This will be the first Saturday of 2018 that all the KZN top tier schools are involved in interschools action.
Maritzburg College vs Hilton
Note this match is on SuperSport 10 at 14h40.
It’s not often that Hilton are favourites to beat College. I think one has to go all the way back to 1999 to come across the last time Hilton beat College on Goldstones. Hilton do seem to have a psychological obstacle to overcome in this derby. As recently as last year it seemed like Hilton had a reasonable shot at beating College based on form leading up to the match. Things didn’t work out on the day though and College recorded a fairly comfortable looking 23-8 victory. Hilton has a very good team this year. Their forwards are more than capable of dominating but they haven’t got their backline firing on all cylinders during their last two big game, which limited their scoring prospects. College snapped a four-game losing streak with a one-point home win against Pretoria Boys’ High. In 2017 they lost that home fixture to Boys’ High so the narrow win isn’t something to frown at but it is just a very small step in the right direction at this stage. College could register something far more significant if they achieve an upset against Hilton.
Glenwood vs Kearsney
Last year Glenwood took Kearsney to the cleaners, winning 59-7. The margin of the victory was a bit of a surprise. On the day Glenwood clicked and played very attractive ball-in-hand rugby. They had the Midas touch on attack. However when I think back on that match what really stood out for me was the line-speed of the Glenwood defence. They were all over Kearsney like a rash. Kearsney were continuously hassled and not allowed to settle at all. Kearsney struggled to turn possession into quality ball. This brought about errors, poor decisions and poor execution and as a result they didn’t retain the ball much. The worry for Kearsney ahead of this year’s match at Kings Park, is that Glenwood are an even better attacking force than they were in 2017. It will be extremely hard to stop them from scoring. Possibly the lesson that needs to be learned from last year be prepared to counter Glenwood’s defensive urgency by treasuring and protecting possession and staying composed under pressure. Attack might prove to be the best form of defence. Glenwood are expected to record a comfortable win. I think the Glenwood coaching staff perhaps just wants to warn their players against being complacent. Otherwise just asking for more of the same crowd-pleasing high-octane rugby is all they can really want from the boys in green.
DHS vs Michaelhouse
This is a potential match of the weekend. The fairly young DHS side might not even be a national top-20 team this year but they are expressing themselves so well at the moment and like last year’s more talented team, they are a joy to watch. The whole team seems to have bought into the tactical approach and they are flourishing under the system. Last year DHS made heavy weather of beating Michaelhouse. It turned out to be a very entertaining 29-24 win but in truth DHS left plenty of points on the field due to numerous final pass mistakes, something they repeated in a season ending home game against Westville which cost them dearly. So again it has to be said that although this year’s team isn’t in the same talent bracket on paper, error-wise they are at least not giving their coaches anywhere near as many grey hairs as the 2017 bunch.
The Meadows definitely isn’t a ground for the away team to win on, so as confident as DHS are at the moment, if they come away from Balgowan with a narrow win they should be very happy. For a second year running the match will be played on Van Heerden’s field on the Berea, which makes the Horseflies favourites to extend their winning streak. Michaelhouse haven’t started the season well. They have lost all five of their games. They have some useful players though. The matches against Kearsney and Westville suggested there was something there to work with but word was their form at the Saints Festival was really poor. Like one often sees in pro soccer, a change at the helm can sometimes make a huge impact. The new coach will want to at the very least show signs that things are improving but first prize is a win and if House play to their potential and DHS don’t, there is every chance of that result materialising. Although the head coaching change after just five games is a big deal, the really big exciting news out of House this past week or so is the announcement of Ant Clark as the next rector. He will only take office on 01 April 2019, so there’s a long period to get through until then and who knows perhaps a few big rugby direction decisions that may have to be made in the interim.
St Charles vs Northwood
This could also turn out to be a good one but it will depend more on St Charles than Northwood to make it so. I’ve said it a few times this year already. Northwood have the ability to play a far more balanced game now. It wasn’t all bad against DHS last weekend but there were aspects of their game that were let-downs. I think the message will be that the big forwards have to be a lot more assertive to create those vital attacking platforms. Also the tackling defence has to improve. I’ve seen Northwood play the week after a disappointment against DHS in the past and they can attack like a wounded animal. Last year St Charles beat a weak Northwood 45-25. This year the Malakites haven’t been afraid to get out there and test themselves. All their opponents this year so far have been decent schools, recognisable for their rugby. By challenging themselves like that, it could really help to lift the overall profile and standard of St Charles’ rugby.
Jeppe vs Westville
Westville travels to Joburg to meet Jeppe. Jeppe are a far better team than the one that lost 36-24 to Westville last year. The jury is still out on how this year’s Westville team stacks up against last year’s one. They should be better but the results just haven’t been showing it in their last three matches. Perhaps it is an indication that the Ville are overdue for a good game now. So Jeppe should rightfully be favourites, but don’t write off Westville! They could cause an upset.
Voortrekker vs Clifton
Clifton has a very good team this year. Unfortunately they won’t have the chance to play a few KZN top tier schools that they might have fancied their chances against. Clifton’s last game against the hosts at the Saints Easter Festival was their worst result to date. They lost 39-5, a result which seemed out of sync with their other performances. They should be too strong for Voortrekker at Kings Park on Saturday. Last year Clifton beat Vories 12-5.
Reminder for Thursday 26 April
Don’t forget next week’s midweek evening match at Northwood when the Knights take on the Red, Black, White of Maritzburg College. It should be a cracker.
|1||Mphumelelo Sithole||1||Aston Sparks|
|2||Armin Jooste||2||Bayanda Cele|
|3||Erich Ortmann||3||Daniel van Huizen|
|4||Sean McCord||4||Pepijn Honing|
|5||Luke Adam||5||Ciaran Bigwood|
|6||Brent Louwrens||6||Sivuyisiwe Mpendu|
|7||Ronan Diedricks||7||Siyemukela Ndlovu|
|8||Maziko Theu||8||Chulumanco Mfakadolo|
|9||JJ Foort||9||Cameron Miller|
|10||Braden Muir||10||Keane Fourie|
|11||Garrett Frier||11||Juan-Pierre du Preez|
|12||Sbusiso Zakwe||12||Joep Henselijn|
|13||Scott Anderson||13||Tyren Kroos|
|14||Zukile Mbuli||14||Macmillian Mudara|
|15||Luyanda Mazeka||15||Nhlonipho Ndlela|
|23||Jeremy de Beer|
|1||Jordan Clarke||1||Mpendulo Dlamini|
|2||Ruan Olivier||2||Reid Stuart|
|3||Thabiso Mdletshe||3||Oliver Carmody|
|4||Werner Coetzee||4||Dylan Bissett|
|5||Lunga Ncube||5||Nic Baines|
|6||Ethan Smit||6||Taine Polzi|
|7||Lindo Luthuli||7||Sibu Sangweni|
|8||George Luzolo||8||Andrew Harding|
|9||Jaden Hendrikse||9||Marco Mattioda|
|10||Dylan Pretorius||10||Taine Muirhead|
|11||Joe Jonas||11||Gcina Gumede|
|12||JC Conradie||12||Derick Marshall|
|13||Conan Le Fleur||13||Robbie Koenig|
|14||Jean Roux||14||Christo Scheepers|
|15||Rynhardt Jonker||15||Jacques Odendaal|
|16||16||Cameron van Eck|
|1||Marcel Nel||1||Andrew Holt|
|2||Stoney Stenekamp||2||Mpho Mthethwa|
|3||Mthokozisi Gumede||3||Liam Friend|
|4||Avumile Bongco||4||Dan Dillon|
|5||Setchaba Mathuse||5||Luke Taylor|
|6||Asande Mnguni||6||James Moodie|
|7||Adrian Dirks||7||Torin Mecklenborg|
|8||Celimpilo Gumede||8||Christian Opperman|
|9||Jaydian Cedares||9||Lance Reynolds|
|10||Shakur La Douce||10||Liam England|
|11||Lwazi Moletshe||11||Thamsanqa Zakwe|
|12||Lwandile Menze||12||Chris Hardie|
|13||Macneil Jenner||13||Dane Fisher|
|14||Malusi Ntuli||14||Michael Gomes|
|15||Darren Booysen||15||Michael Brownlee|
|1||Ethan Hodgson||1||Brendan Naude|
|2||Brandon Nel||2||Dylan Thomas|
|3||Sphekahle Dube||3||Dylan Davies|
|4||Wandile Hlophe||4||Niaan Taljaard|
|5||Gary Lesur||5||Stuart Roy|
|6||Sbu Pinkiney||6||Mark Armstrong|
|7||Brannan Webster||7||Patrick McVeigh|
|8||Nthutuko Mchunu||8||Lorenzo Palacio Apez|
|9||Philane Simamane||9||Gareth Schreuder|
|10||Keagan Collyer||10||Ruan Wilmans|
|11||Buhle Nene||11||Robert Mattison|
|12||Jacques Van der Walt||12||Grant Cousins|
|13||Ethan Heuer||13||Siyabonga Xulu|
|14||Nkondlo Radebe||14||Robert McGaw|
|15||Anele Nzimande||15||Roger Ellis|
|17||Travis Van Aardt|
|3||Darren van Zyl||3||Gonneau|
|6||Siyanda Zuma||6||Du Plooy|