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Top schools take momentum into mid-year break

WEEKEND WRAP: Rondebosch, Waterkloof and Durban High have strengthened their respective positions in the unofficial school rankings ahead of the second phase of the season.

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Rondebosch were made to fight for victory against arch-rivals Bishops at the Piley Rees Field this past Saturday, even though the final scoreline of 31-16 may suggest otherwise.

Up in Boksburg, Waterkloof overturned a nine-point deficit to snatch a 32-32 draw against EG Jansen, and ultimately retained their position at the top of the Noordvaal Cup standings.

Furthermore, Rondebosch and Waterkloof will finish the first half of the season among the top 10 teams in the country.

While there is no definitive rankings list, many school rugby experts agree that Rondebosch and Waterkloof, along with the likes of DHS, who picked up a 23-10 win against Michaelhouse on Saturday, are up there with the best teams in South Africa.

That said, Paul Roos and Grey College have set the standard this season, and remain a class apart from the rest.

Paul Roos’ 11-game winning streak includes victories over the two Paarl giants. Since losing to Jeppe in March, Grey have won eight matches on the bounce.

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Paarl Gym, Affies and Boishaai (in spite of a few wobbles) make up the top five.

Wynberg are among the teams who have progressed this year, although they will be disappointed with recent results, which include a 29-30 loss to SACS this past weekend.

DHS are on track to become the kings of KwaZulu-Natal, but Northwood have also been consistent, and recently beat Westville 30-27.

School rugby will take a break for the next few weeks as most of the students enjoy the mid-year holidays. Some of the players will feature for their respective provinces at the Youth Week staged around the country.

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In early July, the school fixtures will resume in earnest.

The Paarl derby on August 3 should be a cracker, and the showdown between Paul Roos and Grey College in Stellenbosch on August 17 may double as an official SA schools final.

The first half of the season served up a few upsets, with Jeppe slaying Grey College, and Milnerton downing Rondebosch and Bishops.

It remains to be seen if the second phase will throw up more of these unexpected results.

Waterkloof have only lost one match to date, and the recent draw brought an end to a nine-game winning streak.

If they manage to regroup, they may crack on to win the Noordvaal Cup, and may well surprise Affies in the Pretoria derby staged in Waterkloof on July 17.

DHS will be aiming to finish the second phase of their season with a flourish. The local clash against Northwood on July 20 will be one to watch, though. These teams drew 7-7 when they last met in April.

Oakdale are ranked among the top teams in the country, despite producing some inconsistent results. The Riversdale outfit faces a tough schedule in July and August, but playing at home, they may push Paul Roos and Grey College close.

KES have enjoyed a good season, and will be looking forward to their next battle with Jeppe on July 20. They currently lead the two-game series, having beaten their Joburg rivals 38-28 in last April.

In terms of the Eastern Cape’s leading teams, Grey High will be hard-pressed to finish their season on a high. An away clash against Framesby will be followed by a visit to Bloemfontein, where they will face their sister school on July 20.

Rondebosch face a potentially tricky trip to Boland Landbou next month. If Wynberg manage to regroup, that southern suburbs showdown on August 10 at the Tinkie Heyns Field may be one to savour.

Photo credit: @PremierSchools

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