Glenwood’s clash with College is the pick of the weekend

2014-05-24 00:00

WITH the private schools enjoying their mid-term long weekend, Dixon’s field at Glenwood is the place to be today for the showdown between Glenwood and College.

In recent years, this encounter has become one to savour, with both sides going hammer and tongs to prove their superiority.

Today should be no different and, while Glenwood pulled off the double last year with wins at home and at College, it’s worth remembering that in 2012, both home and away matches ended in draws.

College arrive in Durban on the back of a strong 29-17 win against Kearsney last week, and their only loss of the season to date has been a one-point difference against Wynberg Boys’ High at the St Stithians Festival over Easter.

Coach Ryan Strudwick knows his charges are in for a tough afternoon.

“This is always a massive game, as Glenwood is a top side that has had the better of results against us in recent seasons,” he said. “It’s going to be difficult to pick a winner. Our focus will be on our defence, and to stop them running. We need to play direct and percentage rugby.”

Strudwick added that injuries have reared their head and he is using his third-choice scrumhalf and flyhalf. “That is not quite what the doctor ordered, but we have great depth and I have confidence in our replacements,” he said.

Glenwood went through the motions last weekend with a resounding 65-3 win against neighbours Port Natal, but that can hardly be compared to what is on the table today.

The “Green Machine” has enjoyed a solid season to date, winning both matches at the Grey PE Festival and all three at Kearsney’s Easter Festival. On the local front they are unbeaten, but came unstuck at the Wildeklawer Festival at the end of April, dropping games against Waterkloof and Outeniqua.

“It’s never great to lose but we played strong sides at Wildeklawer and have learnt from the losses,” said Glenwood coach Rudi Dames.

“When two huge sides like this collide, it’s the one that takes its opportunities best that wins. It’s hard to predict how it will transpire, but we will match College physically and in every department.”

Home ground is massive for Glenwood and this is a match that could be determined by the bounce of the ball or a moment of individual brilliance.

Further up the road, Northwood host DHS in what should be an entertaining clash of the two local sides.

DHS have had an up-and-down season but will be encouraged by a narrow three-point loss to Hilton last weekend, at Hilton, while Northwood will be keen to repair the loss at home to Michaelhouse.

Northwood’s forwards can only be better than the five tightheads conceded against Michaelhouse, and Northwood coach Grant Bashford will be looking for nothing less than being ahead on the scoreboard come the final whistle. He cited the team’s over-confidence as their downfall and no doubt would have had stern words this week in preparing his side for today’s clash.

DHS have nothing to lose and will be keen to prove they are stronger than their Durban North counterparts. A win away from home will boost their confidence enormously.

Westville Boys’ High welcome KES to Bowden’s today, and while the visitors were on the wrong end of a defeat by Affies last week, they cannot be discarded or taken lightly.

“On their day, KES can be tricky and we need to be on the button to remain focused on the day,” said Westville coach Grant Bell.

“KES have some good players and they keep their game nice and tight. Our mission will be to monitor their pack and, if the weather permits, the game could see both sides full of running.”

Westville are renowned for their style of running rugby and today will be no different. The side had a bye last week which has disrupted momentum, and three regular forwards are out for the season with ankle and knee injuries.

However, the show goes on, and Bell is confident that the team who run out today can claim the spoils.

Today’s matches: Glenwood vs College, Northwood vs DHS, Westville vs KES, Clifton College vs St Andrews, Port Natal vs Richards Bay, George Campbell vs Voortrekker.

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