KZN interschools season gets underway

KwaZulu-Natal’s tier-1 will get underway with the Kearsney One-Stipes at home to the Westville Griffins in the Highways’ derby (650m above sea-level) and the Northwood Knights hosting the Glenwood Green Machine (50m above sea-level).

Durban High School is the other main local team in action but they will embark on a unique trip across the Free State border to face Voortrekker of Bethlehem (1700m above sea-level). Considering this is one of the colder places in South Africa, the Durbanites will be relieved to know that it will be a fairly warm day. The contest should provide the Essenwood based team with useful altitude intel ahead of their debut at Wildeklawer in Kimberley in late April.

Michaelhouse (altitude: 1275m)will play a 3 x 20 minute chukka match against Helpmekaar from Braamfontein. Both schools have new head coaches: Grant Ball at Michaelhouse and JJ Pienaar at Helpmekaar.

Early signs are that KZN looks likely to be blessed with an abundance of good midfielders and back-three players for the 2022 season. In a preseason fixture at Voortrekker Day/Night Series last Saturday, the Maritzburg College centre pairing of Liam Prinsloo and Litelithe Bester looked like the real deal and although he had a quiet match by his high standards, the Red-Black-White fullback Spah Ngcobo is going to be a difficult customer for most defences. However in 2022 he has company because amongst the talent who will be vying for provincial youth week and even South Africa u18 positions later in the season is pacy Westville fullback Tshegofatso Ramaloko who thrilled with attacking abilities that allowed him to cross for two splendid tries against a Glenwood XV at the same preseason event. Sadly the head injury he sustained late on in that match rules him out for the Kearsney clash but he is one to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

In their pack Westville have a few useful ball-carriers who are not afraid to mix it up physically with lock Joel Donia and the backrow compliment of Kungawo Mbangwa, Avethandwa Tukwayo and captain Tebogo M’khomazi, all looking like high workrate players who can make the hard yards that often count for a lot.

Kearsney had a good tour of Northern Natal, raking up two comfortable victories but the Maroons will be under no illusions. A serious step up is required to compete with Westville. Lock Josh Howse (injured, scrumhalf Matt Bergset and centre Aya Mngaza all looked like useful players.

Glenwood and Northwood are keeping their cards close to their chest. Glenwood has significantly more preseason game-time under the belt and it is fair to suggest that they will have the match fitness and legs during the second half. The match marks a debut as head coach for Northwood’s Jacques Deen. His previous employer was Glenwood, so for this match, his knowledge of their playing patterns and players may prove to be very useful.

1 Comment

  1. Almost 2 years to the day (14/03/2020 vs Hilton College) since I last watched the Green Machine play live. Really looking forward to it. I just hope it cools down before kickoff


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