Derby poised to be thriller

HOME team Brandwag will be eager to regain that winning feeling when they host Daniel Pienaar in one of the Eastern Cape's major schools rugby rivalries in Uitenhage today at 4pm.

Schools fixtures scheduled for Saturday will be played earlier because of the long weekend due to Women's Day.

In what should be another titanic clash, Grey High host East London rivals Selborne on Friday and Framesby travel to Riversdale to face Oakdale.

The Grey-Selborne game will be televised live on SuperSport 1 at 12.55pm.

Ithembelihle will go to Alexandria tomorrow to take on Ukhanyo, while Pearson, Nico Malan and Marlow will be playing in the Outeniqua Rugby Day on Saturday, which celebrates the school's 90th anniversary.

After having enjoyed success from 2008 to 2011 in their Uitenhage derby, Brandwag yielded to last year's impressive Daniel Pienaar team when they lost 28-23 at Daniel Pienaar.

That margin is typical of the fierce nature of these clashes. In the last five years, the only decisive victory came in 2009, when Brandwag won 35-10.

Today promises to be another cracking encounter, although Brandwag have the superior record this season and will be favourites to claim bragging rights.

Both teams will be smarting after losing last weekend – Daniel Pienaar went down to Marlow and Brandwag were outplayed by Nico Malan. It was Brandwag's worst loss this season and they will be determined to set the record straight.

But Daniel Pienaar can never be discounted. Players have a way of raising their game in these derby clashes and the visiting team will be full of motivation for this encounter.

The other major showdown will see Selborne try to become the first Eastern Cape team to defeat Grey High this season when they clash at Grey on Friday.

The PE team have performed impressively against regional competition, putting more than 30 points past such leading schools as St Andrew's, Dale and Daniel Pienaar. They hovered on the brink when they trailed Framesby 31-20 last weekend but showed character to run out 41-31 winners.

With captain and flank CJ Velleman leading from the front, Grey will be fired up to protect that record and Selborne will need to produce a concerted team effort to win away from home.

Ithembelihle have another challenging away fixture against Ukhanyo (3pm) tomorrow. At the weekend, Ithembe fought hard to draw 6-6 with Tsholomnqa, while Ukhanyo lost a thriller to Ndzondelelo.

Ithembe should start as favourites, but Ukhanyo have home advantage.

The Outeniqua programme is:

8.25am: Outeniqua U19B v Augsburg; 9.35: Langenhoven Riversdale v Vredendal; 10.45: Augsburg v Pearson; 11.55: Nico Malan v Diamantveld; 1pm: Outeniqua v Noord-Kaap; 2.20: Marlow v EG Jansen; 3.30: Garsfontein v Tygerberg.