If you find yourself in the stands at Faure Street Stadium in Paarl on Saturday, there is a good chance that you will be watching a future Springbok in action, writes MARK KEOHANE.
Paarl Gim and Paarl Boys’ High resume their rivalry for the first time in two years this Saturday in a Premier Interschools clash. The 104th match between the two schools is set to kick off at 4pm and take place at the Faure Street Stadium in Paarl.
“It is the biggest schools rugby derby, not only in direct rivalry between the two schools, but in the context of the sheer number of players that they have contributed to the Springboks and South African rugby,” Keohane wrote in his Sunday Times column.
“When you think Paarl and Springboks the vintage names of Schalk Burger and Jean de Villiers (who played together for Paarl Gim) and Corne Krige (Boshaai) come to mind immediately, but the two sides have been breeding Springboks since the early 1880s.
“Not much has changed in more than 100 years and in the second Test against Wales this past July, another two were added to a long list as No.8 Evan Roos became the 23rd Springbok from Boshaai and scrumhalf Grant Williams the 30th from Gim.
“The two schools have consistently dominated age-group representation at provincial and international level, and this year is no different. Paarl Boys provided SA Schools with four players, and Paarl Gim one, while the SA Schools A side included two players from Boshaai and three from Gim. These are the players who will be facing each other on Saturday, and their representation is consistent with their old boys of last year and the year before, as seven of the 30 players in the 2022 SA U20 squad came from the two schools.
“The Springbok squad who downed Wales 2-1 in the July home series had five representatives in Evan Roos, Salmaan Moerat and Thomas du Toit (Paarl Boys) and Handré Pollard and Grant Williams from Paarl Gim. Of those five, Pollard is the most prominent, having kicked the Springboks to World Cup victory in 2019.
“Both schools first XVs this season have been good but regular season form is always made redundant on derby day. Don’t be surprised at any result, even a draw, and also don’t be surprised when in a few years the number of Springboks produced by the two schools is closer to 60 than 50.”
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