The visiting Glenwood 1st XV lived up to their top billing by producing an awesome exhibition of old school running rugby to record a comfortable 37-12 victory on Goldstones.
College may have been soundly beaten but on the evidence of their display, they look good enough to claim a high placed finish in KZN this season. Overall it was an excellent day for the home school. Of 28 matches they won a remarkable 24, achieving cleansweeps in both the under-14 and under-16 age groups.
The first 15min of the match belonged to Glenwood who dominated territorially. The visitors didn’t have the finishing touch though, producing and blowing several chances to open their account. Finally veteran centre JC Conradie came up with a neat step inside and power carry to beat a handful of defenders and score under the uprights. SA Schools scrummy Jaden Hendrickse converted to make it 7-0.
A mistake by Glenwood soon after the kickoff gifted College their first attacking position. College headboy, captain and no.8 Nthuthuko Mchunu has proven to be nightmare to deal with off the back of scrums this year, but was well contained at the start of this move. His offload wasn’t the best but centre Jacques van der Walt made an excellent pickup off his bootlaces and then an even better handoff of a would-be tackler to clear his path to the tryline. This brought the score to 7-5.
Glenwood’s Hendrikse produced a couple of outstanding kicks. First a big hang-time box kick to create a valid 50:50 contest which his teammates won and then a beautiful left footed dab over the top which College could not hold onto. Glenwood were not able to take immediate advantage but the field position gained eventually resulted in a penalty won due to a scrumming infringement. Hendrikse slotted the easy kick making it 10-5.
Glenwood soon had the field position back again mainly thanks to a bullocking run by their captain at flank Runako Brynard, who is coincidently also their headboy. A few plays later the score was upped to 13-5 as Hendrikse landed another easy kick after a hands in the ruck penalty.
The next score took a while to come but it was a beauty. A high quality long pass from the base by Hendrikse to wing Siyanda Cele allowed the latter to step and forge a gap down the middle. Quickball from where the diminutive wing was wrestled to the ground resulted in another equally good cut out pass to the right, this time by flyhalf Rynhardt Jonker who had initiated the whole sequence of attack with a clever hold and run around the outside on the extreme left. The flyhalf’s pass landed in the breadbasket of centre Conan Le Fleur who had relatively little to do to finish in the right corner. Another successful conversion made it 20-5.
The number of injuries picked up during this match was a bit of a concern. Captain Brynard who looked in good form was replaced by Freddie Slabbert, who himself had to be replaced later on. Slabbert produced a wonderful cameo though. Glenwood ended the half with threatening another breakout from back spearheaded by replacement flank.
Glenwood’s willingness to attack from deep paid handsome dividends shortly after the break. Jonker, a very good reader of play, presented a pop pass on the inside to work-seeking wing Jean Roux coming from deep, to manufacture the initial break. Then the skilled flyhalf did well to control a poor pass and get rid of the ball swiftly and precisely to make sure the speed of the attack was not lost. After a draw and pass, Le Fleur was the recipient out wide and the 2017 SA Schools player obliged with useful pace to skin the cover before cutting in to beat the last line on the inside shoulder. That made it 25-5.
Wing Cele scored Glenwood’s fourth try to make it 30-5. It was another long range effort. The joy of it and possibly the stand out feature of this match as a whole was the midfield interchange between George Luzolo and fellow backrower Lindo Luthuli, which characterized the performance. Glenwood played a very expansive game, so the big battle of the forwards never really materialised. Instead the mobility, metres gained and influence of Glenwood’s backrow forwards in relation to their opponents really stole the show.
The never-say-die attitude of scrumhalf Philane Simemane, encapsulates so much of what makes College a great school. The spirited halfback generated a rare highlight for the home support when he quick-tapped and set off on a commanding then dancing run which caused the Glenwood defender to hesitate and then make heavy reliance the left corner touch line to come to his aid as the home team scrumhalf was about to score. Not long afterwards Simemane earned himself his third try of the season when College won a tighthead from a scrum 5m out from the Glenwood line and he caught the blindside defence completely off guard. Flyhalf Keegan Collyer converted to reduce the lead to 30-12.
Glenwood substitute Dylan Pretorius scored an easy try to complete a good day when College tried to run the ball off the last play and lost it forward in a collision near their own tryline. With the kick over it ended affairs at 37-12 to the Green Machine.