Here we are barely a week away from Boishaai-Gym 2011. Forget form books, injury lists and that feeling granny gets in her joints before something earth-shattering occurs; this one goes down to the wire every time.
In this final period of preparation, Gym face by far the harder task when they welcome HTS Drostdy from Worcester.
The hosts may have gone a long way to resurrecting their season up at Cape Schools Week and came close to beating Outeniqua in George last Saturday, but the Donkeys appear suddenly to have hit peak form. Two weeks ago they were pretty iffy in Malmesbury, albeit lacking half their regulars. Now the Boland reps have returned from Kimberley evidently enriched by the experience, as they demonstrated by thumping Landbou just some ten kilometers from this week's venue. From whichever angle you look at it, this is going to be a cracker!
Höer Jongensskool fell out of bed against Oakdale, but will be considerably more wary of a SACS team that has been having rather more ups than downs recently. Unbeaten at Cape Schools Week and emphatically triumphant at Brackenfell (66-13) last Saturday, the Wepener Kindergarten is a wine fast-maturing.
Both sets of Paarl coaches will be agonisingly torn between resting key players and fine-tuning/experimenting with existing/potential combinations.
Two defeats on the trot is not a fair reflection of Rondebosch's super season. Hopefully back to full fighting strength, they should be able to cope with visitors Boland Landbou, but would be well advised to keep the No.8 (Nicolai Lubbe) - scrumhalf (Philip Molnar) - flyhalf (Jan Frylinck) midfield think-tank on a short leash. The return of sublime pivot William Keet will give them a boost.
Paul Roos have roared to life with over eighty points in two outings this term. They trek up to Lovers Walk to play a Wynberg side that didn't have things all its own way at Stellenberg last Saturday. James Whiston's troops are really up against it!
Bishops are scheduled to play Rangers RFC at the Piley Rees Field. This is the visitors' sole foray against top league opposition after the massive failure of last year's experiment. Bishops took the corresponding clash 104-0 in 2010. One suspects that Dave Mallett may rest key players (like all 22 of them) ahead of next Saturday's big derby against St Andrew's in Grahamstown.
Two of the SWD field guns, Oudtshoorn and Oakdale head up to the Eastern Cape. The Struisies will be asked some serious questions by Die Brandwag in their Uitenhage meeting, while Marlow, even at home outside Cradock, don't look likely to get the better of the spirited Bulle.
There are a few games on in George. Outeniqua host another Uitenhage side, HTS Daniël Pienaar. The visitors are not the force they were in years past, and so expect the Quaggas to do the business, three weeks before the biggie at home to Oudtshoorn. PW Botha welcome a Punt outfit that hasn't looked this good for several seasons.
Otherwise Langenhoven Gym visit Seavuna and Langenhoven High host York from George for an encounter that the Dasse should take fairly comfortably.
It's a fairly quiet weekend out in the Boland, with just one questionable highlight: Porterville vs De Kuilen at their former's annual Sports Day.
De Kuilen undid mighty Rondebosch last time out; while the last seven days has seen Porterville record a nail-biting 28-22 triumph against Dirkie Uys and a very physical 38-0 win away to Goudini. Nevertheless the visitors should possess enough ammunition out wide to seal a win, provided that they can hold SA Schools tighthead Andrew Beerwinkel in check at scrum time.
The timing couldn't suit the visitors better as the Kuile have cancelled their scheduled WP game against Tygerberg in the wake of an allegation of player-poaching.
Vredenburg's Weston Secondary look too strong for Montana in the only other First XV clash at Porterville, even after the Worcester team's easy 20-0 canter away to Hexvallei on Wednesday.
At the Wesbank ground in Malmesbury a rather dispirited Schoonspruit side will have to pick themselves up after their shock 6-3 defeat at the hands of New Orleans at Dal Josafat Stadium on Wednesday. Visitors Augsburg themselves are still reeling in the wake of successive losses to De Kuilen and Piketberg. Plenty of pride at stake in this one!
Overberg slip over to Robertson for what should be a close-run affair. The Red Wine lads lost their 100% record last week and face another stiff test against Caledon's finest. The only other major fixture scheduled for this area was brought forward to Wednesday, Swellendam sealing a narrow 13-5 home victory over Montagu, thanks to a try by Boland Craven Week captain Petrus Uys.
For the rest, Dirkie Uys head over to Hopefield for a local derby that they should win fairly easily, Bredasdorp host Swartberg, Charlie Hofmeyr are off to Vredendal and luckless Vredenburg meet Worcester Gym at Bosvark Park.
Two second-tier Western Province sides face Boland opposition. Having whacked Gill College 50-7 two weeks ago, Strand came down to earth with a bump, losing 10-18 at home to Swartland seven days ago. This Saturday Wellington's Hugenote come to town, eager to emulate their arch-rivals’ performance.
Swartland themselves welcome redoubtable Stellenberg, whose record of only two defeats is most impressive. Now that the Rockies seem finally to have got their ducks in a row, an intriguing contest looks likely. One more midweek Boland score to slip in: Klein Nederburg enjoyed a rare success, hammering Hawston 32-7 at the Boy Louw Grounds on Wednesday.
Other Western Province fixtures feature HTS Bellville at home to unbeaten Durbanville, Bellville High away to Milnerton, DF Malan hosting Primrose RFC and Brackenfell visiting Monument Park.
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