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Big statements made at schools festivals

WRAP: Affies claimed two convincing wins against top opposition at the recent festival at Kimberley, while Rondebosch ended Wynberg’s unbeaten run down in Cape Town.

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Paul Roos remains the leading school side in South Africa. This past week, the Stellenbosch outfit secured a 29-27 win against Monument at the festival staged at Diamantveld, before going on to thrash Maritzburg College 48-0 in their second fixture.

Maritzburg sustained another heavy beating at the hands of Grey College in the earlier match. Grey thumped their KwaZulu-Natalian counterparts 46-0 and went on to beat Garsfontein 38-10.

The biggest statement, however, was made by Affies on the opening day of the festival at Diamantveld.

Affies took the fight to Paarl Boys from the outset, amassing a 24-7 lead by half-time, and completed a stunning 43-21 victory. Thereafter, they cruised to a 32-10 win over Oakdale.

Affies have won six of their eight matches in 2024, sustaining two narrow losses to Western Cape heavyweights Paul Roos and Paarl Gym, and may feel that they have the momentum to challenge Grey College in Pretoria this coming weekend.

Gimmies didn’t have everything their own way in Kimberley, although they did enough to beat EG Jansen 36-33 and Helpmekaar 31-10. Boishaai bounced back from the defeat to Affies to edge Durban High School 15-13.

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Hosts Diamantveld finished the festival unbeaten, after claiming big wins against Marlow Landbou and St Johns College from New Zealand. Waterkloof, who have been building steadily all season, scored more than 100 points over the course of their fixtures against Outeniqua and Marlow.

Down in Gqeberha, Grey High cruised to wins over St Johns and Graeme College to finish their home festival unbeaten. Jeppe made a statement at the Eastern Cape event, scoring 10 tries in the big wins against Graeme and St Andrews.

Elsewhere this weekend, Michaelhouse took a step closer to becoming the leading side in KwaZulu-Natal when they won 24-23 at Hilton.

Not for the first time this season, Cape Town’s southern suburbs witnessed a surprise result.

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Milnerton stunned the South African rugby community recently when they claimed wins against Rondebosch and Bishops. The latter side sustained yet another loss this past weekend, going down 7-29 at SACS.

Those who have followed Bishops over the past few months might suggest that the most recent result was to be expected. Indeed, the bigger shock was over at Wynberg, where Rondebosch romped to a 49-27 win over the more fancied hosts.

Wynberg went into this fixture having won six and drawn one, a record that included a rare away victory at Boishaai. Rondebosch, by comparison, had been less consistent in the preceding months.

Since losing back-to-back matches against Milnerton and Paul Roos, however, Rondebosch appears to have turned a corner. They put 55 points past SACS and 45 past Melkbosstrand.

Rondebosch went into the match against Wynberg as underdogs, and few would have predicted that they’d enjoy such attacking success against one of the best defensive units in the country.

Prior to Saturday’s clash, Wynberg had conceded fewer than 20 points in five fixtures, and no more than 27 in each of their seven games.

On Saturday, however, Rondebosch fired to score 49 points against the southern suburbs’ form side.

Just as Affies will take heart from their recent success in Kimberley, Rondebosch will take confidence from the victory at Wynberg, as they build towards another formidable challenge: a showdown with Gimmies on the Tinkie Heyns Field this coming Saturday.

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