Hosts face top EC side
In what is shaping up as an Eastern Province-Border derby day, hosts Graeme College face arguably the toughest challenge when they take on Selborne in the feature match of the Pam Golding Properties Graeme Rugby Day on Saturday.
Graeme beat Despatch 23-5 in their opening encounter of the season last Saturday at the Kirkwood Festival, but the game against Selborne will be a totally different affair.
The cream of Eastern Cape schoolboy rugby will again be on show at the region’s popular pipe-opener to the season, with a number of cross-border rivalries to whet the appetite.
Selborne have perennially been one of the strongest sides in the Eastern Cape, but they had their colours lowered twice last year, by Queen’s and Dale.
However, the East London side showed their resilience by winning the return games against their Border rivals and finished off the season with a solid victory over Grey High. They are sure to be a handful again this year and Graeme will need to show wits and courage to have a chance of causing an upset.
Another cross-border clash sees Grahamstown side St Andrew’s face Hudson Park on the main curtain-raiser at 3pm.
Hudson showed their rising potential last year, scoring their first ever win over Queen’s and following that with a 16-14 result against St Andrew’s.
This year, they will be a marked side and nobody will consider taking them lightly. The Andreans’ spirited running approach will give Hudson some indication of what lies ahead for them in 2017.
St Andrew’s will be hoping to continue from their opening win of the season, when they beat Union High 64-10 last Saturday.
It will be interesting to follow the form of Kingswood, who had one of their best seasons last year. The class of 2017 have a tough act to follow, but they can make a statement this weekend when they clash with the Pearson side.
Kingswood did impress against Muir last Saturday, although getting off to a slow start, they ran in seven tries to win 45-0.
Queen’s, with wins over Cambridge and Stirling so far this season, face a testing clash with Port Elizabeth outfit Framesby, who had a modest run of results last year.
Both schools have a proud rugby tradition and after last season’s fortunes, Framesby will be looking to start with a bang. Another keen encounter will see Dale pit their all-round game and running skills against the strong, aggressive approach of Uitenhage team Brandwag.
The Dalians are always dangerous among the backs and if their forwards can match the Uitenhagers up front and provide some decent possession, they could use that to their advantage.
In an all-Eastern Cape clash, Grey High face old rivals Marlow, a fixture often reserved for this day.
Marlow’s memories will linger on the thrilling 24-23 win they had in 2011, but Grey have beaten them twice since then, and the Cradock lads will have to be at their best to match one of the region’s traditional powerhouses.
PJ Olivier 1sts take on a combined Graeme 2nd/3rd team on Marais A Field at 9.15am. This will be followed by Nathaniel Nyaluza 1sts vs Port Alfred High School 1sts. The fixtures are: Somerset Field: 8am: Muir v Cambridge, 9.10: Union High v Nico Malan, 10.20: Dale v Brandwag, 11.30: Queen’s v Framesby, 12.40: Marlow v Grey High, 1.50: Kingswood v Pearson, 3pm: St Andrew’s v Hudson Park, 4.10: Graeme v Selborne. Marais A Field: 8.15: Graeme U16 v Marlow, 9.15: PJ Olivier v Graeme 2nd, 10.15: Port Alfred v Nathaniel Nyaluza, 11.15: Muir U16 v Cam- bridge, 12.15: Selborne U16 v Nico Malan, 1.15: Queen’s U16 v Framesby, 2.15: Dale U16 v Brandwag. Marais B Field: 8.15: Graeme U14 v Marlow, 9.15: Graeme U15 v Marlow, 10.15: Queen’s U14 v Framesby, 11.15: Selborne U14 v Nico Malan, 12.15: Muir U14 v Cambridge, 1.15: Dale U14 v Brandwag.