Three schools return to Premier Interschools derbies

Pretoria Boys’ High, Outeniqua High and Wynberg Boys’ High will all be showcasing their talent during the 2021 Premier Interschools derbies announced on Wednesday.

Anticipation is at an all-time high as schools rugby is set to return in May 2021. As in the past, 12 matches will be played from 8 May until 4 September. This means the 2021 season will feature 15 different schools.

Three new teams will feature in the 2021 edition. Pretoria Boys’ High School return after a seven-year absence. Outeniqua High will also be part of this year’s Premier Interschools after missing out in 2019, while returning Wynberg Boys’ High will be showcasing their amazing talent when they face old foes Grey High School.

The planned fixtures for the year are as follows:

Paarl Boys’ High vs Grey College 08/05/2021: @Paarl Boys

Grey College are on the road as they are set to face Boishaai at home, in the first edition of Premier Interschools 2021. The boys from Bloem have been the most consistently No 1-ranked team in the country and will be hoping to continue their fine form. The mighty Grey will be looking to continue their domination in this fixture, with Grey winning five of the last 10 encounters while Boishaai have won four with one result ending in a draw. The bulk of the 2019 Boishaai squad are no longer there having graduated from high school and with only two matches in 2020, the current squad are pretty much novices in the first-team environment.

Bishops vs Paul Roos – 15/05/2021: @Bishops

This Cape Town derby did not feature on the Premier Interschools broadcast fixture list. Despite having won the Sanix Tournament in Japan in 2019, Paul Roos travel to Bishops on the back of three home defeats, making the Stellenbosch side very dangerous. Bishops’ star-studded side will be firing on all cylinders having showcased what exciting brand of rugby can be expected after their solo game as a new squad at Newlands against Paarl Gim. Despite having lost the core of their 2020 team, they might just be the surprise package in the Western Cape for the 2021 season.

Grey PE vs Wynberg Boys’ High22/05/2021 @Grey PE

Wynberg will travel to the Eastern Cape in late May to face Grey PE, the dominant force in the area. The home side have had the better of their Cape Town rivals by winning six of the last 10 encounters, and one match ending in a stalemate. Wynberg’s last win over Grey PE was in 2018 having experienced a victory back in 2013, prior to the 2018 win. History is on the side of the home team, but Wynberg are known for their tenacity and will be a tough nut to crack.

Grey College vs Oakdale29/05/2021 @Grey College

This is a new fixture on the books and what an exciting encounter this could prove to be. The ‘Bulls’ from Oakdale are always a tough team and the 2021 version will be one of the toughest around. Having built the team around a very strong U16 group from 2019, Grey College can expect a hard and uncompromising Oakdale opposition. The big question ahead of this encounter is: will Oakdale be able to keep up with the pace of one of South Africa’s most dominating high-school sides? Compounding matters for the visitors, will be the fact they have not played Grey College on a regular basis and never in Bloemfontein. Will Oakdale be able to handle the pressure of Grey College’s home-ground advantage of fortress Jock Meiring?

Paul Roos vs Paarl Boys’ High05/06/2021 @Paul Roos

Boishaai travel to their Cape Winelands neighbours, Paul Roos, in the fifth broadcast feature. This match always proves to be a highlight of the season with both teams wanting to play an expansive brand of rugby with no inch given. The Paul Roos side are on the wrong side of history in this derby for the last 10 encounters, having won only three times, but the Stellenbosch side will be hoping for a repeat of the 2018 drubbing at the very same Markotter grounds. Expectations are high following a massive investment into their infrastructure – Paul Roos now boast one of the most modern and advanced training facilities in the country. This, coupled with a traditionally strong and excellent coaching structure, they hope will make a dominating force in high-school rugby again.

Paul Roos vs Grey High School 12/06/2021 @Paul Roos

The sixth game for the season is again in Stellenbosch when the Maroon Machine welcome Grey PE in their annual interschools fixture. Having last won in 2017, Grey High will be looking for a win at Markotter to catch up on the lead Paul Roos has. The visiting side have been on the winning side four times in the past 10 years, with Paul Roos dominating this fixture with six wins. The Maroon Machine at home is a different side to contend with and Grey PE will have to be at their very best to secure a victory. A close-fought cracker of a game can be expected.

Monument High School vs Grey College19/06/2021 @Monument

For the first time oniPremier Interschools, the mighty Grey College will face Monument High as the Bloemfontein side travel to Krugersdorp. Most, if not all, of their previous encounters in the modern era have been on neutral territory during rugby festivals and tournaments, but this will be the first time Grey College visit Monnas. Monument are known to be hard and direct and, under Tjaart van der Walt and Wynand Moolman, the team will once again be highly competitive in their centenary celebration year. The Krugersdorp outfit had some previous success against the Bloem juggernauts and will hope to make their 100th year a special one.

Paarl Gimnasium vs Outeniqua High School26/06/2021 @Paarl Gim

In our 8th feature, the Kwaggas from Outeniqua in George travel down to the beautiful town of Paarl to face some tough opposition. Paarl Gim have been a perennial top-three rugby school for many years. The visitors are up against a tough Gimmies side that not only love running rugby but also grinding it out among their forward pack. Following the cancellation of last season, the class of 2020 were not able to showcase what they could have achieved. The 2020 Paarl Gim squad could have been a strong contender to knock Grey College off their No 1 perch, but they will have to rebuild and regroup if they want to challenge for the top spot in 2021. Outeniqua themselves will have a very good crop of U16s from the 2019 season to help lay a solid foundation in terms depth in their squad and can be expected to be up there in the top-five high school rugby sides of 2021.

Maritzburg College vs Afrikaans Hoër Seunskool31/07/2021 @Maritzburg College

After the June school holiday break, the focus moves up to KwaZulu Natal with a big match expected between Maritzburg College and Affies. This rivalry started in 1996 and they met twice in 2011. This will be the 25th time that these schools meet for an action-packed interschools edition. Affies thoroughly dominate this fixture with 21 victories versus three Maritzburg wins. For many years, Maritzburg College’s rugby has been characterised by the rugged qualities and outstanding support work of its forwards, plus the hard-hitting tackles and explosive running of its backs. Most notable, however, is the fierce determination and spirit typifying College teams and imbuing them with an unshakeable will to win. Affies are famed and regarded as one of the best rugby schools in South Africa. They have delivered many Springbok players in the past and continue to supply loads of talent in the SA Schools and SA Academy sides. This will be a match of strength versus spirit, an exciting prospect for any schoolboys rugby enthusiasts.

Paarl Boys’ High vs Paarl Gimnasium14/08/2021 @Faure Street Stadium, Paarl

Dubbed as one of, if not the biggest, high-school rugby matches in the history of South African schoolboys rugby. In the 10th match of the season the great rivalry of the Paarl teams will feature: Paarl Boys’ High up against Paarl Gimnasium. The ‘Galpille’ against the ‘Bloedworse’, South vs North. A whole town divided for one week into two definitive camps. You are either Blue and White or Gold, Maroon and Green. The passion that goes with this rugby derby is unbelievable and for more than 100 years the matches have been so closely fought that the average winning margin is just four points. This is truly one of the few matches that is unpredictable, and both sides will give it their all for 70 minutes. When the final whistle blows, there will be two sides that left it all on the field. One side will be in ecstasy following a victory while another will be devastated at being on the losing side on the scoreboard. The unusual events of 2020 had this fixture not being played last year for only the second time in a 105-year history. Let us hope 2021 will do this great and historic fixture the justice it so rightfully deserves.

Affies vs Pretoria Boys’ High21/08/2021: @Affies

After an absence of seven years, Premier Interschools again showcases the great Pretoria derby as their second-last match of the season. Affies turned 100 years old last year and this match could not be played. This year it could prove to be one of the great derby matches for the season. A rivalry that dates back nearly a century (98 years), one of the great interschools events on the South African schoolboys rugby calendar takes place with Affies hosting Pretoria Boys. The two teams first encounter was back in 1923 following Affies’ formation in 1920 from the original Pretoria Boys’ High. They played each other three times in that first year with the first match seen as the ‘official’ interschools game, which Boys’ High won. The last 10 years Affies had the better of Pretoria Boys winning nine of the matches, but in 2019 the Pretoria Boys pulled a rabbit out of a hat heading into the fixture as the underdogs and won the game. Boys’ High will be hoping to repeat that while Affies will be looking for a good way to celebrate their 101st year.

Bishops vs Rondebosch 04/09/2021: @Bishops

The final match of the season is one of the oldest rivalries around. In a Southern Suburbs, Cape Town derby, Rondebosch lock horns with Bishops at Bishops’ Piley Rees grounds. Arguably one of the most beautiful school grounds in the country with Table Mountain as backdrop, the Piley has featured some great encounters. Bosch would love to repeat their final game of 2019 when they beat Bishops on the very same field. The 2019 season was also a milestone for Bishops when they racked up their 101st win against Rondebosch in the first of two encounters of the season. Rondebosch will be hoping to close the number of games won between these two sides – they have been outright dominated in this fixture, managing only 77 wins against Bishops’ 101.

Post by

Dylan Jack