Can Paul Roos Turn Their Season Around Against Grey High School?

Rugby First Played By Schoolboys And Still The Best When Played By Schoolboys

 

The Eastern Cape will be hosting the first encounter of the 2022 Premier Interschools season when Grey High School welcome Stellenbosch juggernauts, Paul Roos Gymnasium.

The last time these two sides met Paul Roos got the upper hand and claimed a 24-18 victory, in 2019, in Stellenbosch. Due to the national lockdown, the sides did not meet in the last two years (2020 and 2021). Results have been evenly distributed over the last ten matches, since 2010, with Grey High School winning four games which includes a three-match winning streak between 2012 – 2014, with their fourth win being recorded when they narrowly edged Paul Roos 20-22 at the Markötter Stadium in 2017. Despite having the better historical stats in this match-up, Paul Roos will have their work cut out if they are to record a seventh win.

Paul Roos has not been enjoying their best start to a season. They recorded a narrow loss against a strong Affies team (18-24) while the match against Helpmekaar (23-30) also went down to the wire with mistakes on the side of the Stellenbosch side proving to be costly. They have been hit by an alarmingly high number of pre-season injuries and have yet to field their first-choice team, however, it is reported that four first-choice players will make their return against Grey High School.

Grey High School have already participated in two festivals and has played three games. Their first game was at the Graeme College festival in Makhanda on Saturday 19 March where they faced fellow Eastern Cape side, Die Brandwag. In a tough encounter, Grey outsmarted their neighbours from Kariega, 31-27, clinching the game right at the end. The following week they hosted their own tournament and won both games against good opposition – SACS (41-09) and KES (22-15). The three from three record so far will bode well for Grey High heading into this match when they will face a very spirited and talented Paul Roos side.

Ruggas.co.za Rankings: Grey High School (11) vs Paul Roos (12)

Our prediction: Paul Roos play a very fast game supported by an excellent defensive system that will simply overrun most of the top schools they will play in South Africa. If stating that this Paul Roos is an "average" team with their return to former glory only expected in 2023 is a misleading statement. An average Paul Roos team is always good enough to beat 95% of the country's 1stXVs with relative ease.

I suspect that Grey High School is also still to find their form in 2022. Die Brandwag matched them in most departments and the winning score in the last minutes was maybe not "deserved". Grey PE have a big pack of forwards with their backline full of speed and flair.

Paul Roos "deserve" the title underdogs, however, with returning stars and a lot to play for I can only think maybe, just maybe.