Schools evenly poised

2015-03-24 00:00

LAST weekend marked the second round of schoolboy rugby action in the province while a number of schools played their first fixtures of the season. It is becoming apparent that schools are far more evenly matched this year as was reflected by a couple of close results.

Michaelhouse 18-13 Glenwood

Glenwood travelled up to the Midlands to take on Michaelhouse. Having lost to Kearsney by one point just a week before, the Durban boys were looking for a win to get their season back on track.

Conversely, the House boys faced a tough task in what was their first match of the season but a titanic arm-wrestle saw the hosts win 18-13.

Michaelhouse drew first blood in the first half with flyhalf Bader Pretorius slotting a drop-goal after his side had earned a penalty advantage.

But the visitors came back with a converted try through left wing Ilunga Mukendi. Glenwood forced a turn-over from the kick-off and the ensuing play was finished off by Mukendi while Glenwood flyhalf Jerome Bossr converted to make it 7-3.

But the hosts gained the territorial advantage on Meadows and fullback Liam Furniss sliced through the Glenwood midfield to score an unconverted try for the hosts to take a one-point lead.

But Bossr’s trusty boot helped Glenwood regain the lead with a penalty just before half time to make it 10-8.

The hosts benefitted from more possession in the second half but both teams traded penalties which gave Glenwood a 13-11 lead for much of the second stanza.

But the hosts managed to break the visitors’ hearts after building some pressure late in the match. Michaelhouse shifted the ball wide and right wing Frank Goble dotted down for his team’s second try, which Pretorius converted to leave the score 18-13.

But the Green Machine were not finished and attacked the host’s try line for the last four minutes of the match. Glenwood nearly scored, but Furniss put in a match-winning tackle and held up the ball to deny the visitors the winning try.

Maritzburg College 15-10 DHS

College hosted DHS on Goldstones in their first match of the rugby season. ­Despite sweltering conditions, both teams battled it out in an entertaining match that saw the hosts hold on for a 15-10 win.

A smaller College side were under the cosh in the first half as the DHS boys threw everything at them. But the hosts opted to play for territory which meant DHS had to attack from deep. College soon opened the scoring through a Ruben van Blerk penalty to make it 3-0 half way through the first stanza.

The Durban outfit replied soon after with a penalty of their own — but the rest of the half was soured by a high penalty count, which curtailed the match from flowing freely and the halftime score read 3-3.

College came out firing in the second half and found themselves with a lineout on DHS’s five-metre line. The hosts took their own throw and set up a driving maul which barged over the line. But the Maritzburg boys were adjudged to have made a double movement and the try was disallowed.

DHS struck soon after off a scrum just inside the hosts’ half. A grubber was gathered by DHS which saw them go over for the first try of the match to make it 10-3.

But College quickly regrouped and reaped rewards after a long period of phase play as Xolisa Guma scored in the corner, which Van Blerk converted to make it 10-all.

DHS found themselves in trouble after one of their players was sent to the sin bin after repeated offside play. The hosts capitalised through scrumhalf Kyle Bowman, who picked up the ball from the base of a scrum on the DHS 22-metre line. Bowman sprinted to the corner to score an unconverted try leaving the score line at 15-10.

The hosts held onto their lead to retain the Skonk Nicholson trophy, which is played for annually between the two schools.

Kearsney 34-22 Hilton

Kearsney continued their good run of form after beating Glenwood last weekend to pip a visiting Hilton side on Botha’s Hill.

The hosts opened the scoring early on after Hilton conceded a penalty in the second ruck of the match. James Tedder slotted the penalty to take a 3-0 lead.

But Hilton struck next from a scrum just inside Kearsney’s 22-metre line. The visitors attacked the line through their inside centre but he was stopped just short. A neat little pass from the centre saw Hilton’s blindside wing over the line for a converted try to make it 7-3.

Both team’s kickers then swapped penalties to stretch the visitors lead to 10-6.

Kearsney then gifted Hilton their ­second try after botching a kickoff catch. Hilton attacked through their forwards before their scrumhalf scored for their second converted try.

But the hosts applied pressure off the ensuing kickoff. Some good defensive work saw Hilton penalised and Kearsney hooker Joshua van Vuuren took a quick tap and scored, while Tedder slotted the conversion. The half time score read 17-13 to Hilton.

Kearsney opted to play for territory in the second stanza, which led to the first of three second-half tries. Outside centre Matthew Watts rounded off seven phases of play to score in the corner, which Tedder converted.

The hosts attacked five minutes later from a lineout just inside their half and a huge lineout drive saw Tedder break off to score a try that he converted himself.

But Hilton struck back again through their replacement flyhalf, who powered through a tackle to score an unconverted try to reduce the deficit to 27-22.

Kearsney kicked deep from the restart and Hilton decided to run the ball from deep in their half. But Watts intercepted a long pass and scored, while Tedder converted to leave the final score reading 34-22 to the hosts.

Westville 29-7 Northwood

Westville scored four tries to beat hosts Northwood in very hot conditions on Saturday.

Northwood got the game off to a positive start by scoring first after Westville’s lock JP Pelser copped a yellow card. The host’s scrumhalf Jason Fuhri sniped through a hole in the Westville defence and ran half the field to score under the posts, while flyhalf Jasey van Kampen slotted the conversion.

But Westville struck back soon after. Flank Devon Muller broke off the back of a strong driving maul to score in the left corner but flyhalf Niel van Rooyen was unable to convert.

With the wind in their faces, Westville kept things tight, which led to Northwood conceding penalties. The visitors kicked for the line on one occasion and the ensuing lineout led to their second try — the visitors secured their lineout ball and spread the ball wide. Centre Brogan Boulle made a break and put fullback Shane Ball through to score under the posts for a converted try. Not long after, Van Rooyen extended their lead with a penalty after Northwood conceded another penalty.

The hot conditions took their toll in the second half, leading to an error-strewn half. But Westville scored two more tries through locks Pelser and Bell, while Van Rooyen converted both to make it 29-7.

Northwood attacked with venom and pressured the visitors for a sustained period. But Westville’s defence remained resolute and they kept the Northwood boys from scoring again.

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