Pretoria schools win

2011-08-02 00:00

THE two KwaZulu-Natal school rugby sides, the only ones in the province that are still playing rugby, both lost against Pretoria opposition. Glenwood at home had the more difficult match against Affies, currently ranked second in the country. Maritzburg College travelled to Pretoria and were expected to win against Pretoria Boys’ High School, after beating them at the end of the first term.

 

Glenwood 9 Affies 18

This was another brave display by the KZN boys against the heavy Affies pack, the front row of which would not disgrace a Super 15 team. Perhaps Affies players were not quite as sharp as they were last week at College, but it still required first-time tackling to prevent the big boys from gaining momentum.

This Glenwood did particularly well, with tackling around the ankles, bringing them thudding to the ground. There were few weaknesses in the Glenwood defence, but centre Dean Moolman must be singled out for his devastating tackles. The visitors made some uncharacteristic handling errors, probably brought on by the pressure exerted by the Glenwood tackling.

The longer the game progressed the better the home side performed, but the Affies defence did not waver and a number of attempts that Glenwood had of reaching the tryline were repulsed.

Glenwood held up well in the scrums and won their fair share of line-outs. It was their backline, however, that outshone the Pretoria opposition and made inroads with some enterprising running. Affies were the better side after scoring two tries, both in the first half without reply, but the Affies forwards became more ponderous in the latter stages and had less effect on the play.

When a wave of Affies players swept down field ending with lock Nico Janse van Rensburg barging over in the corner in the second minute, it looked ominous for the home side. But it was not until the 34th minute that Affies could cross the Glenwood line again.

This time it was flank Bernie Roux who finished off, scoring from a ruck close to the tryline, from where he was difficult to stop. Fullback Henco Deale converted, to add to an earlier penalty, for Affies’ 15 points at the break. Siyabonga Tom, SA Schools wing, converted a difficult angled penalty after two earlier misses for Glenwood’s three points.

Affies were penalised heavily, with Glenwood having twice as many penalties awarded to them, particularly in the second half. Tom added a further six points in the first 10 minutes of the half, bringing Glenwood within one score of causing an upset. The crowd support for the home side, particularly the war cries and singing from the Glenwood boys, just couldn’t get their side across the line. A penalty in the 33rd minute by Deale made the game safe for Affies.

When the final whistle blew, Affies were probably more relieved that they had not lost, whereas Glenwood would have been disappointed but they could hold their heads high after a good and brave display.

 

Pretoria BHS 34 Maritzburg College 24

The College backline is where most of their strength lies and if they do not get good ball then they struggle. This happened on Saturday when the home side was quicker to the breakdown and dominated the line-outs. When College did get the ball it was usually slow and the Pretoria defence was ready.

College were fairly flat-footed, perhaps due to their brave performance against Affies last week. It was a game where they did themselves little favours, however, with unforced errors and again a woeful line-out display.

PBHS produced their best display on the field this season and they were hungrier for a win than their visitors from KZN. To their credit, College did come back from being 10-22 behind midway in the second half. Playing catch-up rugby, particularly away from home, is never easy.

At half-time it was College that were relieved by the three-all score, while the hosts were disappointed that they had not made more of their advantage with both possession and territory that they had enjoyed in the half. Jesse Kriel landed a penalty for a 3-0 lead in the third minute. Boys High replied with a drop goal for the 3-3 score line.

It was inevitable that PBHS would score the first try, but College came back with a converted try by Ethan Marais to lead 10-8. Pretoria scored two further converted tries to lead 22-10.

A marvellous individual effort by Kriel saw him break the line and score, and with his second conversion the gap narrowed to 17-22. Two quick tries in the last five minutes pushed the score to 34-17 before Lwazi Sithole scored for College in the last minute, again converted by Kriel, for a more respectable 24-34 score line.

It was a game that was enjoyed by the spectators, for both sides were willing to run the ball from all parts of the field and the game was a good advert for schoolboy rugby.

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