Odds should favour travelling KZN sides

2014-08-02 00:00

GLENWOOD and Maritzburg College are on the road this weekend, playing Affies and Pretoria Boys’ High School (PBHS) respectively.

It’s never easy travelling across the Vaal River and playing at altitude takes some adjusting. Home-ground advantage for Affies and PBHS gives them the edge mentally, but ultimately, it’s the numbers on the scoreboard that count.

For the two KZN teams, atmosphere in their camps could not be more contrasting. Glenwood, having stamped their authority on the KZN schoolboy rugby circuit with some dominating performances, come off a 12-29 loss to Grey Bloem last week, while College snuffed out Affies 37-10.

Despite having to travel though, the odds should favour both KZN sides against opposition who have not been as dominant as previous seasons.

College looked sharp last week on Goldstones, never allowing Affies to settle and dominating the match from the first whistle. They notched up their first win against Affies since 2006 and they won by miles, Affies only hitting double figures late in the game.

They take on a PBHS side with only six wins from 19 outings, one of the losses earlier in the season to College in Pietermaritzburg, going down 42-28.

However, College coach Ryan Strudwick expects a different performance from the hosts this time around.

“We still have to do the work to come out on top,” he said. “Our previous result is history and PBHS is an improving side, despite what the stats suggest. We will have to be on top of our game and take charge as we did against Affies.”

That College win against Affies will give Glenwood the confidence boost they need. They were not disgraced against Grey and were ahead at half time. Constant defending and having to put in the tackles eventually took its toll as they ran out of juice toward the end, allowing Grey to draw ahead. The final score of 29-12 was, to some, a little inflated.

“We have worked on our stamina in training this week, focusing on playing the full 70 minutes,” said Glenwood coach Rudi Dames. “The players need to be reminded to maintain their intensity right to the end and against a side like Affies, that’s crucial.”

Affies have, by their own standards, had a poor season. In 13 matches they have lost six, including two at the Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival. On home turf, in front of their supporters, nothing less than a win will suffice today.

“Affies is always a challenge for us. They are physical and strong, always producing something special on their home patch,” said Dames.

“We have our full side today, including our two SA Schools players Morné Joubert (15) and Jaco Coetzee (No 8).

“The field is hard and dry and it’s key for us to control the game where we can, making possession and ball in hand count.”

This is Glenwood’s best chance to beat their Pretoria rivals and put last year’s heavy 53-23 loss on Dixon’s to bed.

Glenwood’s 2014 season:

Played 17, Won 13, Lost 4

Affies’ 2014 season

Played 13, Won 7, Lost 6

College’s 2014 season

Played 15, Won 11, Lost 2, Drawn 2

PBHS’s 2014 season

Played 19, Won 6, Lost 12, Drawn 1.

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