Top rugby schools to give it one last shot at ending season on a high note

2013-06-20 00:00

THE final two rugby matches of the term and the last for three of the teams take place today and on Saturday.

Today’s postponed game between hosts Kearsney and Maritzburg College could be a humdinger, if College can raise their game after the disappointment last Saturday. It is Kearsney’s final match of the season and they will want to end with an unbeaten season against KZN schools. College have nothing to lose as they are the underdogs, but this could just bring out the best in the team.

With fear of injury in the minds of those players who will be representing their province at either the Academy Week or even more so at Craven Week, players do not always play as they would normally do and this can create weaknesses in the defence.

Kearsney have the Du Preez brothers, Jean-Luc and Daniel, both SA Schools players in 2012 and together with No. 8 Ayron Schramm, they form a very imposing trio on attack.

Matt Reece-Edwards at scrum half and Tristan Tedder at flyhalf — the Craven Week pairing — could also be a trump card for the home side. Hooker Jordan Meaker is Kearsney’s sixth Craven Week player. Chris Lines at fullback and Tjide Visser at prop are the two Academy players.

College had four players selected for Craven Week, but Marcel Coetzee at centre is injured and will likely miss Craven Week. Wing Banele Ngwenya will miss today’s game, leaving only the two props, Njabulo Gumede and Thabiso Zuma, to hold the scrum steady.

Academy Week players Lindo Ngcobo, who is out for the season after a shoulder injury on Saturday, and hooker Masikane Mazwi will not play today. College do have other Academy Week players in hooker Vuyo Khatide, lock Seko Buthelezi and flank Jacques Conradie. Utility back Kelvin Elder also has a question mark as to his participation.

This does make Kearsney overwhelming favourites for the clash this afternoon.

Neither Hilton nor Michaelhouse have many players selected for the two rugby weeks in July and this game will likely be a closer match than the first game, which Hilton won by 30 points. Michaelhouse have lock Chris Schoeman in the Academy Week team and Hilton have Nqobi Maseko and centre Tristan Blewett in the same team.

Michaelhouse have a number of changes from the first match and the forwards are more likely to stand up to Hilton as they now know what to expect. Hilton still have Cameron Wright, their match-winning scrumhalf, and he will be marked to ensure he does not have too much freedom.

Predictions on the result are meaningless as it is the last rugby match for the two teams in 2013, one that means so much to those boys in their last year at school and the unpredictable can happen. It should be a closely contested game with both sides giving of their best.

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