The battle lines are drawn – Grey vs. Paul Roos

The Grey College scrumhalf, Ross Braude. PHOTO: MORGAN PIEK

The stage is set for the biggest battle of the year in schoolboy rugby with annual derby between the two powerhouses, Grey College, and Paul Roos Gymnasium from Stellenbosch.

The battlefield this year will be in Bloemfontein and it is sure to be the single biggest occasion in the city since the Springboks vs. England Test on 16 June.

This year the derby is billed to be the biggest in the history of the rivalry which dates back to 1967. Since then, Grey, who has the distinction of producing more Springboks than any other school, and last month became the first institution to produce 100 South African Schools’ players, leads the head-to-head battle by some stretch.

Grey has won the derby on 26 occasions, while the lads in maroon have chalked up just 8 victories. Having said that, this week the past records mean nothing, as there is something much larger at stake.

Both team enter this years’ clash unbeaten and the winner of Saturday’s epic battle will be the official top rugby school in South Africa in 2018.

Neither side will be at full-strength, owing to the fact that both Grey and Paul Roos have players busy representing the SA Schools team. For the Grey the players who are unavailable are Herman Agenbag, De Wet Marais and Wyclif Vlitoor, while Brendan Venter, Hanru Jacobs JJ Kotze and Juan Mostert are not available for the side from Stellenbosch.

The Grey has erected extra stands to accommodate the 15-18 000 spectators expected to come witness the epic clash.

The great in South African and world refereeing circles, Jonathan Kaplan, was originally said to the be the man to take the whistle for the big game, however, it is confirmed that the Bloemfontein referee, Ben Crouse, will now be the man in charge for Saturday. The name of Jaco van der Westhuizen was also linked with the job, but due to issues that did not work out.

Saturday’s First XV game kicks off at 13:55.

Grey College – 15 Richard Kriel, 14 Marcelle Muller, 13 Ian Small-Smith, 12 Franco Smith, 11 Lesley Botha, 10 Zander du Plessis, 9 Ross Braude, 8 Werner Gouws, 7 WJ Steenkamp, 6 Raynardo Gouveia, 5 Danwich Beukes, 4 George Cronje, 3 Roux Duvenhage, 2 Andre-Hugo Venter, 1 Jan-Henrik Wessels.

Paul Roos Gymnasium – 15 Remy Engelbrecht, 14 Aiden Salie, 13 Regan van der Westhuizen, 12 Ruben Labuschagne, 11 Tiaan Pretorius, 10 Kade Wolhuter, 9 Xander Botha, 8 Matthew Cody, 7 Herman Heins, 6 Jarod Cairns, 5 Daniel Swart, 4 Joahnn Bouwer, 3 Mink Scharink, 2 Jan Corrick van der Walt, 1 Robbie Rodgers. – MORGAN PIEK