Westville and College in ‘clash of the weekend’

2014-06-21 00:00

WESTVILLE Boys’ High School round off their season in a home encounter against Maritzburg College today in what should be the clash of the weekend, while the Glenwood and Kearsney match in Durban will also attract a healthy crowd.

Hilton travel to Port Natal, Michaelhouse host St Charles and Voortrekker welcome Clifton.

College make the trip to the coast to take on Westville in what is the latter’s final match of the season, with both teams enjoying good, consistent form of late.

After a rocky start to their season, Westville have gelled well as a unit, their forwards and backs playing enterprising rugby and taking control of matches early on.

Westville trot out for the match on the back of two big wins against Port Natal and Hilton, while College are also enjoying a purple patch, hitting their straps against Hilton and in their last match against DHS.

Coaches from both sides are expecting a tough encounter and, while Westville have home-ground advantage, recent results between the sides have shown the visiting team to have the upper hand.

“In the last two fixtures, we have won in Pietermaritzburg and College have won on our patch,” said Westville coach Grant Bell. “I am expecting a hard, close encounter between two sides who will match each other in all departments.”

Ryan Strudwick, College’s coach, knows Westville will fight to the end. “It’s always tough playing Westville and with us travelling, it adds more pressure,” he said. “We do have confidence after our recent form but it’s a hard game to call.”

Westville will most likely be without their Craven Week centre Wayne Smith but Bell is confident the loss will not rattle his troops.

College welcome back leading try scorer flank Goi le Roux from bronchitis and prop Tiaan Steyn is injured.

While Westville will want to round off their season on a high in front of their passionate home support, College face a third term of tough fixtures, playing Pretoria Boys’ High School and Grey Bloem away, while welcoming Glenwood and Affies to Goldstones.

The match kicks off at 3 pm.

Glenwood host Kearsney, with the match being played at the UKZN Campus, allowing Glenwood’s fields to recover ahead of hosting the U13 Craven Week.

The hosts have enjoyed two weekends of rampant rugby, passing the 50 mark against Hilton and Northwood, but Kearsney, keen to put right the heavy loss to Michaelhouse at Kearsney’s Old Boys’ Day last week, are expected to make the hosts work for their points.

“This will definitely be a tougher game than what we have had in recent weeks and it will take hard work to get the desired result,” said Glenwood coach Rudi Dames. “The last four matches between the sides have all been close, a few points separating the sides, and Kearsney will be smarting after last week. We cannot take them lightly.”

While the match is seen as a home encounter for Glenwood, they will be playing on unfamiliar turf at the Varsity ground, but Dames does not see this bothering his players.

“We can only control the controllables and, while playing at home is always what we want, we have to deal with what comes our way, put it out our minds and concentrate on the task at hand,” he said.

An area of concern for Dames, which he cannot afford to let happen in today’s match, was Glenwood taking their foot off the pedal when they had done the hard work in building a decent advantage.

Last week, they were outscored 24-14 in the second half by Northwood and Dames said he had focused on this in training leading up to today’s meeting.

“It’s a mental thing thinking you have enough points on the board and the other side won’t catch you. It tends to happen but we can’t afford this today.”

Injury to Craven Week number eight Jaco Coetzee is a blow for the “Green Machine” but Michael Palvie is a more than capable replacement.

Kearsney will no doubt put last week’s game in file 13 and with their exciting backs, match Glenwood in moving the ball, creating opportunities and crossing the advantage line.

The match kicks off at 2.30 pm on Varsity 1.

In other matches, Hilton meet Port Natal in Durban and should relish the opportunity to put points on the board ahead of the traditional clash against Michaelhouse next week at Hilton; Michaelhouse host St Charles; Voortrekker welcome Clifton and Hilton’s seconds take on George Campbell firsts.

Weekend fixtures: Westville v Maritzburg College; Glenwood v Kearsney; Port Natal v Hilton; Michaelhouse v St Charles; Voortrekker v Clifton; Hilton II v George Campbell; Kloof v Hillcrest.

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