DALE College’s undefeated run in South African schools rugby will come under serious scrutiny tomorrow when they travel to Port Elizabeth to take on a rejuvenated Grey High team on the Philip field at 3pm.
The King William’s Town side are the only unbeaten team among the country’s top rugby schools this season and that is a record they will be particularly keen to extend against their PE rivals.
Last year, Dale ended a 11-year losing streak to Grey with a thrilling win in King and both coaches, Dale’s Grant Griffiths and Grey’s Rory Duncan, are expecting another cracking encounter tomorrow.
“We know this is going to be another tightly contested encounter,” Griffiths said, adding, “we are [also] battling with a few injuries. It will not be easy.”
Griffiths said their plan this year had been to build for next year, but that his young team had played above themselves, especially in scoring tight wins over arch-Border rivals Selborne (10-9) and Queen’s (21-18).
“Those were close games, but having won gave the players some self-belief. However, we are preparing for a humdinger tomorrow,” Griffiths said.
Duncan will have to do without captain and prop Lloyd Parker, but says his team are looking forward to proving themselves against a top side after they suffered narrow defeats against Queen’s College and Wynberg.
Gary Loest will be captain tomorrow.
“We are looking forward to the challenge against Dale,” Duncan said.
“They have had an exceptional season and have proven themselves against tough opposition. But the Grey 1st XV are up to the challenge.
“The team have been waiting for a big game to prove once again that they have what it takes to be ranked amongst the top schools in the country.”
Judging where exactly Dale fit into the greater scheme in South African schools rugby is not easy, because not all the schools play each other.
However, centre Sibanye Bukani’s outfit have proved themselves with draws against Paul Roos and Glenwood, and they have established themselves as the top side in the Eastern Cape.
Another big clash tomorrow takes place in Cradock when Framesby will be searching for their third win in a row over Marlow.
Fresh from their derby win over Ndzondolelo, Itembelihle will be looking for another victory when they take on McCarthy Street, while Ndzondolelo will be playing against Arcadia.