Season Preview: Western Region

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Coach Logic

Western Region schools are made up of teams from the Western Province, Boland and SWD unions.

BISHOPS

Being an elite private school makes mass recruitment difficult for a school such as Bishops, they rely very much on developing their own talent which means that it is often hit and miss in terms of producing top 10 teams. If Bishops were based in any other league there is no doubt Top 10 finishes would be the norm, but facing stiff competition in arguably the toughest schools rugby league in the world means they often find themselves out of contention in a national context.

When one looks back at their history there have been some truly special teams, and this year should be one of those teams. They have the majority of last years team back who punched way above their weight and their backline looks to be one of the best in the country. The forwards are no slouches either and in our opinion Bishops could have up to 4 players pushing for SA Schools selection by the end of the year.

Players to watch:

Connor Evans is a beast and our top ranked prospect for 2020, the lock/loose-forward is an exceptional talent and should walk into the SA Schools team come the end of the year. Another player who is special is pivot Sacha Mngomezulu, to say he is special is simply an understatement. He oozes talent and can open up opposition defenses like few in the country can. Last but not least keep an eye on the centre pairing of Ford and Jones.

Young Gun:

Scrummie Mogamad Khan is very exciting indeed, could be form a devastating half-back pairing with Mngomezulu?

NGR Prediction:

We have often seen so called dream teams fade into obscurity, the pressure of dealing with the expectation of the school often is too much to handle. This will not be the case with Bishops one feels, there is just too much quality in this team. Top 10 is a guarantee, but they should push hard toward the Top 5.

BOLAND LANDBOU

Underestimate the farm boys from Landbou at your peril, this is truly a rugby school through and through. If one had to measure schools by the amount of pupils there is no doubt that Boland Landbou are the premier school in the country.

These kids are always hard as nails, good farming stock is in abundance. They are always a pleasure to watch, producing high quality rugby that is easy on the eye. However injuries can take their toll, and their relative small numbers means that depth will always be an issue.

Players to watch:

Marco de Witt at lock is a powerhouse forward who will lead the front assault while Keanen Wentzel and Gerhardus Moolman at the back will provide some dangerous counter attacking opportunities.

Young Gun:

Have a look at hooker Gustav Laubscher.

NGR Prediction:

They will be hoping to push hard for a Top 20 place come the end of the year and if they can keep injuries to a minimum they could achieve this.

DROSTDY

Without doubt the strongest school in the Boland area often contributing the vast majority of the areas Craven Week and Grant Khomo week players.

Always a good school to watch who play good hard rugby and often punch above their weight perhaps the only thing we can say we hope to see them improve upon is their ability to finish off a game. We have often seen Drostdy in the past lose big games by the slimmest of margins and this years group will hope to buck that trend.

They had a solid group at under 16 level and will be support nicely by some talented Grade 11 prospects, it should be an exciting season but one has to remember that they will be competing against some of the toughest opposition in the country.

Players to watch:

Robert Adelade is a solid lock and Ruan Vorster looks a solid player at hooker.

Young Gun:

Keep your eyes on backline prospect Percy Basson

NGR Prediction:

A strong push toward the top 20 will be expected, it will be a tough season due to the quality of the opposition but they have the qualities to get there.

OAKDALE

Oakdale are always a powerful outfit and push the more established schools to their very limit. This years group is perhaps not the strongest but still have quality players at their disposal.

What will be extremely interesting will be how many of their amazing Grade 11 squad get into the first team. One of the most potent outfits in the country last year as Under 16’s there is little doubt they will form a core of the 1st XV this coming season.

Oakdale have a tremendous forward back and some exciting runners in the back, you can expect fireworks when they face some of their traditional rivals this year.

Players to watch:

Big Cornelius Rahl at lock will lead the forward pack and keep an eye on speedy winger Tinotende Signe as well.

Young Gun:

Look out for powerhouse prop Dian Heunis.

NGR Prediction:

A rebuilding phase one would think. We expect them to give their standout Grade 11’s more game time with a view to launching a full on attack on the Top 5 next year, this year don’t discount them – we expect a finish toward the Top 20 but they could go on to reach the Top 15.

OUTENIQUA

It has been a surprise to say the least that when conducting our pools the usual suspects have been mentioned but little mention has been made of Outeniqua as contenders this year, and contenders they will be.

This years team is packed with talent and are along with Bishops true dark horses for the season. There are many stayers from last years team that have experience and it was these stayers that pushed the Kwagga’s up our rankings with some outstanding performances, one feels it was a year too early for them and 2020 should be a huge year for the team.

Players to watch:

Johann Jordens and Francois Breytenbach will lay a solid foundation in the front row and will be players to watch closely. Pivot Chad Josias looks a very exciting player indeed and should put in some big performances this year.

Young Gun:

Luddick Muller looks a solid loosie.

NGR Prediction:

They are a definite dark horse and we expect big things from this years group, a hard push for the Top 5 is not outside the bounds of reality.

PAARL BOYS

Paarl Boys were well and truly ruling the rugby roost in the middle part of the last decade. The team went unbeaten domestically for a full 3 seasons but it went wrong in 2018 with a team many thought would find huge success disappointing overall. 2019 was far better for the boys and there were some outstanding results, few would argue that they were deservedly 3rd ranked in the country.

With the high standards set in the past one wonders if the team of 2020 has what it takes to go all the way to the top? On paper it does not seem like this is the case with very few stayers from last years team available.

That being said an extremely exciting Grade 11 contingent are waiting to be unleashed on the nation, there are some truly exceptional players in this group and they will without doubt add some much needed depth and steel to the squad as a whole.

Players to watch:

Sebastian Lombard looks a truly special player, the giant and powerful prop will no doubt cause many issues for his opposite numbers. Another player we like is Cameron Hanekom the loose-forward who will no doubt look to stamp his authority on the game throughout the season.

Young Gun:

Compion von Ludwig looks a truly complete player, the young pivot has everything you look for in the position and we cant see him not making a name for himself this coming season.

NGR Prediction:

They won’t have it all their own way but anything less than a Top 10 finish is considered a disaster for this fine rugby institution.

PAARL GIM

While Grey College can lay claim to being the best in the world, Paarl Gim can easily lay claim to being the best co-educational rugby school on the planet, of that there can be no argument.

Continually providing quality teams this years group are special even by Gimmies high standards. They were far and away the best team at age group level and there is no reason why they cannot continue that this year.

While they have an extremely talented forward pack their backs are where it will become clear that the gulf between them and their opposition is huge generally speaking. Speed, vision and attacking intent are all there and they will be causing their opposition all sorts of problems this year.

Players to watch:

Where to begin? Lock Rynhardt Crous is a monster who will very easily gain SA Schools selection. Then at scrummie there is the potent attacker Bradley Davids. Their centre combination of Ethan James and John du Toit will likely be the best in the country and the back 3 of Jacobs, Gertse and Swartz will punish any opponent that gives them even an inch of space.

Young Gun:

Corne Lavanga a fierce prop needs to be watched carefully.

NGR Prediction:

Simply put they cannot finish below second in the country, not with a squad that has this much quality. Their match against Grey College could very well go down as the match of this century.

PAUL ROOS

After the extreme highs of 2018 there were extreme lows for the class of 2019. One paper they had one of the best squads in the country and virtually all pundits predicted an easy 2nd place finish for the Stellenbosch boys with some even convinced they would conquer the mighty Grey College.

It was not to be with big losses coming against their 3 main opponents Grey, Paarl Boys and Paarl Gim. One feels had they not gone to the SANIX tournament and played more games domestically they would have been better prepared for high quality opposition, but then again hindsight is always 20/20.

This years group on paper is certainly not on the same level as the squads of 2018 and 2019 but then again perhaps the lower expectation will place them under the radar and they could spring a surprise or two during the season.

There will be some real grunt in their forward packs and they have some speedy backs who can create some real issues for their opposition, but the brutality of the Western league this year may just take its toll this season.

Players to watch:

Expect Friedrich Weilbach to continue the tradition of producing exceptional prop forwards, he along with loose-forward Armand Martiz will be key players in the forward pack. In the backs watch Luke Burger, a pacey wing who is a deadly finishers.

Young Gun:

Josh Africa on the wing looks an electric player.

NGR Prediction:

Paul Roos should always push for a Top 10 finish, anything outside of this would be considered a failure but anything outside the Top 20 will surely make the school go back to the drawing board.

RONDEBOSCH

Rondebosch started off the 2019 season with much gusto, recording wins over esteemed opponents such as Boland Landbou, Grey High and St Andrews. 5 losses on the trot dented their hopes of finishing in the Top 10 but their quality was evident for all to see.

There are a some talented players in this team and they will be hoping to cause some upsets during the season with some of the players likely to push hard for SA Schools selection.

Players to watch:

Kian Davis will try and push Mngomezulu hard for selection into the WP Craven Week team, a very talented player he is. A pivot that has great qualities expect him to shine even if Bosch end up struggling. Hooker Lukhanyo Vokozela looks another special player who will be hoping his prop Nunu will provide support which he should do.

NGR Prediction:

A tough season await the boys, expect them to play their hearts out but they will face stiff competition in the Western league. A top 25 finish will be a good achievement.

SACS

SACS will have a tough year and that is not because the team does not have quality, it is purely based on the sheer amount of talent at their opposition this year.

Should SACS manage to keep their team relatively injury free they could spring a surprise or two as there is no doubt this season will take its toll on all involved, more so that in previous years it must be said.

As Under 16’s had a 7-9 season which on paper looks bad, but when one looks at their scores there were some tight games against strong opposition that could have gone either way. Either way it will be an interesting season for the SACS boys, and we look forward to seeing what they can achieve.

Players to watch:

Duran Koevort looks a very promising player with a lot of speed and can really get the crowd going. Also keep a close eye on Enoch Ndiao.

NGR Prediction:

A tough season but will look to spring an upset or two along the way, will hope to push toward the Top 25 which will be a huge accomplishment for the team.

WYNBERG

This could very well be one of the strongest Wynberg teams we have seen in recent memory. The balance is there, they have solid forwards and a good backline.

As Under 16’s they blew hot and cold somewhat with some outstanding wins but some head scratchers in the loss department. Under 16 form however does not always translate to 1st XV results and with their opponents this year equally strong it will be a tough season ahead.

What Wynberg will turn up this year? That is the ultimate question, whatever happens all the Southern Suburbs teams love to spread the ball and play enterprising rugby and thus entertainment will be available to the masses whatever the results.

Players to watch:

Phil Masango will be hungry and raring to go, he looks to be a prop that will be in strong contention for SA Schools selection. Keep a watch as well on duo Hlanga Mabele and Yaseen Sadien.

Young Gun:

We really like the look of Sethu Mpanza.

NGR Prediction:

A heck of an interesting season waits Wynberg, there are some talented players in this team and a push toward the Top 20 is not impossible. But again we first need to see what Wynberg shows up.

CHAMPIONSHIP PREDICTION

The Western region is far and away the most competitive in South Africa, and long has it been. The sheer volume of quality within this league is astounding to say the least.

However this year it wont be close, we expect Paarl Gim to be regional champions with ease.

Previous unofficial champions:

YEAR CHAMPIONS
2019 Paarl Gim
2018 Paul Roos
2017 Paarl Boys
2016 Paarl Boys
2015 Paarl Boys
2014 Paul Roos
2013 Paarl Gim
2012 Paarl Boys
2011 Paarl Boys
2010 Paarl Gim
2009 Paarl Boys
2008 Paarl Gim
2007 Paarl Gim
2006 Paul Roos
2005 Paul Roos
2004 Paarl Gim
2003 Paul Roos
2002 Paarl Gim
2001 Boland Landbou
2000 Boland Landbou
1999 Paul Roos
1998 Paul Roos
1997 Paarl Gim
1996 Paarl Gim
1995 Paarl Boys
1994 Paarl Gim
1993 Paul Roos
1992 Paarl Boys
1991 Paul Roos
1990 Paul Roos
1989 Bishops
1988 Bishops
1987 Bishops
1986 Bishops
1985 Strand
1984 Paarl Gim
1983 Paarl Gim
1982 Paarl Boys
1981 Paarl Gim
1980 Paarl Gim
1979 Paarl Gim
1978 Paarl Gim
1977 Rondebosch
1976 Paarl Gim
1975 Paarl Boys
1974 Paarl Gim
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