Affies is doing the Groot Trek in reverse when they visit Paarl Gim in the first of a new yearly fixture between these two giants of South African schoolboy rugby. Although it is still early in the season the fixture between Affies, no1 and Paarl Gim, no 3 could see South Africa waking up to a new number 1 on Sunday morning. If Paarl Gim wins they will have enough points to move up to the number 1 spot. But after Affies won, Paarl Gim will most probably lose 4-6 places in the rankings.
Paarl Gim played their first match against Stellenberg last week Friday and understandably had some aspects in their play to attend to during the past week. "The lofty expectations of the returning players – François Staples at tighthead, Adriaan Ludick at lock and Henco Martins at 8 – may have shifted much of the spotlight off the newcomers, but this team shows signs of having already gelled very nicely. Captain Ryno Beukes led with a fiery performance in the second row, while Uys and Dean Nieuwoudt both fed and fed off Martins to good effect. Hanro Geldenhuys sparkled at scrumhalf and Scholtz gave his three-quarters a steady stream of quality ball, which Stravino Jacobs on the right wing, in particular, used to showcase his exciting potential. Turning to the returning players, Henco Martins is going to be a huge factor this year. His fitness was a step ahead of everyone else, what with his Sevens experience earlier in the year and his outstanding athletic prowess. Ludick slowed down markedly in the latter stages of the match, but Staples’s solid showing gave notice that he has no intention of surrendering the no. 3 jersey to twin brother Adriaan without a fight." according to Tony Stoops. Muller du Plessis at fullback will be returning after attending the SARU u/18 training camp last weekend.
Affies played their second match against a very able Helpmekaar winning with the same margin 31-19 that Paarl Gim's won against Stellenberg. In an effort to strengthen their front row after they struggled against Helpies Affies moved Wihan Bezuidenhout back to loosehead with James Combrink coming in at tighthead after flu forced him out of the game against Helpies. Wihan helping out in his first game at tight-head against Helpies. If there was one "weakness in this Affies side against Helpies it was the front row and one will have to wait for Saturday to see if they managed to rectify their mistakes against Helpies. Affies locks (4) Michael de Waal, (5) Carl Els was everywhere and their line-outs were a pleasure to watch. Both did some hard work in the loose. Jaco Labuschagne (capt) replace Reinhardt Ras who impressed against Helpies, after attending the SARU u/18 training camp. The battle of the two set of loosies could be the highlight of this fixture. Affies backline only sees two changes with the injured wing Sean Thungo being replaced by Ruan Wasserman and Marnus Potgieter, outside centre regaining his place after attending the SARU u/18 training camp. Ruan Wasserman will be a marked man after his brilliant display last weekend. His rise from the 3rd team to stardom was well documented this past week.
To summarise: Paarl Gim should have the upper hand at scrum time with the lineouts a very closely contested facet. The battle for the loose ball could be very close but I do feel that Affies will have the upper hand especially after no9 Johan Mulder displayed his ability and willingness to help secure the turnover ball against Helpies. The battle at 8 will be immense with Gim's Martins the favourite. However, Phillip Potgieter who had a monster of a game against Helpies will have the help of 2016 BB 8th man Jaco Labuschagne who is at 7 for Affies. The battle at the back must favour the hard running and physical backline of Affies, that is if their forwards do not ruin the attacking ball with their presence. With Gym showing some match fitness problems against Stellenberg in the second half one can expect Affies to run at them at every opportunity.
Heart says Affies brains says to trust your heart.
(1) Daniël Wessels, (2) Chris Rossouw, (3) Adriaan Staples, (4) Adriaan Ludick, (5) Ryno Beukes, (6) Corné Uys, (7) Dean Nieuwoudt, (8) Henco Martins, (9) Hanro Geldenhuys, (10) Daniël Beukes, (11) Hanco Hanekom, (12) Ruben Scholtz, (13) Dawid Kellerman, (14) Stravino Jacobs and (15) Muller du Plessis.
(1) Wihan Bezuidenhout, (2) Janco Uys, (3) James Combrinck, (4) Michael de Waal, (5) Carl Els, (6) Divhan du Preez, (7) Jaco Labuschagne, (8) Philip Potgieter, (9) Johan Mulder, (10) Charles Goedhals, (11) Ruben Meiring, (12) Zach Briel, (13) Marnus Potgieter, (14) Ruan Wasserman and (15) Regardt Roets.