Kearsney beats Michaelhouse 27-17 – 2018 match report

Entertaining but error-riddled is the best way to describe the encounter between home team Kearsney and Michaelhouse, which Kearsney won 27-17.

Kearsney missed a couple of shot at goal during the first quarter while Michaelhouse turned down their first realistic chance of points from the boot to instead try to set up a lineout in the corner but overcooked the punt.

The first points came via the combination work of Kearsney’s playmaker flyhalf Jacques Odendaal and impressive fullback Robbie Koenig who produced a player of the match performance. With a planned move going wrong after winning their own scrum feed, the scrappy situation was rescued by Odendaal whose delayed pass put Koenig into space 15m out from where he able produce enough strength and pace to finish on the right. That was 5-0 to Kearsney after 18min.

Koenig further underlined his value by making a textbook last line of D tackle on his opposite number Michael Gomes, a dangerous flashy attack-minded fullback who brought back memories of Ben Foden when the Englishman was in his prime. Although Gomes will best be remembered for his runs with ball in hand, he did some very good defensive work during the match as well.

The Kearsney lineout was definitely not something to be proud of. Regardless of the low success rate the home team continued to keep the faith and 7min before the break, after barely managing to control one set up from a penalty into touch inside the House 22m area, it was Odendaal who again came up with the goods, this time via a decisive run and offload to his midfielder Gcina Gumede who in turn fed the determined Koenig. Koenig seemed to back himself to go all the way but while he was being brought down short, he was able to make a one-handed offload to right wing Scott Couzens who crossed the white chalk near the right corner flag. The referee who had positioned himself in the in-goal area, couldn’t judge the flight of the final pass which looked suspiciously forward and duly awarded the try, doubling the Kearsney lead to 10-0.

House turned over ball and made a very good long tactical kick into their opponents 22 where no one was at home. Compounded errors by Kearsney after that eventually resulted in a scrum to the visitors near the tryline. Highly rated House captain playing No.8 Christian Opperman picked up at the back and the difficult looked too easy as he crashed over on the far left with 4min to go until halftime. The conversion was also missed but House had halved the deficit to finish the half 10-5 down.

Shortly after the break the Odendaal-Koenig duo struck again. Odendaal’s ability to hold up the defence and make accurate effective passes proved vital in the outcome as Koenig was able to run onto the flat ball on a line that sliced the defence and from there use his speed to get him to the tryline. Odendaal succeeded with his first kick of the afternoon and Kearsney restored a two-score lead at 17-5 up.

Midway through the second half Kearsney produced a rare display of continuity and were handsomely rewarded for it. Surprisingly it also began with a lineout in the House redzone, but this time it was a near perfect one, allowing the hosts to maul then work the ball into a new channel followed by a series of organised pick and drives with various players contributing before hardworking flank Sibu Sangweni used his power to bust through the defence on the big left blindside and score the One-Stripes fourth and final try. Odendaal converted it to push the lead to its biggest margin, a healthy 24-5.

To Michaelhouse’s credit, in spite of the lousy scheduling of this regular season opener which saw the Balgowan boys not only having very little time to prepare adequately but also having an arranged school social activity the night before, they showed tremendous spirit. Their second try had “team try” written all over it. The cohesion from start to finish was top notch and it was classic in the sense that it involved several phases of progressing play with many sets of hands touching the ball before a flowing backline run to the right saw right wing Philip Thomas cross for the 5-pointer, making it 24-10.

With 10min to play House conceded more points as Odendaal slotted an angled penalty to make it 27-10.

With 6min left on the clock, placed under pressure in their own 22, Kearsney’s handling let them down once more as did their defence on the fringe of the resultant scrum. Opperman again picked up at the base of the setpiece and showed upperbody physicality along with strength on his feet to evaded tackles that needed to be made. He dived over near the upright for his second try, making flyhalf Liam England’s conversion an easy one to get House back to within 10 points.

Kearsney missed one more shot at goal in the dying minutes and deserved their 27-17 victory in the end.

TEAMS

KEARSNEY MICHAELHOUSE
1 Mpendulo Dlamini 1 Andrew Holt
2 Reid Stuart 2 Mpho Mthethwa
3 Oliver Carmody 3 Liam Friend
4 Dylan Bissett 4 Murray Finlay
5 Nic Baines 5 Dan Dillon
6 Taine Polzi 6 Torin Mecklenborg
7 Sibu Sangweni 7 James Moodie
8 Andrew Harding 8 Christian Opperman
9 Marco Mattioda 9 Lance Reynolds
10 Jacques Odendaal 10 Liam England
11 Mark Pretorius 11 Nick Rhodes-Jones
12 Phoka Mchunu 12 Thamsanqa Zakwe
13 Gcina Gumede 13 Michael Brownlee
14 Scott Couzens 14 Philip Thomas
15 Robbie Koenig 15 Michael Gomes
16 Connor Griffiths 16 Matthew Holt
17 Bradley Taylor 17 Brandon Jewell
18 Ruben Darby 18 Reinhardt Pienaar
19 Aidan Bossert 19 James Kiln
20 Matthew Hayden 20 Luke Taylor
21 Jordan Bamber 21 Andrew Daly
22 Matt Brimacombe 22 Luc Pousson
23 23 Thomas Grant

6 Comments

  1. I assume that whoever signed off on the MHS calendar had a busy night at the pub on Saturday, buying many rounds for the rugby coaching staff.

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  2. One important lesson learned during this match was never rely on the school match clock as the official time. Always ask the ref. The Kearsney player elegantly dinked the ball directly into touch giving up a couple of metres in the process and thinking it was halftime. Meanwhile there were still a couple of playing time minutes left according to the ref so MHS were gifted turnover ball. Luckily for KC it was in the middle of the park and not nearer to their own tryline.

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  3. Why did MHS have a matric dance the night before the first game of the season? Why not have it on a Saturday, for starters?

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  4. House did well on Saturday. Considering that they only had 5 days to prepare. (Vleis now saying there was a Matric dance to prepare for. Flip it hasn’t been easy for House)The 3rd team was a great game. The u16A game very entertaining. 2nd team showed how you can run out of steam if you not rugby match fit. Game of the day the 2nd team game. Well done to KC was a lovely day of SBR. 2 3 House well done.

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  5. @Vleis: I heard there was a social after the game, (not with Kearsney although I’m sure they would have loved it) not the night before, but my Capt Morgan Bush could have recovered and may have a coherent version. This will be another tough season for House, regardless of lack of warm up games, missing players etc.

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  6. @Bush: @McCulleys Workshop: The matric dance was indeed held on Friday evening; however, it ended at 11.30pm. The after-party was held on Saturday evening after the game. Apparently, having the dance and after-party on separate nights is a MHS tradition.

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