Best of the Sevens

2014-09-09 00:00

WESTVILLE Boys’ High School capped their solid rugby season by claiming the cup at the Photo­note Toshiba Glenwood Rugby Sevens on Saturday.

A highlight on the schools rugby calendar, the annual tournament saw 20 teams take to the field, divided into four pools of five. Some of the notable rugby schools were present, including the hosts, Maritzburg College, Hilton, Michaelhouse, Northwood and DHS, while there was the opportunity for schools such as Port Natal, George Campbell, St Charles, Port Shepstone and Kloof to showcase their skills in the shorter format of the game.

Having won a tournament at Hilton the previous week, Westville entered the fray a confident outfit, keen to perform. This they did, making light work of their pool matches before getting into the business end of affairs.

Drawn in the same pool as Pionier, Hilton, Sarel Cilliers and DHS B, they scored 109 points while conceding just 10, easily topping the standings. Teams winning their pools automatically qualified for the semi-finals, with other teams progressing to the plate, bowl or shield, depending on their results. Each team were guaranteed four matches and Westville awaited the winner of the Glenwood and St Charles match in Pool A to determine their semi-final opponents.

In a weekend of upset sports results, St Charles defeated Glenwood to leave themselves, Michaelhouse, DHS and Westville in the hunt for cup honours. Westville looked good against St Charles, keeping the ball and attacking wide while being stout in defence. They helped themselves to four tries, while St Charles took the game to them, scoring two unconverted tries.

However, Westville wanted more and ran out impressive 28-10 winners to secure their final berth against Michaelhouse who met DHS in the other semi. One of the tournament favourites, Michaelhouse was expected to progress with ease but DHS gave the performance of the day, the two sides locked at 19-19 after three minutes of sudden death play. It came down to whichever side scored the next try and it went Michaelhouse’s way, the first of two thrilling matches they would be involved in.

Those who were there would rate the final as one of the best seen at schoolboy sevens level. The skill and pace of the game from both sides was a sight to behold and it was Michaelhouse who took the early initiative, breaching Westville’s defence out wide twice with flyhalf Bader Pretorius doing the honours.

Westville fought back and ran in three tries courtesy of flyhalf Ruan Kotze, wing James Wheeler and centre Wayne Smith. Prop Kevin Smit converted two for Westville’s tally of 19 points. Michaelhouse scored the same number of tries but the usually reliable Pretorius could only add one conversion for his team’s 17 points. He missed a crucial two points which would have evened matters at 19-19.

With less than a minute remaining, Westville managed to secure the ball and let time run down, the victory celebrations starting when Smit booted the ball into touch to crown Westville the 2014 sevens champions.

Semi-finals: Glenwood Falcons 45 Hillcrest 0, St Benedicts 5 Sarel Cilliers 39, George Campbell 7 DHS B 19, Clifton 14 Kloof 5, Port Shepstone 17 Hilton 19, eThekwini 31 Northwood 7, Maritzburg College 15 Port Natal 12, Glenwood 28 Pioneer 10, Westville 28 St Charles 10, Michaelhouse 19 DHS 19 (MHS won by scoring next)

Bowl final: DHS B 28 Clifton 33

Shield final: Hilton 19 eThekwini 7

Plate final: Glenwood 26 PMB College 7

Final: Westville 19 Michaelhouse 17.

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