Tricky schools clashes in PMB

2008-05-23 00:00

This is the sixth Saturday of a disrupted term, but only the third with a full programme of games. Most of the high-profile action takes place in the KZN midlands today, where four top-rated fixtures are scheduled.

A match that will have plenty of interest is at St Charles, where Voortrekker are the visitors. The match will kick off at 11.40 am and the home side will be favourites as they have shown a steady improvement this season.

St Charles have lost their last four matches, but all have been against bigger rugby-playing teams. They have played a total of 11 matches and won six of them.

Voortrekker have played far less rugby this season, but have only lost one match and that was against Maritzburg College. They have won three and drawn one, but have largely played against the smaller rugby schools.

Much will depend on the forwards and, if St Charles can win their fair share of the ball, then the three-quarters should have the beating of Voortrekker. Each side have a key player, with centre Robbie van Schalkwyk the Voortrekker playmaker, while Jaco Potgieter, at fullback for St Charles, has proved a dangerous counter-attacker.

The first of a number of return matches this season takes place on Goldstones at Maritzburg College, where DHS are the visitors. In the first match of the season for both teams, and the opening of the floodlights on Van Heerdens field at DHS, the home team came through comfortably 29-7. College had a disastrous start to their season and have only recently shown a greater commitment, even though they lost to both Michaelhouse and Glenwood. They cannot be underestimated this afternoon (kick-off 3.40 pm).

Both Kearsney and Hilton had a rest last Saturday and they meet for their first encounter this season on Gilfillans at Hilton, starting at 3.30 pm. Hilton have played eight matches, losing just one, when they went down narrowly against Michaelhouse.

Kearsney have played seven matches, together with five in New Zealand, and they have not nearly been as successful as Hilton. Still, victories in their last two matches will have given them some confidence for the season ahead. The match this afternoon is likely to be hard fought with Hilton, at home, the favourites.

Michaelhouse host St Johns from Johannesburg, and they are expecting a tough encounter. St Johns, after a good start to the season, have tailed off somewhat and were disappointing against neighbours KES in their last match.

The impressive Michaelhouse backline is likely to have too much finesse for their opponents and the home side should win relatively well. The match starts unusually early today (12:40), as St John’s wish to return home this evening.

George Campbell host Glenwood and the latter should have a big win, but playing on the narrow field at Campbell might restrict Glenwood’s strength out wide. The visitors will, however, have too much power in the forwards.

Westville become the first top tier school to play a full programme of rugby against a number of Development sides from the province. The Westville First XV take on the KZN U18 Development team and this will put some perspective on the progress the Development programme has made.

Fixtures (home side first): St Charles v Voortrekker; Maritzburg College v DHS; Hilton v Kearsney; Michaelhouse v St Johns; George Campbell v Glenwood; Westville v KZN Development; Wartburg v Weston; Hillcrest v Carter; Estcourt v Howick; Kloof v Thomas More; Northwood v Pinetown

Others (venue unknown): Vryheid v Richardsbaai; Creston v Felixton; St Henrys v New Forest; Linpark v Greytown; Ixopo v Port Shepstone; Suid Natal v Kingsway; Werda v Kuswag; Port Natal v Gelofte; Amanzimtoti v Grosvenor; Scottburgh v Crawford LL.

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