michael Bernardt, who suffered a fractured jaw in the game.
Then, on Friday afternoon, one of the revelations of 2011, Punt, host Caledon’s Overberg for a scheduled 16.30 kick-off.
Boland Landbou’s lovely Windmeul spread may lie only some twelve kilometres from the equally lush paddocks of Hugenote in Wellington, but, believe it or not, the former is in the Western Province, while the latter is one of the traditional powerhouses of Boland schools rugby.
Their eagerly-anticipated derby clash, traditionally scheduled for the first Thursday in August, is one of the highlights of the region’s sporting calendar. This year’s encounter on the Blackies’ turf promises to be an interesting one if for no other reason than both sides have been so very unpredictable this year.
Whipped at home by Drostdy a fortnight ago, the Farm Lads ground out a stunning win against Rondebosch on Saturday. Hugenote may have posted comfortable wins against Charlie Hofmeyr and Strand, neither of whom are particularly daunting this year, but one can never be quite sure what the Blackies will produce on the day.
Not that the coaches don't have more than enough to think about with a view to the immediate future, too. Lance Sendin will be tweaking the Blackies’ engine ahead of the 20 August Interschools away to Swartland; Faffa Coetzee has Boishaai on 13 August, followed by Interschools against the Oakdale Bulle up in Riversdale a week later.
So to the rest of this week’s schedule.
Wednesday’s Boland fixtures see powerful Langeberg make the short trip to play Ashton Secondary and Bredasdorp host Swellendam. The Klein Nederburg – HTS Drostdy match has been cancelled by mutual agreement.
Langeberg’s formidable backline, spearheaded by wing Gavin Adendorff and fullback Ryno Conradie, is likely to shred Ashton. The other contest looks like being much closer. Although tiny Swellendam might still have lost only one match in the last 22 months, the Fisherfolk have a large pack and will be bent on avenging last season’s 29-5 hiding.
There is one Western Province fixture of note on Thursday. De Kuilen are odds-on favourites to extend their recent run of successes against Strand out at Kuils River.
Apart from the Hugenote-Landbou showdown, several other Boland fixtures catch the eye.
Dirkie Uys go to Piketberg for a local derby in which they start in the unusual position of favourites. The Tigers’ backline, so slickly marshalled by halfbacks Flippie Jacobs and Du Toit Maree, boasts the massive punch of Jason Kriel at outside centre. The hosts are going to have their hands full!
Close by, Hopefield will be determined to extend their recent run of victories over coastal visitors Vredenburg for whom this has been a singularly unhappy campaign.
The region’s master-blasters Porterville visit Charlie Hofmeyr in Ceres. The Charlies have been reduced to limping pace in recent weeks, but will not be lacking in motivation to put one over the Bulle.
Calvinia welcome an Augsburg Gym team which will have been immensely heartened by Saturday’s shock triumph away to Schoonspruit, and that with a much-weakened selection, while Worcester’s Montana take the high road to Villiersdorp to face De Villiers Graaff.
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