College go down to Glenwood at festival

2013-03-08 00:00

THE inaugural McCarthy Toyota Top Schools rugby festival took place at King’s Park on Wednesday evening. The 10 schools that played mainly used the 40-minute matches as trials for the season ahead. That does not mean that there was no needle in the games, but with some players missing in some of the teams, they did use it to see how other fringe players cope with match pressure.

The first match, between Port Natal and Pionier from Vryheid, was arguably the most attractive.

It was eventually won 17-14 by Port Natal, who had led 10-7 at half time due to a try by lock Eugene du Preez and a conversion and a penalty by Hennie Janse van Rensburg. Eighth man Francois de Klerk scored and converted a try for Pionier.

Clifton and George Campbell, both with black shorts, socks and jerseys, made it difficult for the referee. Clifton had a white flash and Campbell a gold flash, which was the only distinction between the sides.

Clifton, playing their first game, did well to hold Campbell, who had already played a number of games. At half time, it was a penalty to each, Bandile Nzimande for GC and Keegan Nell for Clifton. In the second half, No. 8 Marco de Souza scored a try to give George Campbell an 8-3 win.

Northwood, who had won the Port Natal Night Series in Durban, played DHS in their first outing of the season. It was a messy game with plenty of mistakes by both teams. An even first half saw Northwood lead due to a penalty by Lindo Makhanye, although DHS wing Sandile Biyela had rounded the Northwood defence and as he tried to place the ball behind the poles, he dropped it.

The second half livened up a bit with Northwood wing Thabo Thabete scoring in the third quarter. DHS came very close to scoring on a few occasions, but Northwood managed to keep them out, so winning 8-3.

The last two matches of the evening were what most of the 6 000 spectators had likely come to watch. The penultimate game was between Highway rivals, Westville and Kearsney, and the final game between Glenwood and Maritzburg College.

Kearsney stamped their authority early on in the game and they led 12-0 after the first quarter. Tries were scored by wing Thuthu Ndlovu and fullback Chris Lines, the last converted by Joshua Attenborough.

The second half was similar, with Kearsney again having the lion’s share of possession. Westville defensive lines improved and Kearsney could not break through. Their second-half try came from a maul following a lineout, when lock James Hall scored in a jumble of bodies. It was not converted but Kearsney had won 17-5 and certainly look likely to be one of the top sides again.

Pace, good handling and angled running by the Glenwood backs made College look sluggish in the first 10 minutes of the game.

Two tries were scored, the first by wing Sphamandla Ngcobo and the second by scrumhalf Kyle Gerhard, with the latter converting his own try. College had the better of the scrums when the front row was not penalised, which happened quite often.

Glenwood were quicker to the loose ball, but with a better defensive pattern by College, Glenwood did not have it all their own way in the second half.

The only try in the second half was scored by lock Robert Peacock, converted by Gerhard for a 19-0 win.

Man of the match awards: Hennie Janse van Rensburg (Port Natal scrumhalf); Emile Botes (Pionier lock); Ntlanta Ngubane (George Campbell centre); Obeid Mulla (Clifton centre); Gareth Murran (Northwood No. 8); Kurt Webster (DHS flyhalf); Ayron Schramm (Kearsney No. 8); Mzamo Majola (Westville prop); Morné Joubert (Glenwood fullback); Darren Goodsen (College No. 8).

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