Kearsney-Michaelhouse tie could come down to battle of flyhalves

2014-06-14 00:00

ALTHOUGH this weekend is an extended one for many with Monday (Youth Day) a public holiday, there are still some interesting schoolboy rugby clashes that should glean their fair share of interest and support.

Top of the pile is Kearsney hosting Michaelhouse, on Kearsney’s Old Boys’ Day. In following the rotation of playing at home one year and away the next, the fixture should have been up at Balgowan, but Michaelhouse agreed to make the journey to Botha’s Hill, where they will no doubt be met by a vocal and supportive crowd favouring the boys in maroon and white.

Both sides have enjoyed consistent seasons, Michaelhouse coming off a heart-breaking, extra-time one-point loss to Maritzburg College last week on Meadows and Kearsney a strong showing against DHS.

With home ground advantage and the backing of their old boys, Kearsney will feel they have to perform and with their style of running rugby, always looking to exploit the defence and capitalise on a gap, will take the game to Michaelhouse.

The latter will be confident after running College so close, but will be mindful of a few injuries that could hamper their progress. For Kearsney, this will be the last match on Stott Field for some of the players and nothing but a win will suffice.

However, it won’t be a clear-cut affair. Michaelhouse have proven to be great scrummagers this season, backed by solid lineout work and the ability to carry the ball over the advantage line, leading to efficient recycling and phase play. Kearsney will have to be mindful of this and call on their forwards to match the visitors in this department if they want solid ball from which to allow their backs a run.

Although Michaelhouse have some injuries in their backline, they are capable of moving the ball through quick hands and their showdown with their Kearsney counterparts, known to score tries from defensive and so-called “nothing” positions, should ensure an afternoon of running and pulsating rugby.

This match could come down to the battle of the flyhalves, Kearsney’s Tristan Tedder and House’s Bader Pretorius both having proved their pedigree as gifted players throughout the season, able to control a game and turn it in their side’s favour.

This is a tough one to call, but the two No 10s could be the difference between winning and losing, come the final whistle.

Westville travel to Hilton, where the home side will be keen to put points on the board against an opposition who have been tricky in past years.

Whether home or away, the sides tend to deliver high-scoring affairs and Hilton will welcome the opportunity to keep the scoreboard rolling. Westville come off a big win against Port Natal and will have to dig a little deeper this time around against a Hilton side shell-shocked by Glenwood last week.

Playing on home turf should boost Hilton’s confidence and if they can take Westville on with slick, hard running and accurate goal kicking, this should be a competitive encounter.

Glenwood host Durban North neighbours Northwood and should prove too strong on home ground. Northwood have had a frustrating season, at times producing the goods and chalking up strong results, only to take their foot off the pedal and look a little ordinary in games they should have won.

Their forwards can provide a strong platform, but the whole side will have to play hard for the full 70 minutes against a Glenwood side fresh from the big win against Hilton and littered with Craven Week players. The key for Northwood is to maintain pressure, defend strongly and use the ball well when it comes their way.

DHS host Maritzburg College where both sides will have a point to prove. College would have learnt from their great escape against Michaelhouse and will want to stamp their authority early in the game, thereby staying ahead and easing the pressure, while DHS will want to storm back after losing to Kearsney. DHS always enjoy strong support at home and they will need every ounce of it today. Again, home ground is an advantage, but it’s the numbers on the board that count when the game is over.

In what should be another entertaining clash, Clifton host St Charles. Both sides have provided moments and results to remember this season and are not scared to throw the ball around. The object is to put points on the board and the winners here should be the outfit that heads the possession stakes, enjoying the bulk of having ball in hand.


Kearsney v Michaelhouse, Hilton v Westville, DHS v College, Glenwood v Northwood, Clifton v St Charles

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