The stage is set for an epic battle

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The Grey College flyhalf, FC du Plessis, was named as the Man of the Match against Paarl Gymnasium at the Wildeklawer festival. He will be a very important member of the side this week, and his counterpart from Paarl Boys' High, Kian Meadon, will be more than a handful as he has been known to strike from anywhere with his big boot. PHOTO: MORGAN PIEK

The powerhouse, Grey College, reaffirmed themselves as the top rugby school in the country over the weekend, following impressive results at the 2019 Wildeklawer Festival, which was once again staged in Kimberley.

Grey opened their campaign in the Diamond City with a 64 –7 drubbing of Outeniqua from George. In what appeared to be an effortless display of clinical rugby, the game was cut short early as the scoreline started spiralling out of control.

The biggest test was always going to be on Saturday against a confident and determined Paarl Gymnasium, who, in their turn, had thumped Transvalia from Vanderbijlpark 73 – 7 in a game which was also ended with some time left on the clock.

The match between Grey and Paarl Gym on Saturday, in front of a capacity crowd, was billed to be the match of the tournament, and it did not fail to deliver.

It was somewhat of a seesaw affair which Grey never really lost any control of, however, two yellow cards against them gave the boys from the Cape a sniff, and they were nearly able to convert that opportunity into a victory. Ultimately Grey remained composed to claim an outstanding 47-33 win.

This week will no doubt be Grey’s biggest test of the season to date when they host Paarl Boys’ High School in Bloemfontein. Boishaai were just as impressive at the Wildeklawer and secured a 55-7 win over Glenwood from Durban and a 39-12 victory over Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool (Affies) from Pretoria.

Apart from facing Paarl Gym at the Faure Street Stadium each year in the annual derby (biggest derby in South Africa), their biggest game on the calendar each season is the match against Grey.

Furthermore, it’s exactly one year and six days to the day (5 May 2018) that Grey beat Boishaai 34-20 at Brugstraat to dethrone them as the number one rugby school in the country. This will no doubt add spice to the fixture on Saturday in the City of Roses.

While the annual derby between Grey and Paul Roos Gymnasium is the one game that is billed as the biggest of the year, Saturday’s match will not be far off.

The Boishaai coach, Peter Engledow, told Bloemfontein Courant, that this week’s match is the kind that players and coaches want to be a part of.

“It is a massive weekend ahead, especially because we are playing away from home and we are definitely the underdogs going into this game.

“After this week Grey showed just how good they are. Coming from the Griquas I am used to being the underdog. We just need to get our preparation right and focus on ourselves, but at the same time also just enjoy it.

“It’s a great weekend for the whole school to travel up to Bloemfontein, and it is a game like this that you want to be involved in.

“I think that the boys are excited, but I am also very excited about the challenge ahead. More importantly, we must give our best and try our best, but we know what we will be up against a very tough opponent who are, I guess, unofficially the number one in the country at the moment.”

Darren Colby will be the man with the whistle for the clash.

Saturday’s big game at Grey College kicks off at 13:10, however, the day’s rugby action gets underway at 8:00 with the under 14s.

Teams:

Grey College – 15 Nabo Soyoki, 14 JD Odendaal, 13 Ian Small-Smith, 12 Lesley Botha, 11 Franco Knoetze, 10 FC du Plessis, 9 Juan Dee Olivier,  8 George Cronje (captain), 7 Deon le Roux, 6 Ricardo Fourie, 5 Danwich Beukes, 4 Tiaan Jonker, 3 Petrus Naudé, 2 Andre-Hugo Venter, 1 Jan-Hendrik Wessels.
Replacements – 16 Amandio Cavaleiro, 17 Diaan Hattingh, 18 Tielman Nieuwoudt, 19 Sisonke Vumazonke, 20 Duan Ludik, 21 Tiaan Fourie, 22 Riaan Brits, 23 Marcell Muller.

Paarl Boys – 15 Jacques Rousseau, 14 Angelo Osch, 13 Quan Horn, 12 Tyler Bocks, 11 Javier Farmer, 10 Kian Meadon, 9 Wian van der Sandt, 8 Gideon van Wyk, 7 Eon van den Berg, 6 Stass Nel, 5 Niel Venter, 4 Evan Roode, 3 Sebastian Lombard, 2 Allister Williams, 1 Rhynardt Rijnsburger (captain).
Replacements – 16 Delmar Degenaar, 17 Abraham Reyneke, 18 DM Holls, 19 Jade Hendricks, 20 Cameron Hanekom, 21 Keean Barnard, 22 Rickus Jonk, 23 Riis du Plessis. – MORGAN PIEK