College keen to return to winning ways against old rivals

2014-05-31 00:00

TODAY’S main focus on the schoolboy rugby front is the Midlands clash between Maritzburg College and Hilton, on Goldstones at College. It’s College’s old boys’ day that provides nothing less than the most pressured stage for the team to perform.

College’s past pupils are passionate about their school’s rugby tradition and nothing less than a return to winning ways, particularly on home ground, against a Hilton side capable of upsetting the odds on the day, will suffice.

College have enjoyed a steady season to date, with two defeats in the lost column. A single point loss to Wynberg Boys’ High at the Grey PE festival was followed last weekend with a loss to Glenwood, in Durban.

In the past few years, the College-Glenwood clash has become one of intense rivalry and College will take heart that although they lost 27-14, they came back from 17-0 down and enjoyed a strong second half, two late Glenwood tries inflating the scoreboard. On their home patch, in front of vociferous support, they are always a tough nut to crack and Hilton will have to dig deep and play percentage rugby for the full 70 minutes.

Hilton will take heart that College can be beaten as they proved last year when defeating their old rivals 38-22 at Hilton, the men in black and white’s most confident win in decades, perhaps history. That was last year though and Hilton know they will have to step up a gear and make their first-time tackles count in defence and be more accurate with kicks at goal when the opportunities arise.

Last weekend’s mid-term break for Hilton came after they had sneaked through 18-15 against a DHS side that had lost to neighbours Port Natal earlier in the season, plus a 13-20 loss to arch rivals Michaelhouse has hurt Hilton’s cause. It seems a while since Hilton enjoyed the fruits of victory and today will be the sternest test of all if they are to stand tall.

Elsewhere, Michaelhouse host St John’s College and should finish ahead on the scoreboard. With exciting and penetrating runners, managed well by flyhalf Bader Pretorius, the red and white striped outfit have produced entertaining rugby this season, their losses being by a few points against strong and recognised opposition.

Likewise Kearsney College, who entertain another Gauteng side, St Stithians. On their day, Kearsney can pile on the points and a heavy defeat to College and a tough Easter rugby festival are memories of the past. They dealt aptly with Hilton before the mid-term break and are another team who make good use of home turf.

DHS host St Charles, the latter side having proven through the season they can take the game to any side. They play expansive rugby, always keen to put points on the board and this could be a difficult match to call. DHS have been a little up and down, but when it counts, they do fight for the school’s badge and honour.

The Northwood against Port Natal match is an entertaining Durban derby with both sides sometimes failing to live up to their capabilities. Northwood have beaten Hilton this season, yet have looked ordinary in narrow losses to Michaelhouse and DHS. A powerful pack was exposed against Michaelhouse, conceding five tight heads, tries resulting to the opposition from two of them.

Port Natal are still reeling from a heavy loss against Glenwood, but should find the going easier today. They deliver solid rugby and should match their opponents in all departments.

Clifton and George Campbell play in another Durban derby.

The College-Hilton match is SuperSport’s classic clash of the day. It is telecast on SuperSport HD from 2.05 pm.


College v Hilton, Michaelhouse v St John’s, Kearsney v St Stithians, Northwood v Port Natal, DHS v St Charles, Clifton College v George Campbell.

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