Rugby was the big winner

2014-04-22 00:00

YESTERDAY saw the final day of the Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival and those who spent some time on the side of Stott Field were not disappointed.

With the weather having played its part, the schoolboys joined the party, producing splendid displays of rugby on the three days of action.

Day three saw perhaps the best saved for last as the enterprising Dale College side registered their first win against Nico Malan, Glenwood squeaked home against Framesby, Affies suffered their second defeat of the festival and Grey College and Monument played an epic encounter where the spoils were shared.

There were no winners of the festival and if there had to be a winner, it was rugby, shared with sportsmanship, camaraderie and humility in defeat. Some teams went through the three days undefeated, but in the end, it was an occasion of top rugby from a wealth of talent, with three players being rewarded with bursaries at the Sharks Academy.

Nico Malan 10 Dale College 25

This was a clash between two sides yet to win at the festival. Nico Malan had come unstuck against Westville Boys’ High and HTS Middelburg, while the gutsy Dale outfit had fought back gamely against Glenwood and Kearsney with nothing to show for their efforts.

Dale, unlike in their previous matches, scored first when hooker Bubele Gongqa dotted under the uprights for fullback Justerino Davids to convert. Undeterred, Nico Malan fought back with their own five-pointer, number eight Dean van der Westhuizen, enjoying a prosperous festival, crashing over for an unconverted effort.

Davids added a penalty and matters were even when Nico Malan scrumhalf Dian Hartzenberg crossed the line to have the scores at 10-10. Just after 20 minutes, Gongqa added his second try and Davids the conversion for Dale to make the turn 17-10 ahead.

Scrappy play and handling errors littered the second half, the only points coming from a Davids penalty and try in the dying minutes to see Dale break their duck at the festival.

Glenwood 31 Framesby 29

In a thrilling clash, the unbeaten Glenwood “Green Machine” were pushed to the limit by the winless Framesby side, the latter with nothing to lose before heading back to Port Elizabeth.

It was the Eastern Cape boys who scored first when wing Rikus Zaayman went over in the corner. Still looking somewhat rattled, the Glenwood defence was breached a second time when Framesby prop Roche van Zyl added five points, flyhalf Tiaan Stander adding the conversion to go 12-0 ahead.

Stander was next to cross the tryline and at 17-0 ahead, Framesby looked set to upset the Durban side for the first time this season. Glenwood fullback Morné Joubert finally slotted a penalty to get his side on the board and a late try from centre Sphandla Ngcobo, converted by Joubert, saw Glenwood in touch at 17-10 heading into half time.

A physical second half saw Glenwood draw level with a runaway try and conversion from Joubert after a great off-load from flank McMillan Muller. It was game on and both sides took each other on with a display of running rugby, with the result never sealed until the final whistle.

Framesby scored two further tries through flank SF Nieuwoudt and wing Mfundo Ndawo, with Stander adding a conversion. Glenwood managed to add 14 points with tries from Jayden Morgan and prop Kenny van Niekerk, with Joubert converting both.

Westville 14 Selborne 20

After their outstanding effort against Grey College in their previous match, Westville started well against their Eastern Cape rivals, flyhalf Lindo Buthelezi scoring a try, converted by captain Kyan Braithwaite. Selborne drew level with a score from centre David Brits, flyhalf Morgan Steyn converting. The number 10 added a penalty to have his side 10-7 ahead at half time.

Westville took the initiative early in the second half and were rewarded when hooker Renier Pieterse went over, Braithwaite converting to have the local lads 14-10 ahead. Unfortunately, that was where it ended for Westville as Selborne hit their straps, dominating possession and putting Westville under pressure. They had to crack sooner or later and two tries within minutes of each other, from hooker Grant Venter and wing Milani Lubelwana, was enough to bag the win, despite Westville attacking as the final whistle sounded.

Affies 10 HTS Middelburg 20

This was a tough, physical clash with both sides keen to end their trips to KwaZulu-Natal with a win. Despite Middelburg enjoying most of the possession, they were unable to put points on the board and Affies were the ones who came closest to scoring as the half ticked by.

Eventually, Affies got the board rolling with a penalty from wing Pieter Coetser and soon after, the lead was stretched to 10-0 when centre Ryno Lourens ran through to score, Coetser converting. This remained the score as the teams changed ends for the second half.

Middelburg finally had a say in affairs when wing Jan Rens pounced for a runaway try to narrow the gap to five points. Spurred on by the try, Middelburg struck for a second time when flank Chrisjan Steynberg squared matters with an unconverted try. Sensing a win, Middelburg applied the pressure, dominating territory and camping in the Affies half. The breakthrough came when lock Driaan Bester scored and fullback Barend Smit converted. He added a penalty late in the game to secure a memorable win for his team and send Affies home with two defeats from their three matches.

Grey College 10 Monument 10

A titanic showdown produced no winner as the spoils were shared in the penultimate match of the festival. Grey looked to be running away with the match, knocking up two tries within the first 10 minutes, prop Ruben Terblanche and fullback Henry Immelman doing the damage. Both tries were unconverted and once Monument had cleared the cobwebs, they set about getting back into the game. They began to dominate up front and territorially, but were kept at bay by Grey who came close to adding a third try just before the break, which they enjoyed 10-0 ahead.

Grey again started strongly, testing Monument’s defence on numerous occasions. Immelman missed a penalty, which in the end proved costly as a intercept try from Monument flyhalf Ivan Smit, converted by Wikus van Biljon saw three points separate the sides. A Van Biljon penalty drew the sides level and that’s where it stayed as the final whistle sounded with applause from an appreciative crowd.

Kearsney 3 EG Jansen 25

The hosts were never in this game, up against it from the opening whistle as EG Jansen charged out the blocks. With just over 20 minutes gone, EG Jansen had crossed the tryline three times to be 15-0 ahead. Fullback Martin van Wyk scored twice and centre Erich Cronje added another. Further misery was added when flyhalf Forrest Roos kicked a penalty for EG Jansen to have a comfortable 18-0 lead at the break. Kearsney’s only points came from a penalty by scrumhalf James Hall and EG Jansen wrapped up affairs with a try from prop Rouxbann Bauman, converted by Roos.

Because of the high standard of play, scouts from the Sharks Academy recommended that five and not three bursaries be awarded. Valued at more than R500 000 each, these were awarded to Glenwood’s Kenny van Niekerk (prop) and Curtis Jonas (flyhalf), Westville’s Adrian Heystek (flank), Dale College’s Justerino Davids (fullback) and HTS Middelburg’s Barend Smit (fullback).

Managing director of the Sharks Academy and Kearsney old boy, Etienne Fynn said, “The standard this year was again high, with great matches.

“Academy coaches and selectors who have attended other festivals around the country this weekend all reported back that the Kearsney Festival had an exceptionally high standard.”

Adding to the status of the festival was South African international referees Craig Joubert and Marius Jonker taking charge of three matches between them.

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