It’s early days, meaning not all KZN’s players have been in action yet and there will hopefully be plenty of matches still to come. However if you are willing to stick your neck out and suggest that Westville hooker Bryce Calvert is the best player in the province this season, you probably end up being right and worst case scenario very very close to the truth. The Westville captain delivered an exceptional individual performance to help his team register a 31-15 win against hosts Northwood on Friday 23 April 2021.
Westville inside centre Ethan Hooker also caught the eye with some good contributions as the Highways boys profited handsomely when spreading the ball to the left.
Northwood were their own worst enemies at times and if they could have removed a few concentration lapses from their play, they might have been in it to win it at the end.
It was also a winning start for new head coach Njabulo Zulu a fairly rare match-up of two old boy coaches. Jubz a former Craven Week centre packs quite a bit of coaching experience since matriculating in 2004.
On the opposite side was Grant Bashford from the Northlands Class of 1985 – a former Natal provincial scrumhalf with extensive professional coaching experience both at the Sharks and abroad, and now very much regarded as a veteran coach, having over 30 years under the belt.
Elsewhere Maritzburg College head coach Cameron Fraser made it two out of two in two days against respectable opposition at the Fichardtpark festival in Bloemfontein. College beat Bethlehem Voortrekker (35-17) and Diamantveld of Kimberley (26-8). There is lots of work still to be done to identify ball-carrying role-players within their smallish pack but things are looking quite bright in the line. The acquisition of top coach Hein Kriek to oversee rugby development is bound to do wonders for College backline play in terms of upping the tempo and improving the handling plus linking.
Kearsney enjoyed a comfortable 45-15 win against Sarel Cilliers in Northern Natal. The One-Stripes seemed to operate at half-pace for most of the match but with two tour matches in two days at the Battlefields festival in Dundee still to come, they were possibly under instruction not to overexert themselves.
DHS beat Ferrum of Newcastle 31-5 at the same Battlefields Festival and will play Sarel Cilliers there next.