Paarl Boys’ High School (“Paarl Boishaai”) came to Newlands to play against The South African College High School (SACS) looking to build momentum before the biggest game of their season and arguably the biggest schoolboy rugby match in the world, Inter-Schools against Paarl Gimnasium. On a warm winters morning they definitely got what they needed. A tough physical battle in which they were forced to dig deep to eventually prevail 28-13, having trailed 10-9 at half-time.
SACS failed to effectively clear their lines from the kick-off and were immediately under pressure. They conceded an offside penalty and three points in the second minute. SACS had the Boishaai scrum under early pressure and obtained a scrum penalty which they kicked into the Boishaai half. They were awarded a penalty close to the Boishaai line and showing their confidence elected a scrum. They went blind and didn’t score initially but a few phases later they had secured an overlap on the right. No. 8 Alex Halvorsen managed to get over and score. Centre Jordy Hop missed the conversion.
SACS again failed to exit their half effectively and gifted SA Schools fullback Gianni Lombard another three points when scrumhalf Lucky Dlepu was caught in possession and pinged for holding on. SACS took the lead again though after nineteen minutes when a Dlepu box kick was re-gathered and passed to hooker Liam Larkan who ran in a try from forty metres out. Hop again missed.
SACS had another good opportunity soon after which they failed to convert. The theme of the half though, was that when Boishaai got into the SACS half they secured points and this happened again on twenty-seven minute when SACS went offside allowing Lombard to narrow the lead to one point.
The SACS pack played really well in the first half and sucked Boishaai into a physical battle. As expected Boishaai upped the ante after the interval and a re-gathered box kick in a similar area of the field to the earlier one allowed them to get in behind the SACS defence. Five minutes in and a few phases later they squeezed right-wing Nicholaas Carstens over in the corner. Lombard missed the conversion and Boishaai had regained their early lead.
SACS came back at Boishaai and mauled for the line before again getting into a succession of phases on the Boishaai line. Crucially they did not score and had to settle for three points. They game ebbed and flowed for the middle period of the half and the score remained locked at 14-13 going into the final ten minutes. With nine minutes to play Boishaai finally unleashed their backline from a four- man lineout near the SACS line. The ball ended up in the hands of left-wing Thaakir Abrahams after SA Schools No. 8 Khanya Ncusane had done well to open up space for him to score. Lombard kicked the crucial conversion to stretch the lead to eight points.
The final minutes saw Boishaai camped on the SACS line. SACS defended like Trojans to keep a marauding Boishaai at bay. Like the Champion team they are Boishaai sniffed blood and went for the jugular. SACS showed great character as they had all match to keep Boishaai out phase after phase until the dam wall burst in the last minute when flank Francke Horn crashed over next to a ruck. Lombard did the rest and referee Divan Uys blew the final whistle to end an epic contest.
This was schoolboy rugby at its best in front of an appreciative crowd and as good a preparation as Boishaai could have asked for going into Inter-Schools. SACS showed that they can mix it with the best and will be hoping to take this form into the final three local Southern Suburbs derbies, which traditionally end their season.
SACS - Tries: 8 Alex Halvorsen, 2 Liam Larkan; Penalty: 13 Jordy Hop
PAARL BOYS HIGH - Tries: 14 Nicholaas Carstens, 11 Thaakir Abrahams, 7 Francke Horn Conversions: 15 Gianni Lombard (2); Penalties: Lombard (3)