Bad day for KZN teams

2013-07-30 00:00

IT was not a good day for the two KZN teams against their Pretoria opponents on Saturday. Affies, the top-ranked team in the country, were expected to beat Glenwood but not by that large a margin. Maritzburg College were expected to have a tight game as they only lost by two points in Pretoria at the beginning of the second term, so it was a surprise that Pretoria Boys’ won by as many points as they did.

Maritzburg College 16 Pretoria BHS 30

On a warm afternoon with a breeze giving some help to one side, the Pretoria Boys’ High School played the better rugby to win the game comfortably. Their decision making, speed to the loose ball and the pace in the back line all contributed to the victory. The only area where College did compete favourably was in the tight phases, although they did not match the height or weight of their opponents.

Boys’ High scored four tries to one by College and while the first and last were perhaps fortunate, the greater share of possession and territory indicated an eventual victory for the visitors. If College had not made as many mistakes and missed vital tackles at times, the final score could have been much closer.

During the first half, College played with the wind favouring Pretoria and then made the mistake of kicking away possession when in attacking positions, often missing touch and playing into their opponents hands. During the second half they seldom used the breeze to their advantage.

College can be proud of the improvement in their line-outs this term as in the two matches they have played, despite being outsized by both Affies and Pretoria Boys’, they have won their ball. Unfortunately the mistakes largely came with the ball that was won.

College led for a brief two minutes after a penalty by Marcel Coetzee but Affies then scored when live-wire flank Michel de Waal used referee Andrew Pace as a shield as he went over. Coetzee then added another penalty to two by fullback David Murray adding to his conversion for the visitors to lead 13-6 at the break.

Coetzee narrowed the gap to 9-13 just after half time, but then gave away a penalty from which PBHS kicked for a line-out and they drove the few metres to score their second try. Their third try was scored by De Waal, who ran with determination, and attempted tackles were missed allowing a seven-pointer and PBHS to draw ahead to 25-9.

A number of times a College player would break through the first line of defence only to find he had little support. This happened again when flank Renard le Roux managed to evade tackles and he was not stopped, showing some pace, running over 50 metres to score close to the uprights. Coetzee converted and College were nine points behind.

With just minutes remaining, PBHS wing Luvo Claasen scored when College lost their own ball in the scrum.

Glenwood 23 Affies 53

Glenwood took advantage from a number of mistakes made by Affies to lead 11-3 after 15 minutes. The home side could not make this count as Affies then played some superb rugby to score and lead 32-11 at the break.

It was not as if Glenwood did not have enough possession, but when they did they made mistakes and their opponents were quick to counter.

Once Affies had the ball, Glenwood struggled to reorganise their own defence and even to make meaningful tackles that would have slowed down or stopped the Affies continuity. Affies were sharp to respond to situations and brought on pressure that caused the mistakes made by Glenwood. On attack, Affies’ decision making and counter-attacking were outstanding.

Only two of the five tries were converted in the first half. First-half tries included a hat-trick scored by wing Tiaan Schmulian, fullback Eduan Keyter weighed in with brilliant solo effort and mobile prop WP Eloff scored the fifth try. Corné Vermaak scored the lone first-half try for Glenwood.

In the second half another three tries were scored by Affies early in the half, as Glenwood held them at bay for the last 25 minutes of the game. Two of these were by flyhalf Phillip Orpher and the other by SA Schools centre Jurie Linde. All three were converted.

Glenwood scored two further tries, one by wing Morné Joubert and the other by replacement loose forward Waelon Hippolite. Vermaak kicked all the extra points.

The game was marred by an unsavoury incident that took place off the ball and seemed to take some of the fire from the Affies players.

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