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Watershed weekend for top school sides

PREVIEW: Affies and Paarl Gym will look to stall their Grey College and Paul Roos counterparts this weekend, while a plucky Milnerton outfit will chase a rare southern suburbs ‘Triple Crown’.

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It’s tempting to suggest, even at this stage of this season, that the clash between Paul Roos and Grey College on August 17 will be a final of sorts.

The winner of that game in Stellenbosch may well be crowned as the top schools team for 2024.

There’s still many games to be played over the next few months, though.

Perhaps the more pertinent question is whether any team will beat Paul Roos before these giants collide and whether Grey College will sustain a second loss, having succumbed to Jeppe earlier in the year.

The clashes in Pretoria and Paarl this weekend may provide some answers.

@Rugby365com looks forward to those match-ups, as well as several other contests across the country.

AFFIES V GREY COLLEGE

Grey College have beaten Affies by 40 or more points in the past three meetings. It’s been nine years since they lost this fixture, and they will go into Saturday’s clash in Pretoria as favourites.

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That said, this is a strong Affies side that has competed well against the top schools this season.

Their overall record of seven wins makes for impressive reading, while their two losses came against Gimmies and Paul Roos. The former defeat was particularly close, with Gimmies firing late to clinch the result.

Affies are coming off big wins against Paarl Boys and Oakdale at the recent festival staged in Kimberley. They’ve had a couple of weeks to prepare for this clash, and will know what’s at stake.

Affies will be favourites to win their subsequent fixtures against KES, Menlopark, Maritzburg College, Waterkloof (although this one could be closer than some expect) and Pretoria Boys. A win against Grey College, however, would mark them as one of the country’s front-runners.

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In terms of the current race for top spot, Grey College are still chasing Paul Roos. They have to win in Pretoria this week to stay in touch with the side from Stellenbosch.

The other big clash in the capital sees Pretoria Boys hosting Jeppe, who are riding high after a 40-8 win over Northwood.

PAARL GYM VS PAUL ROOS

This Cape Winelands derby promises to be an epic encounter.

Gimmies won 24-19 in Stellenbosch last year, while Paul Roos prevailed 26-24 in the last game staged in Paarl. Both teams have won nine games apiece in 2024, with Gimmies sustaining just one loss to Grey College.

Like Affies, Gimmies will back themselves to win their remaining fixtures. even the season finale against Boishaai, who haven’t had the best year to date.

A positive result against Paul Roos may determine whether they finish the campaign among the very best-performing schools or as part of the chasing pack.

SACS VS MILNERTON

SACS have won six and lost five, although it should be noted that those defeats have come against some of the country’s leading sides. Most recently, they went down 10-28 to Paul Roos at home.

Do they have what it takes to put Milnerton away?

If this question was asked at the beginning of the season, many would have answered in the affirmative. Following Milnerton’s statement wins against Rondebosch and Bishops, however, a lot of neutrals will have their doubts.

Milnerton have won their last nine games, and have played a thrilling brand of rugby. In the landmark victories over Rondebosch and Bishops, they showed remarkable tenacity to overturn substantial deficits and get over the line.

If Milnerton prevail against SACS in Newlands, they will claim a rare southern suburbs ‘Triple Crown’, having already won at the Tinkie Heyns and Piley Rees fields earlier in the season.

Meanwhile, Bishops will be looking to avoid a seventh-straight defeat with they host Boishaai. The side from Paarl will also have a point to prove, having lost four of their last five fixtures.

Oakdale will look to bounce back from a loss to Affies when they host regional rivals Outeniqua. The latter side is coming off two defeats at the recent festival in Kimberley.

* Picture credit: @AHS1920

 

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