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Wounded Affies set to storm KES fortress

PREVIEW: Affies will cross the Jukskei to tackle one of Joburg’s in-form teams this weekend, while Rondebosch will head to Paarl in search of a big scalp.

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Having produced the most consistent results over the past three months, Paul Roos and Grey College is the front-runner for the unofficial school title.

To be fair, the likes of Affies and Paarl Gym have also played some enterprising rugby to rack up impressive win-loss records.

Barring a few soft moments in the defeats to Paul Roos and Grey, these teams may have led the way at the halfway point of the season, instead of occupying a place in the chasing pack.

Paul Roos and Grey College should extend their respective winning streaks this weekend.

Meanwhile, Affies, Gimmies, and other top schools will be under pressure to bounce back.

@Rugby365com runs the rule over some of the weekend’s biggest match-ups.

KES VS AFFIES

It’s been a frustrating season for Affies, who have lost three key fixtures against other top schools.

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Earlier in the season, Paul Roos edged Affies 30-25 at the Noord Suid festival. Last month, Gimmies fired late to secure an unlikely victory at Affies, while just last week, Grey fought back to claim a 31-27 win at the Pretoria stronghold.

Affies will travel to KES this Saturday with a point to prove, and history suggests that they have a reason to feel confident. Last year, Affies thrashed KES 43-20 in Pretoria.

But KES is a different prospect this season. Like Affies, they have claimed seven wins to date, and have only lost to Grey College and Boishaai.

And like Affies, they will also have a point to prove in the wake of a disappointing result.

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Last week, KES was tested by a strong Westville side, and the game in KwaZulu-Natal ended in a 36-36 draw.

Back at home this weekend, KES may fancy their chances of securing what would be a big upset.

They have beaten all their opponents from the Noordvaal region this season and are yet to lose a game at home.

Affies boast a similar record in that they have defeated all of their local rivals.

Another big showdown in the north will see Rustenburg hosting Waterkloof, who currently lead the Noordvaal Cup standings.

Waterkloof has had a fine overall season to date, winning 11 and losing one (to Paul Roos).

After thrashing Menlopark 51-33, they will be favourites to win in the North West this Saturday.

EG Jansen is currently second in the Noordvaal standings and face a potentially tricky clash against Noordheuwel.

BOISHAAI VS RONDEBOSCH

Recent results have highlighted the quality of these two teams.

Boishaai put Bishops to the sword last week, scoring 11 tries in a 73-6 victory.

Rondebosch scored 40 or more points in the wins against SACS, Melkbosstrand, and Wynberg, and went toe-to-toe with a powerful Gimmies side in a 12-19 defeat.

This weekend, Rondebosch will travel to Paarl Boys as underdogs. They haven’t won at Boishaai since 2016.

And yet, they may take heart from what transpired at Boishaai earlier in the season. Wynberg, another southern suburbs outfit claimed a memorable win.

Should Rondebosch read too much into Boishaai’s recent demolition of Bishops? Probably not.

Boishaai traveled into that match having lost four of their last five games. They were always going to be favourites against a struggling Bishops side, though, and ended up handing Bishops their seventh consecutive defeat of the season.

In a sense, Boishaai has yet to turn the corner and may view the match against Rondebosch as an opportunity to make a statement.

They need to claim another big win in order to build some momentum for the latter stages of the season, which will culminate with the Paarl derby on 3 August.

Gimmies will also have a point to prove when they head to Oakdale this Saturday, having lost to Paul Roos last week.

Oakdale have shown that they can challenge the top schools, beating Rondebosch and  Garsfontein earlier in the season. They are coming off a 60-8 win against local rivals Outeniqua.

Paul Roos will be favourites against Wynberg. After a strong start to the season, Wynberg has stalled, losing to Rondebosch and Boland Landbou by substantial margins.

GREY COLLEGE VS MONUMENT

It feels like an eternity since Grey College sustained that shock loss to Jeppe.

Over the ensuing two months, the Bloemfontein juggernaut has racked up some big scores, while also claiming important away wins against top dogs like Paarl Gym and Affies.

Monument has won seven and lost four this season, losing to the likes of Gimmies, Westville, EG Jansen, and Paul Roos.

They may take confidence from the win against Boland Landbou at the recent festival in Kimberley, as well as the victories over Menlopark and Noodheuwel in the Noordvaal Cup.

But it remains to be seen if they can live with Grey College in Bloemfontein.

In Kwazulu-Natal, Michaelhouse will look to bounce back from a defeat to Maritzburg College when they host Pretoria Boys, while Westville may fancy their chances against Hilton at home.

Northwood may be similarly confident when they host College.

Down in the Eastern Cape, Grey High will look to build on their three-game winning streak when
they travel to St Andrews.

Grey’s most recent victims, Queen’s College, will be favourites when hosting Hudson Park.

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