Big chance for DHS in today’s school match on TV

2014-06-07 00:00

DHS vs Kearsney

DHS’s televised game against Kearsney is probably their last opportunity in 2014 to cause their first KZN inter-schools upset in years. Victories against the three big KZN government schools have virtually dried up and the last win against one of the big private schools came in 2011.

Kearsney should not be able to outscrum them, out jump them or even outplay DHS in the rucks. Kearsney will, however, come at them with the sort of unwavering determination to succeed that has seen them box above their weight for most of the season.

It’s up to DHS to produce solid defence and then to make good decisions when they do have the ball. Some interesting matches also lie ahead in the junior A-team games. DHS have achieved pleasing results this season and if they can keep it up, they should start producing fairly competitive first XVs in a couple of years time.

Michaelhouse vs Maritzburg College

This game is a hard one to call. The home team are a better team than they get credit for. At the same time they seem to be short on x-factor options and don’t always fully enhance the value that a 15-man rugby approach has to offer. As a result one gets the feeling that even if they play convincingly well, they are bound to leave the door open. Michaelhouse have a potential weakness in midfield with several centres ruled out injured.

College have a strong, physical pack of forwards who have proven to be more than capable of getting over the advantage line. They are now also getting good direction from their flyhalf but for all the front-foot ball they generate, their backs have not always been as effective off recycled possession as they ought to be.

If they can up their slickness and put their finishers into space, they will hold the upper hand even on an Old Boys’ Day when the opposition are bound to have a huge support base. There are questions over the fitness of the College motivator slash captain. His presence counts for a lot.

On a side note, this season the College management of players returning from injury has already raised questions about whether they are in defiance of the headmasters’ agreement: using free substitutes aka the squad system, with the College head of rugby defending the action as being the optimal way to reintroduce rehabilitated players in accordance with medical advice that calls for restricted game time.

Northwood vs St Charles

It’s Northwood’s Old Boys’ Day so the Knights will play in front of a full house. After securing a comfortable 31-6 victory against Port Natal last weekend, the home team will want to produce more of the same with perhaps just a little more ball going down the backline. Between their flyhalf’s big boot and their heavy pack of forwards Northwood are bound to dominate territory and possession.

The visitors will be looking to play smarter rugby and improve on their ball security at rucks and at set pieces.

Hilton vs Glenwood

Glenwood are expected to emerge as victors from from this game but it’s not certain what they will aim for here.

After the Monnas defeat, they will want to show more assertiveness in the pack while also playing more to their strengths out wide. At the same time with so many players committed to KZN representation in a few weeks, they may be looking to pace themselves.

Hilton need to make their midfield defence airtight. They also desperately need to gain more cohesion and at the same improve their attacking options. Ball retention is key if they want to be competitive.

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