By Chesley Daniels
The SEDRU/Albany District will see plenty of Schoolboy and Club rugby fixtures being played this coming weekend. This includes the following competitions: EPRU Grand Challenge, EPRU Adams Cup, EPRU SEDRU Regional League and EP Primary and EP High Schools.
EPRU GRAND CHALLENGE
LILY WHITE VS PROGRESS – LAVENDER VALLEY
The defending Champs from Uitenhage will travel to Makhanda to face the hosts in unfamiliar territory. Progress will play on the famous and historical Lavender Valley field for the first time. This home-ground advantage for Lily White won’t limit the Uitenhage outfit, who are capable of beating any team at any given venue. Blues beat Born Fighters narrowly at the same venue and are currently fifth on the overall Group A log standings. Progress is still unbeaten after two matches and is now in second position on the log after Born Fighters. Many predict a runaway win for the Champs, but it remains to be seen.
BRUMBIES VS BORN FIGHTERS – OVAL SPORTS GROUND
A win for the home side will see Brumbies topple log leaders Born Fighters and move to the first position. Born Fighters beat Despatch in their last game in Somerset and will take that confidence and momentum to the Oval. Brumbies record a famous win against Despatch in an away fixture and can only count in their favour with the home support behind them. Veteran prop, Diego Isaacs, was the Man of the Match against Despatch and is even more dangerous at the Oval. We expect running rugby from both sides, and both will be looking for maximum bonus points. Brumbies just might be too strong for the visitors.
ST MARKS ALICEDALE VS EASTERN PE – ALICEDALE SPORTS GROUND
St. Marks Alicedale is a very dangerous outfit when playing on home ground, and competitors find it very difficult to win against them. They beat Gelvan Wallabies in their first home game and will be itching for another bonus point win. Although St Marks has the home-ground advantage, Eastern PE is a formidable contender. But The Bulls, in their backyard and with their powerful pack of forwards, will make it very difficult for the visitors. For St Marks to come out on top, they must play like they did in previous matches.
SEDRU REGIONAL LEAGUE
RHODES VS KOWIE UNITED – RHODES GREAT FIELD
Rhodes is currently in joint first position with Swallows, with both winning two games. Kowie is on the back foot after a historic defeat in their last match against Tigers in a local Derby. The students’ confidence is high, but the Kowie side will enter Great Field with full strength, hoping to upset the home side. Both teams’ exciting backlines will be tough competition for either side. Kowie will look to take advantage of the defeat that Rhodes suffered in a friendly against Brumbies on Friday evening.
OC VS KLIPFONTEIN UNITED – ALBANY SPORTS GROUND
Both teams are on the back foot and desperate to register a win. OC lost both their games against Rhodes and Swallows, while United lost against Swallows in their own backyard. It will be an exciting affair at a neutral ground, as United hold the edge over OC, where they were victorious in last season’s fixture on the same ground. Both teams like to give the ball air, and we are in for some entertaining running rugby. Klipfontein to upset OC again in a titanic battle.
NDLAMBE TIGERS VS ROSEBUDS UNITED – PORT ALFRED
Tigers are firm favourites and full of confidence after a historical win over arch-rivals Kowie United in their recent Derby, while Rosebuds be playing their first game of the competition. Tigers’ bigger forwards will come hard at The Buds and want to put their side on the front foot. Rosebuds’ young, exciting backline is dangerous with the ball in hand and will play the ball out wide to their skilful speedsters. The home-ground support and atmosphere will be enough for the Tigers to beat the visitors. Rhodes is likely to have a narrow victory.
EP HIGH SCHOOLS
GRAEME COLLEGE VS ST ANDREWS COLLEGE – SOMERSET FIELD
Playing at home and in front of their home support, the Graemians are a dangerous unit at home. The Leopards will look to get their claws inside the College flesh, and we will be in for a humdinger. Graeme was the top Makhanda side last year and will be in search to upset College again. SAC came from a highly successful tour and is full of confidence and a team not to be written off on any given day. This Derby will be the weekend’s highlight, and a capacity crowd is expected at Somerset Field. A close encounter and a close prediction win for the home side.
KINGSWOOD VS STIRLING – CITY LORDS
KC is in fine form and the favourites to win this one, especially playing at home. Stirling can upset the home side if they are at their very best. The dangerous backline of Kingswood will again expose their counterparts if they play to their strength. KC is likely to win comfortably.
PJ OLIVIER VS MAWAS – PJ SPORTS GROUND
Mawas are firm favourites as they beat PJ in recent years. Both these teams are in a building phase with many young and new players in their 1st XV. This is also a famous Derby between the two local schools and attracts hundreds of spectators. A tight game, but Mawas, with their recent successful FNB tournament in PE, is likely to come out on top.
ALEX HIGH VS TEMPLETON – ALEXANDRIA
The home side is in for revenge after losing to Templeton in last year’s fixture in Bedford. Templeton’s tail is high after recently defeating Adelaide Gymnasium 22-17 in Adelaide. Alex also comes from a highly successful FNB tournament and is full of confidence and a decent side to beat at home. A close encounter awaits us, with Alex to pin the visitors narrowly.
PAHS VS LILY FONTEIN – PORT ALFRED SCHOOL
The home side is tough to beat at home and will bank on the home-ground support. PAHS like to play the ball wide using their skilful, speedy backs that are so dangerous on the attack. The visitors beat PJ last month and can go all the way to upset the visitors. But my money will be on the home side to take this one.