Saturday 30th August will once again see the two Southern Suburb giants take each other on for the 187th time since 1911. They only played the once-off match u/16 in 1908 and then resumed their yearly derbies from 1911. The first match between the two schools saw Bishops running rampant, winning the encounter 112-0 with Painton Cowen scoring 86 points in the match. Bishops have older rivalries against SACS, St. Andrew’s College and Paul Roos but it can’t compare to the rivalry they have against Rondebosch Boys’ High.
This is one of the longest running interschool derbies in the country and because they regularly play it twice a year, the amount of games played against each other is high. There is pride and bragging rights at stake for the next year in the leafy suburbs of Rondebosch and Newlands. The two schools are only about 400m apart and are situated in the shadows of the home of WP rugby, Newlands Stadium. Many a schoolboy from these two schools moved from their home turf over to Newlands to represent WP on the hallowed Newlands ground.
The encounter is definitely played with the most beautiful background in South Africa with Table Mountain casting its shadow over the Piley Rees field. It is also fitting that Bishops plays some of the most beautiful running rugby in the country. Rondebosch Boys’ High also plays an open style of rugby that makes this clash one of the most exciting matches to watch.
Bosch has won 72 games with Bishops dominating the clash, winning 96 games. A draw is a rare event in a rugby match but these two sides have gone on to draw 18 times. History is on the side of Bishops, winning 52% of the games between the two sides. Rondebsoch’s last had a taste of victory in the first match of 2013 winning 22-7, but since then Bishops made it two in a row and can complete the hatrick on Saturday. Although Bishops would be seen as favourites for this match, history will show that it often does not favour the favourite team. The last time any of the two teams had a win on its own home ground was 11 matches ago when Bishops beat Rondebosch on the Piley Rees.
The Bishops season showed lots of promise right at the start when they beat Paarl Boys High 10-0 in a 20 minute-a-side game at Newlands for the WP season opener. They then traveled to Port Elizabeth for the Grey High festival and in their first full match came up against an inform Glenwood from Durban who promptly brought them back to earth. They lost that match 11-23 but bounced back in the next one to beat Kingswood College from Grahamstown comprehensively 45-14. This started a winning streak of 6 games in a row including wins over Boland Landbou, St Andrews and SACS. They were stopped in their tracks in Paarl when they came up against powerhouse Paarl Gim and their season somewhat faded from then on.
They lost their next match against Wynberg and then had two wins on the trot against Bellville and the first Derby against Rondebosch, which they won comfortably 52-14. Then they had to travel to Brugstraat in the Paarl and came up against Paarl Boys who did not forget the opening season encounter at Newlands. On a rainy day and a very wet and muddy pitch, the Paarl Boys dominated the match with their forwards and eventually ran out 36-3 winners. After the June holiday break, they played old rivals Paul Roos at Markotter and got thumped 14-36. SACS provided a nice alternative to this losing streak when they succumbed 26-12 only for Bishops to lose their second game against Wynberg the very next week.
Bishops provided 6 players to the WP Craven Week team and two players for the Academy team. Thus with 9 provincial players in their midst, one expected them to do a little better than they did this season.
Bishops WP Craven Week Players:
JP Smith (Prop)
M da Silva (Flank)
S Abrahams (8th Man)
J MacIntyre (Flyhalf)
J Heunis (Centre)
G Pieterse (Fullback)
Bishops Academy Week Players:
Rondebosch Boys had a 2014 season they would rather forget. So far they have played 19 games losing 13 and winning only 6. That is a statistic not usually found with this proud bastion of rugby in the Southern Suburbs. Rondebosch fielded a very young side this year consisting mostly of their successful 2013 U/16 group. As expected, the step up to u/19 rugby was always going to be daunting and they should see this season as a learning curve and use the knowledge to their advantage in 2015. Although they have not scored any victories over Premier A teams other than SACS, this young team managed to take Paul Roos to a nail-biting finish when there was only 3 points difference with 2 minutes to go. They were also the only Cape Town side to manage breaching the mighty Paarl Gim line 4 times. That being said, no Rondebosch team can ever be considered underdogs in a Derby match against the old foe. They have proved in the past that they can produce the goods on the day and no less is expected of the 2014 crop.
Rondebosch provided only one player to a WP team this season in flanker MZ Davids, who played for the Craven Week side in Middelburg during the June Holidays.
Rondebosch will have to play as a team and unit to win at Piley Rees on Saturday.