Challenging weekend for schools rugby

Neale Emslie

A TOWN versus country showdown, plus a couple of cross- border skirmishes, will make for an interesting weekend of schools rugby in the Eastern Cape this weekend.

At Framesby at 3pm tomorrow, the home team will face one of their more challenging clashes of the season when the tough farming lads from Marlow Agricultural travel to Port Elizabeth for their annual derby.

While the Cradock outfit are much smaller in numbers compared to the bigger PE schools, they regularly punch above their weight and Framesby know that they will underestimate the visitors at their peril.

Grey High and St Andrew’s face their annual derby games respectively against Dale in King William’s Town and Queen’s in Grahamstown, possibly going into the matches with contrasting attitudes.

Grey will be lifted by arguably their best performance of the season when they outclassed St Andrew’s last weekend and will be looking to take that sort of form into the clash with Dale. Two years ago, Dale edged Grey for the first time since 1999, but last year the PE lads restored their supremacy and must be favoured to do so again.

St Andrew’s, meanwhile, will be looking to reassert themselves after suffering their first defeat of the season against Grey and EPCD Craven Week captain and lock Sintu Manjezi will be aiming to lead from the front.

If St Andrew’s can blunt Queen’s flyhalf Simon Bolze and his dangerous backline, they could restore their pride, but this one should go down to the wire.

In Uitenhage, Brandwag, smarting from their setback against Framesby, are likely to take out their frustrations on Otto du Plessis, while Muir, coming off a good win over Westering, will know that Nico Malan pose a far more threatening challenge.

Graeme College visit Alexander Road and though these teams have had some close matches at times, this Graeme side should have the measure of their hosts tomorrow.

In Alexandria today, arch-rivals Ukhanyo and Alexandria High square off at 3.15pm in their annual derby. Alex have a big advantage, with 20 wins against Ukhanyo’s two, but Ukhanyo will be desperate to turn the tables today.

The fixtures, subject to change, are (home teams first, 11.30am start unless otherwise arranged):

Alexander Road v Graeme, Pearson v Andrew Rabie, Brandwag v Otto du Plessis, Despatch v Humansdorp, Volkskool v DF Malherbe, Framesby v Marlow (3pm), Bethelsdorp v Gill, Newton Tech v Ithembelihle, Lungisa v McCarthy, Muir v Nico Malan, Lungiso v Solomon Mahlangu, Queen’s v St Andrew’s, Westering v Port Alfred, Union v Winterberg, Dale v Grey High (2.40pm).

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