The history books say the first game between KES and Affies was played in 1997 with Affies winning all eight games. The history books do not say that most of the years it was a close affair with KES once or twice deemed as unlucky not to win. This season will be no exception.
Affies season this year can be described as one of ifs, almosts and that bleddy ref. Their stats read as follows: Played 9 won 5 and lost 4 but of their four losses only the one against Paul Roos they had reason to believe that the other three matches could have gone either way. The games against Paarl Gim and Grey College were lost in the final seconds of the game while the match against Boishaai at the st John's festival the winning try was not allowed after the time was up which many believe was a mistake by the officials.
KES or King Edward VII School as purists like to call the school season is one with no loss after 10 games. Their opponents definitely not of the same class as the opponents of Affies but their victories were faultless with only Waterkloof coming close to beating them. Having witnessed KES at the KES Festival I was impressed but not convinced but that all changed on Monday night at the Golden Lions trials. KES played Helpmekaar and according to me, and here comes the hate mail and name calling again KES was the better team on the night having most of the possession and territorial advantage.
The Affies team showed for the first time against Grey that their forwards can be a match winning tool completely controlling play up front and on the ground. The boys from Helpmekaar said after their match against KES that they had the best pack of forwards they came up against the season especially come scrum time. So who will win this battle with Affies only using their forwards as a weapon last week against Grey or KES who Helpies said is the best they've played against. If the Helpies boys are to be believed KES will have the upper hand here, but I think if Affies uses their forwards like against Grey College they should win this one.
At the back, I do believe that Affies can spread the ball wide with confidence and the wings would certainly love the opportunity to run at KES while receiving the ball on the front foot. However the whole season we saw a Affies backline who does not really know what to do with the ball on attack and their better performances was from broken play. KES, on the other hand, does maybe not have the same talent at the back but they certainly know how to use the ball and creates a lot of try-scoring opportunities. The difference in this battle may be at full back where Affies can definitely not afford to kick aimless kicks as KES's fullback will run Affies' defence to pieces.
In conclusion, Affies rated at 7 should be the favourite on Die Plaas but KES rated no 12 will certainly not cross the Jukskei without an intention to win. A close and physical encounter awaits between two of the top teams in South Africa.