Schools rugby add sparkle

2014-04-29 00:00

THIS past weekend saw a handful of schoolboy rugby matches light up Saturday afternoon, with Kearsney dominating Hilton, St Charles proving too strong for Clifton College and Westville and Michaelhouse playing a thriller on Meadows, in Balgowan.

St Charles 36 Clifton 15

Playing at St Charles, the hosts were soon into their stride, roaring into a 12-0 lead thanks to tries from outside centre Blake Mingay and the forwards crashing over.

Flyhalf Jeremy Davidson added one conversion and Clifton could have considered themselves a little unlucky to concede the second five-pointer, as it came after they were on the attack.

A poor tactical kick saw them lose ground, give away a penalty under pressure and St Charles capitalise with the try.

Clifton responded with a penalty from No 8 Keegan Nxumalo and the sides went into the break with St Charles 12-3 to the good.

The second half provided some entertaining rugby, St Charles starting proceedings with Mingay getting his second try, which was not converted.

Changing gear, St Charles kept applying the pressure and from the kick-off, turnover ball saw the ball spread wide, with a pop pass to centre Mthobisi Mchunu, a hole opened and he dotted down between the uprights.

Two points were added and the Maritzburg team were 24-3 ahead.

More misery was added for the visitors when St Charles scored again from the restart. The ball was knocked down and the kind bounce saw St Charles No 8 Daniel Anderson run 60 m to take the score to 29-3 in a matter of minutes.

With nothing to lose, Clifton showed what they could produce, tighthead and captain Nicholas Downes and blindside flank Ruben Vosloo having a significant influence on their side’s fortunes.

Downes scored his team’s first try and Vosloo set up the second, making big ground before offloading to Nxumalo, who powered over.

In between Clifton’s tries, St Charles stretched further ahead when wing Paul Jacobs powered over the line, Davidson converting.

A prosperous afternoon from St Charles saw them score six tries while conceding just two.

Hilton 17 Kearsney 31

Kearsney’s clinical execution won this game, which was decided in the second half where Hilton lost the plot and were 19-10 down in the half before a late seven-pointer gave them some solace.

Having not won at Hilton for eight years, Kearsney made no bones about setting the record straight and were first out of the blocks with a Tristan Tedder penalty.

Hilton scored the first try though when No 8 Sebastian Desvaux de Marigny, one of Hilton’s stand-outs on the day, produced a burst of pace to crash over.

Kearsney were saved soon after when Hilton centre Tristan Blewitt collected a kick over the top from scrumhalf Matthew Dahl, knocking on with the tryline beckoning.

Tedder saw the visitors in front with his second penalty, but the hosts responded when flank Etienne Marx planted the ball over the line for a 10-6 lead. Hilton’s goal-kicking on the day left much to be desired and in the end, it proved the difference as they missed many kickable opportunities to put points on the board.

Two further Kearsney penalties from Tedder saw the visitors 12-10 ahead at half time, with the game in the balance.

Kearsney took control in the second period as Hilton’s handling let them down.

A dropped pass inside Kearsney’s half saw the ball hacked ahead, ending with wing Hlongwane Langa picking up and diving over.

Tedder added the conversion and Kearsney went ahead 19-10.

Hilton right wing Khathu Nematswerani missed a golden opportunity to bring Hilton back into the game when a kick ahead bounced favourably to provide him with a clear run to the tryline, but a knock on ended the move.

Kearsney pulled out of sight with inside centre Sebastian Pau’s try and at 26-10, the game was safe.

Tedder rounded off a superb performance when he backed himself after collecting from the restart, backing himself and galloping 60 metres to dot down in the corner.

The conversion missed and it was 31-10 to the men in maroon and white.

Consolation for Hilton came with lock Jason Gouws’s try and although it looked a heavy defeat, Hilton looked good with ball in hand.

They will need to iron out some technical problems this week ahead of the traditional showdown with rivals Michaelhouse this weekend.

Michaelhouse 34 Westville 32

Although Westville had weary legs after playing three matches in two recent festivals — Grey PE and Kearsney — they nearly pulled off a courageous win, having been 15-3 down at one stage.

Michaelhouse was always ahead, leading 21-10 at the break, and flyhalf Bader Pretorius kept the scoreboard ticking whenever Westville got too close.

Michaelhouse’s tries came from hooker Bradley Roberts, wing Jason Schwegmann and Pretorius, who rounded off a solid afternoon’s work with two conversions, four penalties and a drop goal.

Westville pushed the hosts to the limit, scoring a try in the final movement of the game, but it wasn’t enough to grab what would have been a dream win.

This win for Michaelhouse avenged their 17-21 loss last year, but the advertisement for great schoolboy rugby was the winner, the two rivals involved in epic clashes in recent years.

• Over the Easter weekend, Hilton and Maritzburg College played at the St Stithians Rugby Festival.

Hilton 18 St Andrew’s 37

Hilton 34 St Stithians 10

Hilton 24 SACS 23

College 16 Wynberg 17

College 23 St Andrew’s 20

College 29 Linden 14

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