Rondebosch close out impressive season with derby win
Rondebosch Boys end season to remember on a high with victory over neighbours Bishops.
Rondebosch Boys’ High School capped off an impressive rugby season this year with a dominant home 43-26 win over rivals Bishops this weekend. It sealed the double for Rondebosch this season over their Southern Suburbs adversaries after their early season 20-15 Bish/Bosch victory.
“To get the double over Bishops was a nice way to top the season off,” Rondebosch head coach Joel Carew told Daily Maverick.
“Bishops have had a good past five to six years. For us to beat them twice is quite something. The derby means a lot to the school and the boys. Saturday was the 200th time we played against Bishops so it was extra special. It was one of the goals we set for the season so it’s up there with one of the better results for the season.”
Bishops Diocesan College (Bishops) is among a number of big teams to succumb to a Rondebosch team whose success this season has seen them lose only four matches all season.
“Beginning of the season we beat Graeme College, which is a big one. The big [scalp] was Paarl Boys away, it was the first time in a good few years that we won there,” said Carew.
“Out of the Stellenbosch schools, we beat Paarl Boys, Paul Roos and Stellenberg which doesn’t happen in a normal year, so that’s quite an achievement for us.
“Coming closer to the south, we beat SACS and Bishops the first round but lost to Wynberg away. The big one to turn the second half of the season around for us was to beat Wynberg at home, the second time around. It was a very good Wynberg side, so that was a big result for us. Luckily we scored on time to get the [17-10] result.”
The only teams to beat Rondebosch this season are Wynberg boys’ High School, Paarl Gimnasium, Grey High School and Jeppe High School for Boys.
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“The forwards have performed extremely well this year, especially against those bigger Paarl schools, they fronted up and the backs came to the party as well,” said Carew.
Foundations of success
Rondebosch had four players selected for Western Province’s Craven Week side. Hooker Jono Birhange, flanker and captain Gareth Blackmore, flyhalf Jacques Jooste and centre Jamie Ricketts.
“Jamie Ricketts has been absolutely outstanding this year, playing at centre for us even though he played No 8 at Craven Week. He led the backline, being a solid guy and getting over the advantage line,” said Carew.
“While Jono Birhange, our hooker is an amazing person on the field and off the field. One of the leaders in the group, leading from the front.”
Jooste had to pull out of Craven Week a week prior to the tournament, coincidently hosted at Rondebosch, due to injury.
“Jacques Jooste, we were fortunate to have him back for the Bishops game after his six-week ankle which put him out of Craven Week. He was terrific when he came back in the final 10 minutes against Wynberg and against Bishops.
“In Gareth Blackmore, we’re blessed to have such a leader for the younger guys. He has a massive work rate, massive ball carrier and a big presence on the field,” said Carew.
Carew also acknowledged that there were players on his side who were unsung heroes and were unfortunate to not receive higher honours despite their constant excellence for his side.
“Guys we weren’t recognised in Craven Week like Warrick Jones who performs week in and week out. [I think] he’s one of the better scrum halves in the Western Cape at least, let alone the country.
“While our props Joe Mondera and Micci Clementi also lead the forwards from the front. They put their hands up properly all season.”
Rondebosch’s impressive record means they end the season as one of the top ten schools in the country.
“Obviously it’s a massive achievement for the team especially to be up there with the top rugby schools in the country, the boys have worked hard and deserve the recognition,” said Carew.
However, Carew, in his first year as head coach of the side, is not planning to rest on his laurels.
“The key to success is consistency. We’re looking to build onto what we achieved this year. We’re lucky enough to have six guys in the first team that are in grade 11. There’s also a nice strong under 16 group coming through so we’re hoping things can keep building from this year so that next year we can maybe do better than this year.” he said. DM