College set to dominate

2014-03-25 00:00

IT was a weekend where St Charles came within an inch of causing a major upset in their match against Hilton College, while Maritzburg College suggested that they are in for a long overdue season of dominance as they dismantled a courageous Northwood. Glenwood, also fancied to be one of the province’s more competitive outfits, got through a tough encounter against Michaelhouse in their first home game of the season, while Kearsney sneaked home in a thriller against Westville.


Taking advantage of the long weekend, this match took place at Goldstones on Friday.

The home side ran in two tries in each half and used the strength of their forwards to dominate what was their first competitive match of the season.

Both first-half tries came from driving lineouts, where flanker Renard le Roux dotted down twice and centre Marcel Coetzee converted both scores.

The visitors, under the mentorship of former Sharks assistant Grant Bashord, stayed in the game with two first-half penalties from the boot of inside-centre Dawid Weesma.

But that was all the joy that the Durban lads would have as the second half saw Coetzee single-handedly add an additional 17 unanswered points — two tries, two conversions and a penalty — to the scoreline. This left College’s number 13 with an impressive 21 points for the match.

“We are obviously very happy with the result, under the circumstances,” said College coach Ryan Strudwick, making reference to the fact that this was the first time his side had played together.

“We gave away 18 free-kicks and penalties, and that is an area that we need to address. It is clear that we need more match time. We struggled to get through our phases. The good news is that our defence was solid, and we never conceded any tries.”

Much is expected of this year’s College side, who have gone undefeated since they played together in U14.

“It is disappointing because we were in the game at half time,” Bashford told The Witness. “Our set piece didn’t function as well as it should have. We are still working up this team, and it is not all doom and gloom.”

Northwood will have as many as seven regular first teamers playing again next year, suggesting that the side will only get better in the weeks to come.


This match was played in uncomfortably hot conditions on Saturday.

The home side came close, but they will rue the first 20 minutes as it was the visitors who got off on the strongest foot thanks to errors made by the St Charles boys. Hilton’s ball retention was impressive, and though St Charles managed to get back into the match once they had settled, they went into the break 16-13 down.

The second half was more evenly contested, and the Hilton lads — in their first fixture of the season — began to tire. But their defence was resilient as they held on for the slenderest of wins. For the hosts, fullback Thando Dlamini racked up 16 points with a try, conversion and three penalties.


Michaelhouse gave a good account of themselves in Glenwood’s first home game of the season, nearly pulling off an upset win.

Despite having the advantage in the territory and possession stakes, Glenwood could not convert this into points on the board as they allowed Michaelhouse too much turnover ball and freedom to run.

This ultimately hurt Glenwood as Michaelhouse wing Liam Furniss dived over in the corner midway through the half after some sharp handling saw the ball spread out wide.

The try was unconverted and the visitors carried their five-point advantage into the break.

With Michaelhouse hooker Bradley Roberts yellow carded just before half time, the boys in red and white started the second period with 14 men and plenty of character. They extended their lead when flyhalf Bader Pretorius added a penalty and with Glenwood missing numerous penalties of their own, they decided to kick for the corners and launch their attack from the lineout.

The ploy worked as they were rewarded with three tries — flank James Venter, prop Kenny van Niekerk and No 8 Jaco Coetzee — crossing the whitewash.

Flyhalf Curtis Jonas added one conversion but it was hard work for Glenwood, who had to come from 11-5 down as Pretorius kept Michaelhouse ahead and in the game.

The Midlands team were 14-10 ahead with minutes remaining but with lock Gary Porter yellow carded, Glenwood set up a line out to score a seven-pointer, thereby taking the lead for the first time in the match and taking the win.


This was a humdinger, the result in the balance right to the death as the pendulum swung one way and then the other.

Kearsney were coming off a 19-11 win against Northwood the previous week, while Westville could only get better after a hefty 32-15 loss to the powerful Glenwood outfit.

Westville made four changes for the trip to Botha’s Hill, while Kearsney brought in David Brown to replace tighthead prop Matthew Maddock.

Both sides tested each other’s lines of defence early on, asking questions but unable to execute properly and turn opportunities into points.

Kearsney scrumhalf James Hall broke the deadlock with a monster 62-metre penalty to put the home side 3-0 ahead, a lead they took into the break after Westville flyhalf Kyan Braithwaite missed a chance to level matters.

Braithwaite made amends early in the second period but Kearsney forged ahead with the only try of the match from flanker Anthony Quenet after a Westville kick was charged down. Kearsney flyhalf Tristan Tedder added the extras to take Kearsney to a 10-3 advantage.

Two further penalties from Braithwaite brought Westville to within a point (10-9) and late in the match, he slotted his fourth three-pointer to give the visitors a 12-10 lead.

It seemed enough as the clock ticked down with less than two minutes remaining but pressure from the kick off by Kearsney saw a mistake by Westville that allowed Tedder to apply the killer blow, the ball sailing between the uprights from the resulting penalty, sinking Westville hearts.


This match took place in midweek, and was the first time that the schools have met in a number of years. DHS had lost to Port Natal a few days earlier, and were clinical as they cantered to a comprehensive victory in wet weather.

Centre Blessing Buthelezi was particularly impressive for the hosts, running at the Campbell defence without a fear in the world and looking unstoppable for much of the fixture.

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