Bishops face Maroon Machine as pandemic affects schools rugby calendar

Bishops College will host Paul Roos at the iconic Piley Rees field in the second Premier Interschools match, as the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic looms over schools rugby.

The second edition of Premier Interschools will get under way on Saturday and feature one of South Africa’s most exciting schoolboys matches when Bishops host Paul Roos with the picturesque Table Mountain as backdrop.

This promises to be an exciting encounter with Bishops known for always dishing up entertaining running rugby, while Paul Roos rugby is synonymous with featuring an exhilarating brand of rugby.

The hosts’ last win over Paul Roos was more than a decade ago – 33-23 in 2010 – and the boys from Stellenbosch have dominated this fixture with a single draw (22-all) since 2009. It has been three years since these two teams last, in 2018: a fixture which Paul Roos thoroughly dominated winning 44-21. The Maroon Machine participated in the Sanix World Schools event in Japan in 2019.

Bishops have recorded two wins from their two matches thus far in the season, but heading into a fixture against Paul Roos with just two games under the belt might prove to be not enough to beat the Maroon Machine.

Ideally, Bishops would probably have wanted more game time before taking on one of the giants of schoolboys rugby. With a pack as solid as Paul Roos’ the home side will want to use their strengths and spread the ball wide while attacking the space with pace.

Similarly, Paul Roos have also played only two games leading up this game, but their results are not as favourable as Bishops’. Paul Roos are coming off a defeat (25-10) by Paarl Gim and although they picked up win over Boland Landbou in their season opener, it reveals little of what this Paul Roos side is capable of. The Maroon Machine will be hoping to get back to winning ways.

While there is plenty of hype going into this fixture, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has started to impact schools rugby in the country. At least three interschools fixtures in Gauteng were called off this past weekend due to isolated positive tests among the sports-playing schoolboys.

The much-anticipated derby between Affies and Grey College scheduled for this Saturday has also been postponed, due to a sharp increase in positive tests at the Pretoria-based school. This has brought a 10-day halt to all school sports at Affies, suggesting their fixture against Jeppe High will also not take place.

Still, there are a number of intriguing fixtures to keep an eye on this weekend. In the Cape, Boland Landbou host SACS, while Paarl Boys will make the trip to Rondebosch.

The pick of KwaZulu-Natal fixtures is the match between Northwood and Kearsney, while in the Eastern Cape Queen’s College take on Grey High School and Kingswood face Hudson Park.

In Gauteng, Monument are up against Garsfontein, Menlopark face Waterkloof and thumbs will be held that the match between KES and Pretoria Boys High is able to go ahead as planned.

Western Cape

Bishops vs Paul Roos

Boland Landbous vs SACS

Wynberg vs Paarl Gim

Rondebosch vs Paarl Boys’ High

Durbanville vs Strand

Brackenfell vs Stellenberg


Westville vs Michaelhouse

Hilton vs DHS

Northwood vs Kearsney

Glenwood vs St Charles

Eastern Cape

Kingswood vs Hudson Park

Queen’s vs Grey High

St Andrew’s vs Marlow

Graeme vs Framesby


Monument vs Garsfontein

Menlopark vs Waterkloof

Noordheuwel vs Marais Viljoen

Helpmekaar vs EG Jansen

Montana vs Ben Vorster

KES vs Pretoria Boys High

St John’s vs Parktown

St David’s vs Jeppe

St Benedict’s vs St Alban’s

Post by

Dylan Jack