Westville, Kearsney claim first blood in Rugby season openers

2015-03-17 00:00

THE 2015 schoolboy rugby season got under way last weekend with a number of KZN schools doing battle around the province.

Hilton College made an impressive start to the season after a lacklustre 2014 but went down to Westville 11-6 at Bowden’s Field. Meanwhile the Green Machine Glenwood were trumped 13-11 by Kearsney in a tightly fought affair.

St Charles travelled to Bloemfontein to take on St Andrew’s and repeated last year’s good fortunes, beating the hosts 18-10 on Saturday. DHS kicked off their season with a comfortable 49-5 win over Port Natal.

Westville 11-6 Hilton

The Midlands side travelled to ­Westville on Saturday and the school suffered on the rugby field, with 19 of their 20 sides losing out to the hosts.

But the 1st team match was far from a walkover and both sides were defensively strong. But some early season nerves led to a high-error rate during the match, which accounted for the low score line.

Hilton had the first opportunity to score in the first half after an excellent passage of play just after the 10 minute mark. Quick ball and some neat handling between forwards and backs needed to be finished off, but a knock-on near the tryline ended that chance.

But flyhalf Daniel Hirschowitz eventually opened the scoring for Hilton with a well taken penalty. Westville hit back with two penalties from centre Niel van Rooyen to take a 6-3 lead at the break.

Hirschowitz brought his side back into the running, drawing his side level with another penalty to make it 6-all early in the second half.

Hilton were unlucky to not score the first try of the game when number eight Sebastian Desvaux de Merigny had the ball dislodged from his hands as he dove over for a try.

Westville were more clinical when their opportunity to score finally arrived. Kicking for the corner after winning a scrum penalty, Westville had their lineout turned over by Hilton flank Nkanyiso Nzimande who slapped the ball back to his team’s side.

But Westville’s lock Zane Heyneke pounced on the loose ball and made a run for the tryline but was brought down just short of the whitewash. But the ­go-forward saw the hosts produce quick ball and prop Jordan Els crashed over in the right corner to convert Westville’s only visit to Hilton’s 22 during the half. Van Rooyen was unable to convert from the right touchline, leaving the final score 11-6.

Hilton did their best to try score from a few chances in the last 10 minutes, but the host’s resolute defence saw them hold on for their first win of the season. Westville’s 2nd XV beat Hilton 19-3, while the visitors’ 16A recorded the only win for their school, winning 18-13 in the final minute of the game.

Kearsney 13-11 Glenwood

Kearsney played host to high school heavyweights Glenwood and completely turned around their fortunes after losing to the Green Machine 86-13 last year. The hosts beat the visitors 13-11 in a tightly contested affair.

The match was played in hot and humid conditions, which made handling difficult. The hosts drew first blood, scoring two penalties in the first 10 minutes through James Tedder.

But Glenwood’s pacey outside backs and big forwards played most of the ­rugby in the first half, but were well met by a hungry defensive effort from the hosts — denying them the chance to score any tries.

Kearsney soon had another kickable penalty but captain Tristan Dixon opted for a scrum, which proved fruitful. The hosts struck with a planned strike move to score their only try of the match, which Tedder converted to give his side a 13-0 lead 20 minutes into the game.

Glenwood struck back with a penalty through flyhalf Jerome Bossr just before half time, making it 13-3 at the break.

The visitors hit back first in the second half with another Bossr penalty, while his team-mates continued to dominate the collisions. Both sides kicked fairly often and the slippery humid conditions led to a number of errors.

Glenwood then had the upper hand when Kearsney hooker Joshua van ­Vuuren was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul. The visitors used the one man advantage to score a try through outside centre Donovan du Rand, bringing them within two points of the hosts.

Bossr’s conversion sailed agonisingly wide and Kearsney maintained their two point lead.

The hosts managed to hold on to the slender lead to avenge the class of 2014, starting their season with a hard-fought win.

St Charles 18-10 St Andrew’s

Bloemfontein

St Charles travelled to the Free State for the second consecutive year and managed to trump the hosts in hot and windy conditions. The weather made life difficult for both sides and the match turned out to be a stop-start affair.

Both sides were unable to build any momentum but Saints dominated the lineouts, winning all but two of their own while stealing three-quarters of the hosts’ lineouts.

The visitors will rue their inability to score from at least five try-scoring opportunities but will have to suffice with a priceless win outside the province.

William Squires and Duncan du ­Buisson scored for Saints, while Jeremy Davidson slotted two penalties and one conversion.

St Charles now prepare for the St John’s Easter Rugby Festival from April 1 to 6. They are set to play Jeppe, St Benedict’s and Italian side Viadana.

Other results:

DHS 49-5 Port Natal

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