Wildeklawer 2019 rugby round-up
This festival never disappoints, although one suspects that the organisers may be left with a bit of egg on their faces when sides invited on the strength of their 2018 showing didn’t quite live up to that promise a year later.
Stellenberg got the ball rolling against the host school Diamantveld on Wednesday evening, eventually sneaking home 22-21, thanks to a late try by reserve wing Likho Msengana. They were fortunate to have scored the try because in the dying minutes the hosts were awarded a highly contentious touchdown which gave the margin some respectability.
Nivan Petersen managed to confuse a lot of people by forgetting his no.10 jersey in the hotel and playing the first half in no.21 which had the commentators calling him Ayrton Nel.
The first Western Cape team out on Thursday was Oakdale, who struggled against a much stronger Garsfontein team who made good use of the ball the Riversdale side generously turned over to run out 31-14 victors.
Transvalia’s excuse for getting destroyed 106-3 by HTS Drostdy at the North-South event in Uitenhage was that they had sent their second team. Well, let it be said that their firsts aren’t much better, based on their hapless 73-7 defeat by a typically serene Paarl Gym side.
Boland Landbou were in more trouble against Monument than a person with an upset stomach who chooses to sleep over at a certain athlete’s townhouse in Tshwane. They did manage to finish with their pride intact, thanks to two late tries, the margin of defeat flattering them somewhat at 33-42.
Outeniqua’s frailties were laid unequivocally bare by a frighteningly clinical Grey College, the Free Staters cantering home 64-7, in the process whetting everyone’s appetite for their Saturday showdown with Paarl Gym.
Going into Thursday’s clash, Glenwood had a reasonably good record against Paarl Boys’ High in recent years. Not any more, they don’t. The Brug Street Brigade tore the Natal giants into little shreds 55-7, the only negative being an injury scare to their flyhalf, points machine Kian Meadon, in the latter stages of the match.
Last up were HTS Drostdy, who performed very efficiently against a slightly stereotypical Affies team. The Donkeys ended up losing 22-38, but chances are that the Pretoria team’s opponents at the weekend, Boishaai, might well have learned a great deal.
Come Saturday, Boland Landbou ploughed Transvalia (or their 2nds or their netball team) into the ground 59-15 in the sunrise special, scoring nine tries in the process, before HTS Drostdy ran into a formidable Monnas unit, losing honourably 20-28, the Donkeys’ main shortcoming being their lack of bulk.
Stellenberg almost learned the hard way just what happens if you give the nippy Welkom Gym side a sniff of the ball. Apparently trotting to a comfortable win, the Jade Brigade had to ride out a few shocks before coming out on top 43-26.
Unfortunately the Oakdale – Menlo Park game didn’t reach any great heights, the Tshwane side enjoying overall superiority to triumph 32-10.
Boishaai were in irrepressible form against Affies, crushing the Tshwane big guns 39-12 before their neighbours Paarl Gym played their full part in a classic match against the mighty Grey College, losing 33-47.
Outeniqua seemed to have recovered from their match against the Free Staters and registered a runaway 50-7 victory over Noord-Kaap.
What does all this tell one about the top echelon of South African schools rugby ? Well, the Grey College vs Paul Roos game at the Markotter on 17 August 2019 is going to be an absorbing clash. Otherwise, Paarl Boys’ High and Paarl Gym look like being the crown princes in the saga.