With South Africa slowly preparing for the winter/June exams and the youth weeks which are held in early July the intensity is slowing down with Grey College and some other big guns already closed up shop for the winter. In New Zealand, however, the action is fast and furious with one or two big winning margins raising the eyebrows.
Auckland Premier 1A
St Peters is still unbeaten after round four with One Tree Hill College who is bottom of the log the unfortunate. An easy victory of 65-3 for St Peters sees them at the top of the log due to a better points difference. Number 2 on the log and also still unbeaten St Kentigern College had to work a little harder to beat Liston College 36-3. The match of the day, however, was between Sacred Heart and King's Collge which ended in a draw of 17 all.
St Patrick's Town, Scots College, St Patrick's Silverstream, Wellington College and Rongotia all scored victories in the first round. Scott's victory (55-0) was the most impressive of round 1, but still, the early day's in Wellington.
Christchurch Boys High completely overshadowed a poor Mid Canterbury Combined in a one-sided and boring game, Christchurch still unbeaten after the victory (105-0). Christ's College, however, had to work a lot harder against Lincoln Combined to win and maintain their unbeaten streak (29-5). St Bede's looking a lot better after the loss against Rangiora High in the second round. Rangiora had a close shave against Nelson College beating them 16-15 and a nerve-wrecking but exciting game.
Central North Island
Feilding HS had a massive win against bottom of the log Te Aute to win 126-0, and remain unbeaten in this competition. Feilding on a high with St Peter's, Wesley and Wanganui Collegiate waiting for Feilding to slip in a long and tough season ahead. St Peter's had an easy win against St John's Coll Hamilton. Wanganui Collegiate had to work hard to get a draw against Francis Douglas Memorial.
North Harbour Canon 1A
Log leaders Westlake Boys High had to work extremely hard to win against fourth-placed Rosmini College and stay unbeaten. They eventually won with 10-8 in a game where one try or missed tackle could have changed the outcome. Takapuna Grammar placed number 2 and also still unbeaten did not have it much easier as they played Massey High. Although Massey is still not able to win one game yet they made sure that Takapuna worked and deserved their win, Takapuna the winner with 16-7.
I just want to thank all the officials at the different schools and the parents who are helping me to understand the New Zealand schoolboy scene.
With Grey College preparing for the Youth Weeks it was up to the smaller schools to provide the entertainment and they surely did. Noord Kaap had an easy day at the office with a win against Sentraal of 50-19, while Welkom Gim also had no problem against a struggling Witteberg winning 73-12. Goudveld continued their good form in beating Kroonstad AHS 57-15 at home while a struggling Voortrekker caused one of the biggest upsets of the weekend when the won against Diamantveld with 39-26.
During 2017 the Eastern Cape became known as the region of upsets with a big upset or two every weekend. This year, however, the favourites are sorted out every weekend with no major surprises. This week was no exception. Daniël Pienaar had to work hard to beat a willing Pearson side with 17-13, while Graeme College had to defend for their lives but eventually won 17-5 against Hudson Park. Framesby did what was expected from them in beating Marlow 27-16, as did Grey High with a 33-12 victory against a young Dale team. St Andrew's unbeaten streak was ended by a very good Selborne side with a 36-17 win, what did surprise was the ease of the victory.
The ease with which Glenwood ran over DHS was a big surprise. 55-12 against a quality said is impressive, very impressive and if I an a Grey College supporter I would start to worry, worry a lot. Hilton showed their class in beating Westville 36-7 and maintained their unbeaten record for the 2018 season. Kearsney had to work very hard to beat visitors St Stithians with 36-31 while St John's had no problem beating their hosts Michaelhouse with 43-10. Northwood had to work very hard to beat St Charles 31-23 in a very exciting match that delivered some spectacular tries.
Affies waited till it was almost too late to score the winning try, eventually beating Jeppe 45-41 in a very exciting game where the defence was not always the first priority. Affies did win and that felt good. KES proved too strong for Parktown Boys High (49-12) while Pretoria Boys High gave St Benedict's a taste of their improving form beating St Benedict's 32-10. Waterkloof was too good for Noordheuwel and as expected won 64-7 while St Alban's also continued their great season in beating St David's 50-3.
VirSeker Cup - Transvalia confirmed their favourite status in beating Monnas 34-31 in another humdinger. Transvalia must be the favourite to win the Cup. Garsfontein with their victory against Menlopark of 48-24 are the other favourite to claim the Cup at this stage but with the victory of 95-32 against Middelburg HTS, EG Jansen may still have some influence of who will play in the playoffs. Helpmekaar is slowly also laying claim to a playoff spot but had to work very hard to beat Nelspruit with 24-22.
VirSeker Plate - All games in the Plate was decided with 2 points at the most. Zwarkop's win against Rustenburg 20-19 must be the upset of this division for the 2018 season. Eldoraigne and Marais Viljoen kept their playoff hopes alive with 2 point victories against Kempton Park (14-12) and Centurion (43-41) respectively.
VirSeker Shield - Ben Vorsters demolition of Hugenote with 102-3 is big news and everybody sees them as favourites but to forget Oos Moot who is also playing some very good rugby could just be stupid. Oos Moot won 40-19 against Pietersburg, while Jeugland had to work very hard to beat Florida 40-38.
The province of action? The biggest upset must be the Bishops win against Wynberg with 33-29 while Oakdale had to work very hard to beat Outeniqua 42-35 and regain the SWD crown for 2018. Paarl Gim had if I am to believe some parents of Boland Landbou, the help of the referee to beat Boland Landbou with 42-38. The Rondebosch v Drostdy HTS match did deliver everything it had promised to, excitement and passion, but the win for Rondebosch (43-37) was unexpected. SACS did not play their best rugby but still managed a good win against Bellville (43-22) while Stellenberg had to work very hard to beat DF Malan with 33-26.
A lot of action with some big wins and some big surprises.