Kearsney embarks on two-match Northern Free State tour

Kearsney College begins their rugby season in the Griffons region with tour matches Witteberg of Bethlehem and Hentie Cilliers of Virginia on Monday, 26 February 2024 and Wednesday 28 February 2024 respectively.

The cross provincial border inland tour is part of the new routine, having replaced the Northern Natal starting point that was in place for many years. Like most sports tours it provides an ideal platform for the team to fine-tune their strategies and build cohesion and team spirit ahead of the new season.

2024 promises to be a much-welcomed change in fortunes from recent seasons for the One-Stripes. They have found themselves closer to the base than the summit of their local KZN league in the 2020’s and meaningful wins have become few and far between.

1st XV Head Coach Neil van Heerden, in charge for a second year, significantly has the same core team as the one he achieved great success with at u16A level during the 2022 season. Once the overlap with summer sports is over, he will possibly be able to count on seven returning 1st XV regulars from 2023.

Kearsney also appointed former Bok Keegan Daniel as the Director of Rugby during the offseason, further increasing expectations of improvement throughout their rugby programme.

Witteberg should provide the stiffer resistance of the two opponents. The co-ed is part of the well-organised eight school Wesgrow central league which spans three provincial rugby borders and includes well-known schools from Bloemfontein (3), Bethlehem (2), Kimberley (1), Kroonstad (1) and Welkom (1).

They start them young in Bethlehem. Witteberg old boy Christo van der Nest, a scrumhalf from the Class of 2012 is one of the youngest tier-1 Head Coaches on the SA circuit and remarkably also serves as Director of Rugby at his youthful age. At main town rivals Voortrekker, their talented Head Coach Justin Taylor still is a baby having matriculated at Helpmekaar in 2015.

TEAM WITTEBERG TEAM KEARSNEY
1 Rian Roos 1 Aya Jikwana u17
2 ⁠Jacques vd Merwe 2 Blake Kruger u18
3 ⁠Colin vd Merwe 3 Anele Cele u18
4 ⁠Pieter Nel 4 Heinrich Fourie u18
5 ⁠Marco Grobler 5 Simo Mnqokoyi u17
6 ⁠Lesego Mosikidi 6 Cullum Steer u18
7 ⁠Llewellyn Beukes (C) 7 Connor McIntyre u18
8 ⁠ Daniel Meintjies 8 Qhamani Mlalandle u18
9 ⁠Kirsten Fourie 9 Cole Young u17
10 ⁠Sydwell Sethi 10 Doan Nel u17
11 ⁠Thabo Motheke 11 Bukho Hlwatika u17
12 Kenyon Morat 12 Jarred van Staaden u18
13 ⁠JC van Rhyn 13 Lindokuhle Mpungose u18
14 ⁠Tshepo Motloung 14 Rogan Strydom u18
15 ⁠Lance Louw 15 Daniel Eagar u18
16 16 Kudawashe Kachambwa u18
17 17 Nathan Stocks u18
18 18 Nardus Grundlingh u18
19 19 Ryan Sim u18
20 20 Seth Brown u18
21 21 Jude Greig u18
22 22 Joe Verbaan u18
23 23 Mfundo Mthethwa u18
Coach CHRISTO VD NEST Coach NEIL VAN HEERDEN

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9 Comments

  1. avatar
    #9 beet

    @KatzRugga (Comment #8)
    KC probably should have rather gone for a title like Director of Coaching or Rugby Specialist. DOR is a main school rugby man title and creates higher expectations.

    ReplyReply
    2 March, 2024 at 19:16
  2. avatar
    #8 KatzRugga

    MISSING DOR @BEET

    @beet (Comment #6)
    Don’t expect to see the DOR around the open side this year. He’s allegedly, co coaching the U16 with the Director of Sport this year. Just adds to the mystery of what’s the plan and vision is up the hill. At the same time last years DOR is coaching the U15. Truly seems a little odd
    ReplyReply
    2 March, 2024 at 15:37
  3. avatar
    #7 Pamos

    @beet (Comment #6)
    Ahhh okay thanks! Those three will make a big difference to that side. Lenge is going to be a great asset, but like you said Kearsney is going to need to play into his skill set. Not the biggest boy if I can remember from watching him at Wilderklawer for Diamantveld.

    ReplyReply
    29 February, 2024 at 03:36
  4. avatar
    #6 beet

    @Pamos (Comment #5)
    At least three were missing from the Monday match. I also did not see the new DOR in any of the visuals which was surprising.
    Veenstra is 1st XI cricketer – I think he opens the batting.
    Madatt is on tour but was in a maroon t-shirt on the sideline for the Witteberg match. Perhaps he is injured.
    I’m not sure if the one of the sideline water assistants was Lenge, the brand new X-factor player who should be able to give the KC a sort of Sandile Kubeka, Chris Lines, James Tedder, Robbie Koenig ability in wider channels – something they have not had in consistent quantities for a while. Just the way KC play, they are generally not a quick ruck speed or up the tempo, slick passing, clever designs backline team so Lenge on the wing might not be ideal to get the maximum out of him. Fullback or maybe centre might work out better so that he can get more ball in hand chances.

    ReplyReply
    28 February, 2024 at 10:16
  5. avatar
    #5 Pamos

    @beet (Comment #4)
    Do you know how many of the boys playing summer code are u17 or grade 11? Seems like a very ‘old’ and experienced 1st team which would mean that this year should be better than next year. If I am not mistaken two boys are missing who made Sharks U17 last year. Roydan Madaat and Cameron Veenstra. Do we know if they are still at Kearsney?

    ReplyReply
    28 February, 2024 at 04:46
  6. avatar
    #4 beet

    Mixed bag start for Kearsney. They won 17-5.

    Lots of work ahead to get the cohesion right and some semblance of more technical structured and diverse attacking play. Today was slow from the base, very predictable, low standard passing, way too much kick ahead instead of building phases or looking for linking variation.
    But its early days and could have been the message was to the players to keep it simple and gain match fitness.

    Witteberg also have a lot of work to do get a bit of ball possession and continuity into their game. Would be nice to see if they can get better quality ball to their 12 and try to work plays with him strike running or others playing off him.

    For Kearsney 4 and 7 looked like go to players. With added fitness perhaps a few more can share those hard-yard carrying duties. Would be nice to see 13 get cleaner ball. 15 has game and seems like a decent place kicker.

    ReplyReply
    27 February, 2024 at 00:04
  7. avatar
    #3 Pamos

    @Pamos (Comment #2)
    Apologies, for the Valke at GK!

    ReplyReply
    26 February, 2024 at 08:07
  8. avatar
    #2 Pamos

    @Skywalker (Comment #1)

    He was good when Griffons played against Sharks in a warmup game before GK. Pretty sure that’s where they spotted him.

    ReplyReply
    26 February, 2024 at 07:45
  9. avatar
    #1 Skywalker

    Based off the previous post about the KZN booster team, it will be interesting to see how Kearsney’s new flyhalf goes.

    ReplyReply
    25 February, 2024 at 10:05

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