Gutsy College withstand onslaught

2013-04-02 00:00

Game 1: Monument (14) 14

Rondebosch (5) 5

The opening game on day two of the FNB Maritzburg College 150th Rugby Festival on the Goldstones ground yesterday saw the big Monument side given a massive workout by Rondebosch.

The first 15 minutes were dominated by Rondebosch, loosehead Kyle Whyte getting the first try around the quarter-hour mark (5-0). Then a lovely break by Rondebosch outside centre Matthew Steel was shut down by excellent Monument defence.

The lighter Rondebosch pack stood up well to their heavier opponents, but a tap kick after the Capetonians collapsed a maul saw Monument maul over successfully this time, with impressive number eight Wian Jacobs on the end of it. Centre Gerdus van der Walt converted (7-0).

On half time a drive downfield by Monument tighthead Gunther Janse van Vuuren saw the ball worked back and Jacobs was again the man who crossed the whitewash, while Van der Walt added the two points for the 14-5 half-time lead.

The second half saw plenty in the way of good rugby but the scoreline was to remain unchanged.

Game 2: Dale College (24) 43

Development XV 0

This was an enjoyable, light-hearted affair that saw Dale win at a canter against a spirited Development XV that refused to give up and enjoyed some exciting yet ultimately fruitless passages of play into the bargain.

Dale ran the ball imaginatively from all corners and talented outside centre Sibahle Maxwane had a field day with ball in hand and off the boot.

Maxwane banged over a penalty in the 12th minute before Buntu Ponono scored Dale’s first try, which Maxwane converted.

Maxwane went on to score three fine tries of his own, Kungawe Sikenjana and Somila Jho getting the others.

In all, Maxwane scored three tries, kicked five conversions and one penalty for a personal tally of 28 points.

Game 3: Jeppe (17) 20

Queens (7) 12

Queens College lost 27-13 to Affies while Jeppe went down 24-16 to Noord-Kaap on the opening day of the FNB Maritzburg College 150th Rugby Festival on Saturday, so there was everything to play for in game three yesterday.

Jeppe opened the scoring through a penalty goal by fullback Sandile Sibande (3-0). Then it was the turn of right wing Sibusiso Nkosi to get into the action with a top try after he broke through the line for Sibande to convert (10-0).

Queens came back with a vengeance and the ball went through a series of attacks that had Jeppe pinned on their line. Fittingly it was the silky touch of captain and flyhalf Simon Bolze who had the last hand on the ball to go over near the right-hand corner (10-5).

The pivot then employed his trusty boot to stroke over the conversion to put the Queenstown lads within three points of parity (10-7).

But for the 155-year-old Queenstown, Eastern Cape institution the joy was shortlived. Jeppe patiently worked the ball up and ultimately it was lively number eight Denzil Hill who broke away from a maul, exploiting the blind side to eventually go over untouched under the posts. Jeppe fullback Sandile Sibande added the extra two points with nonchalant ease (17-7).

Changing over with the strong north-easterly wind in their favour at last, Jeppe’s 17-7 half-time lead would prove difficult to overturn, particularly with the comfort of a stronger pack at their disposal.

Jeppe maintained control of territory and much of the possession but in fullback Siphu Zaula, Queens had an imaginative, nimble-footed runner who was unafraid to take on defenders. However, the number 15 was eventually closed down after a number of attacking sorties from the back.

Jeppe finally converted territory and possession into more points when left winger Vincent Dlamini slotted a relatively easy penalty goal (20-7).

Big Jeppe replacement forward Cole de Jager was sin-binned for an offence near the replacement benches on halfway line and Queens took full advantage when replacement forward Uhuru Vanda broke free from a scrum of bodies to breach the tryline (20-12).

Right at the death the Jeppe pack mounted a series of drives near the Queens tryline but the spirited Eastern Cape lads held out for the final score to read: Jeppe 20 Queens 12.

Game 4: Noord-Kaap (12) 24

Maritzburg College (10) 24

The match exploded when Noord-Kaap took the ball wide and left at speed, but College wingers Lindo Ngcobo (right) and BJ Ngwenya (left) snuffed out the threat in a corner flag gang tackle.

The relief was short-lived as powerful NK flanker Nico Graaff smashed over soon after (5-0).

The big question was whether College could find the energy to put together another stirring physical and mental effort as was so in evidence during their epic 18-10 win over the fancied Grey High School team in Saturday’s main match.

It was immediately evident that the heart was in the right place and the bodies appeared more than willing, but playing into the wind in the first half was always going to be difficult.

NK centre Henry van Zyl’s 45-metre penalty sailed just wide — and the rugby gods smiled on College once again when Van Zyl dropped a pass from right wing Leon Becker with nothing but the tryline in front of him.

The crowd erupted when College broke from deep and the ball went through seven pairs of hands before the move was stopped by desperate NK defence. The world’s number one referee, Maritzburg College old boy Craig Joubert, awarded the red, black and white a penalty, which Marcel Coet­zee converted (5-3).

However, NK still had the edge and rangy lock forward and vice-captain Lehan Muller drove over soon after — and this time Van Zyl made no mistake (12-3).

It was vital that College score before the half-time break and so they did, mauling over the line in textbook fashion, number eight Darryn Goodsen emerging with the ball. Coetzee converted with aplomb, the score reading 12-10 to Noord-Kaap at the changeover.

The stern words of College head coach Ryan Strudwick and consultant Kevin Smith just before the seven-pointer had worked a treat and it was now up to the red, black and white to produce more of the same in the second half.

College scrumhalf Lukas Booysen broke free and the crowd anticipated more joy, but NK survived.

Then the Kimberley lads’ right wing Leon Becker appeared all but through a few plays later, only to be the object of a magnificent try-saving tackle by his smaller, but supremely courageous counterpart, BJ Ngwenya. However, Ngwenya was sin-binned a little later and Becker had the last say for his side’s third touchdown (17-10).

College dredged up one last smidgeon of courage and took the ball right, only for a deliberate NK tap-down of what would have been the try-scoring pass. Referee Joubert immediately awarded a penalty try, which Coetzee converted for the scoreboard to signal 17-17.

And there was a huge roar not long after when College right wing Lindo Ngcobo finished off a fine move under the posts. Coetzee’s conversion took College into a 24-17 lead, but NK were not done yet and flanker Luaan Dowie crashed over under the crossbar. Flyhalf Guillermo Minnie converted for this thrill-a-minute match.

Game 5: Affies (12) 31

Grey High (3) 3

The immense meaning that this match had for both teams was amplified in the opening minutes when both teams had players banished to the sin-bin by referee Andrew Nicholson for over-robust play.

Grey flyhalf Richie Bryant opened the scoring with a straightforward penalty goal (3-0) before Affies flyhalf Dale Hendricks touched down under the sticks for an opportunistic try that halfback partner Ivan van Zyl turned into a seven-pointer (7-3).

The game was now on and the immensely talented Jurie Linde carved Grey open to allow winger Tiaan Schmulian to do the honours in the corner (12-3).

With the classy Affies team leading 12-3 as the second half started, Grey had a massive task on their hands, and it was made even harder when Affies flank Derik Bezuidenhout nailed a touchdown, which was converted by scrumhalf Van Zyl (19-3).

Grey put in an enormous effort and deserved a try or two in this intensely physical encounter that saw tempers flaring at times, but Affies found the extra gear when needed.

Bezuidenhout added a second try before the twinkle-toed Linde carved a try of his own, and Van Zyl converted once for the final score to read a somewhat flattering 31-3. But there was never really a doubt that this match was going the way of the fabled Wit Bulle of Pretoria.

The final day’s action in this FNB Maritzburg College 150th Rugby Festival — the highlight of the school’s 150th Winter Sports Festival — begins tomorrow at 9 am.

The Husqvarna Skonk Nicholson Rugby Festival for U16 and U14 teams from all across the country takes place Friday and Saturday, and is the third and final leg of the Maritzburg College 150th Winter Sports Festival.

Wednesday’s Fixtures:

9.00 Dale vs Affies; 10.20 Grey vs KZN Development XV; 11.40 Rondebosch vs Jeppe; 13.00 Monnas vs Noord-Kaap; 14.20 Queens vs Maritzburg College.

Hockey Results:

St Johns 1 Selborne 1; Michaelhouse 2 St Andrews 1; Grey High 1 Jeppe 0; Hilton 5 KES 3; Wynberg 4 Maritzburg College 0; Pretoria Boys’ High 2 Millfield (UK) 2.

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