Top-ranked schools too close to call

2013-06-01 00:00

SOME of the school rugby matches amongst the top schools today could be fairly one-sided, as they match the top ranked teams against the lesser ones. There are, however, three games where the result is in the balance.

For rugby lovers, a trip up the hill to Hilton could be rewarding, as the home side will be playing Maritzburg College. Both the teams have had similar results against common opponents. They both beat George Campbell, Hilton by 29 points and College by 17 points. Against Northwood, Hilton won by 10 points and College by 13 points. The third team both beat was Michaelhouse, Hilton by 30 points, while College won by 14 points. Both lost against Glenwood, Hilton by 12 points and College by four points.

The Hilton forwards have surprised this season, holding if not outplaying most of their opposition. College’s forwards have also been their main strength and they will again hope to dominate in the exchanges. Hilton captain and scrumhalf Cameron Wright is their trump card and if he is allowed, he can control the game with long passes, darting runs and high relieving kicks.

It promises to be played at pace, with plenty of flowing movement. The final outcome will likely be determined by the side which dominates in the forwards and makes the least mistakes with the ball in hand.

Another tight match is at Glenwood where they will be hosting Monument from Krugersdorp. The only team that they have both played is HTS Drostdy. Glenwood lost 31-34 in the first Festival of the season at Potchefstroom, while Monument beat them 36-14 three weeks ago. Glenwood have shown much improvement since the early season while their visitors have not been as consistent as usual. Monument will probably be stronger in the forwards but the Glenwood backs should be more skilled and have that extra pace, although they will need to get good ball.

The match at St Charles, where they are playing Northwood, could also be well contested. Northwood have the bigger side but St Charles arguably have the greater tenacity. Both have lost more matches than they have won although the Durban team’s losses have not been as great. The two sides they have both played are George Campbell and Kearsney. Northwood beat Campbell and lost by 30 points against Kearsney. St Charles lost narrowly against Campbell and lost by 55 points against Kearsney. This does point to a Northwood win, but the Saints will fight to the end.

Kearsney should win their game very comfortably against visitors DHS, the latter having struggled this season. Kearsney are at present the top-ranked side in KZN, whereas DHS are close to the bottom of the top 10 schools in KZN.

Westville at home is always a difficult match and, as visitors Michaelhouse have not reached the heights achieved in the last number of years, the home side should have an easy win. The biggest danger to Westville will be complacency and if that does occur, Michaelhouse could come close.

Selected fixtures (home side first): Hilton v Maritzburg College; Glenwood v Monument; St Charles v Northwood; Kearsney v DHS; Westville v Michaelhouse; Empangeni v George Campbell; Port Natal v Voortrekker; Pinetown v Clifton; Kloof v St Henrys; Howick v Greytown; Hillcrest v Thomas More; Treverton v Wartburg; Kingsway v Port Shepstone

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