Midlands u20 make hard work count

2008-07-15 00:00

THE Midlands U20A rugby team showed on Saturday that persistence earns rewards.

Hosting North Coast Rhinos, Midlands won 21-14 in a tight affair.

Midlands had the better of exchanges from the outset and drew first blood with Ross Ashton’s penalty. Francois Laatz replied with a long-range kick.

Midlands, dominating the set-pieces, created space down the left and slick handling saw Jono van Rensburg create a two-on-one to put Vumani Mkhize away for a debut try.

Another Laatz long-range effort saw Midlands lead 8-6 at half-time. The second half again saw uncompromising tackles and tight defence.

Rhinos drew first blood with a Laatz try in the left-hand corner and the visitors took the lead at 11-8. Midlands drew level with a penalty from Conal Levin. Another Laatz penalty saw Rhinos back in front and although Midlands dominated field position and possession, the Rhinos defence kept them out.

Levin levelled the score once again via a penalty, yet Midlands missed four that would have put them in the clear. However, a converted try sealed it. A scrum awarded after a forward drive was held up. Pressure Midlands on opposition ball saw it shoot out the side and Chris Cousins scored near the posts. Ashton converted for Midlands’ 21-14 win.

Vumani Mkhize was the top Midlands backline player, while captain Blake Kyd’s leadership and scrumming again caught the eye.

Meanwhile, Hillcrest’s 30-22 defeat of Amanzimtoti suggests they are in a strong position to win First Division South and challenge First Division North winners Vryheid for the trophy.

Whether the winners will challenge Premier Division bottom club PMB Varsity for promotion/relegation is uncertain.

Varsity travel to Durban Collegians on Saturday for a postponed fixture that wraps up the Moor Cup.

The Premier Division Murray Cup then kicks off.

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