Top match in Stellenbosch
The Premier Interschools match between Paul Roos and Paarl Gim is indeed a top schools match.
In the first Top 20 of 2017, Paul Roos are ranked first, Paarl Gim second.
But apart from that, they are perennially two of the top schools sides in the country. Both have many Old Boys who have played rugby for South Africa. Paul Roos with 51 Springboks has more than any other school. Their most recent is Willie le Roux. Paarl Gim has 28 Old Boys who became Springboks, the most recent being Handré Pollard, the captain of the Bulls.
They are both unbeaten so far - Paul Roos in five matches, Gim in four.
Paul Roos went to the St John's Easter Festival where they and Paarl Boys' High were the unbeaten teams. This year they have beaten Nelspruit (ranked eighth), Drostdy (ranked ninth) and Helpmekaar (ranked 13th).
Gimmies have beaten Affies in a tight, dramatic encounter in Paarl. They also had big wins over usually strong sides Dr EG Jansen (39-10) and Garsfontein (46-17) who are ranked 20th.
Last year Paul Roos had a wonderful side with players like Damien Willemse and Ben-Jason Dixon who both played for SA Schools, but Gim beat them 28-24 in a thrilling encounter. But then Gim had an SA Schools player of their own in Muller du Plessis. Willemse and Dixon have left school but Muller is still at Gim and playing fullback on Saturday. He was excellent against Affies earlier this season.
Gim have four players back from last year - Muller, eighthman Henco Martins, lock Adriaan Ludick, who scored the winning try against Affies, and prop Francois Staples, whose twin, also a prop, is on the bench.
Paul Roos have two back - Colia Louis and Cameron Dawson.
In the last five years, Gim have won four times, Paul Roos just in 2014.
Last year's match was in Paarl, this year's on Paul Roos's home turf, the ground the great Oubaas Markötter gave them. It has the makings of a great match, which will be broadcast live on television on Supersport, channel 210.
Paul Roos: 15 Colia Louis, 14 Regan van der Westhuizen, 13 Brendan Venter, 12 Rufus Dercksen (captain), 11 Rémy Engelbrecht, 10 Juan Mostert, 9 Gerado Jaars, 8 Matthew Cordy, 7 Philip van Dyk, 6 Johan Bouwer, 5 Breyten Maritz, 4 Mink Scharink, 3 Hanro Jacobs, 2 Willem van den Hever, 1 Cameron Dawson
Replacements: 16 JJ Kotze, 17 Tristan Leitch, 18 Alexander Mbete, 19 Ryno Niemand, 20 Lombard Basson, 21 Antonie Kock, 22 WJ Smit, 23 Johnny Solms
Paarl Gim: 15 Muller du Plessis, 14 Francois Marais, 13 Dawid Kellerman, 12 Ruben Scholtz, 11 Hanco Hanekom, 10 Daniël Beukes, 9 Hanro Geldenhuys, 8 Henco Martins, 7 AJ Wedgwood, 6 Corné Uys, 5 Ryno Beukes, 4 Adriaan Ludick, 3 Francois Staples, 2 Chris Rossouw, 1 Hugo Pienaar
Replacements: 16 Daniël Wessels, 17 Adriaan Staples, 18 Dedrich Glas, 19 Juan Beukes, 20 Dean Nieuwoudt, 21 Jean Janse van Rensburg, 22 Janke du Toit, 23 Stravino Jacobs
Coaches: Pieter Rossouw, Helmut Lehmann
There will be 21 matches altogether, 42 teams in action. But it is the winner of the 1st XV match that counts for all.
08.30: 4th XV
09.45: 3rd XV
11.00: 2nd XV
12.30: 1st XV Live broadcast on Supersport, channel 210
10.00: 6th XV
11.10: 5th XV
09.00: 7th XV