Schools sizing up which sides to beat this season

2013-03-16 00:00

THE 2013 schools’ rugby season officially begins today, although there were a few matches last weekend and a number of pre-season warm-up games have been played. These have given some idea which sides may be the ones to beat this season.

Today also sees the Voortrekker Sports Festival which includes rugby matches as well as girls’ hockey and netball. There are eight rugby matches on the main field as well as the U14, U15 and U16 matches on two other fields. As it now clashes with the start of the rugby season, the matches being played are all between second-tier schools, several of which were at the Wartburg Festival last Saturday.

The match on Stott field at Kearsney is likely to attract a large crowd as it is between two of the top four schools in KZN last year, Kearsney and Glenwood. The home side have had a busy pre-season programme as they played warm-up games in the Voortrekker Night Series, at King’s Park in the Top Schools programme and a short two-match tour to Northern KZN. Last Saturday, they had a full game against Northwood which they won 30-0.

Glenwood, in comparison, have been relatively quiet and only their appearance at King’s Park has revealed what appears to be a very good side.

Both sides will be keen to win today ahead of the Kearsney Festival where both are playing. Kearsney are missing the Du Preez twins, Jean-Luc and Daniel, both nursing injuries, and this does weaken them. Despite this, Kearsney have looked impressive, with the result this afternoon likely to be close.

Hilton, after the practice game against Voortrekker last Saturday, travel to play Westville. Westville have also had a number of matches in preparation for the season and last week their forwards looked impressive against Maritzburg College at the Wartburg Festival.

Hilton would not have learnt too much in a game which must have been little more than scrum runs against a disappointing Voortrekker effort. The result this afternoon will give a better indication of Hilton’s prowess this season.

Michaelhouse will be having their first outing against Northwood. The latter will have their eighth start after Kearsney last Saturday and the Port Natal Night Series which they (Northwood) won. The result of this game will give an indication of whether Michaelhouse will again be one of the top sides in the province.

Maritzburg College start their season with a home game against George Campbell. Having played Kearsney, Glenwood and Westville in pre-season practice games, this match should give College some confidence ahead of the 150th Festival that they are hosting early in the Easter holidays. Linpark, Carter and Alexandra are all playing games against other College open teams.

St Charles, who lost narrowly to George Campbell last Saturday, travel to Johannesburg to play against St Davids. This match between the two Saints is usually a tight contest.

DHS, who won easily against the KZN Development XV last Saturday, will have a tougher contest against Port Natal today. Potentially, DHS should have a better line-up than they had in 2012 and should win.

Selected fixtures and times (home teams first)

Kearsney vs Glenwood (3.40 pm); Westville vs Hilton (3.30 pm); Michaelhouse vs Northwood (1.00 pm); Maritzburg College vs George

Campbell (3.30 pm); St Davids vs St Charles; DHS vs Port Natal (3.10 pm); Clifton vs Port Shepstone; DHS II vs Pinetown; New Forest vs

St Henrys; Treverton vs Grantleigh; M College III vs Linpark; M College IV vs Carter; M College VI vs Alexandra.

At Voortrekker: Weston vs Kuswag (8.00 am), Ixopo vs Kingsway (9.00 am), Wartburg vs

Durban Academy (10.00 am), KZN Development vs Dundee (11.00 am), Kokstad vs Durban North College (12.00 pm), Ladysmith vs Empangeni (1.00 pm), Greytown vs Sarel Cilliers (2.00 pm), Voortrekker vs Richardsbaai (3.30 pm)

On Wednesday (March 20); Maritzburg College vs Voortrekker: Northwood II vs Kloof.

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