This was a super-duper entertain packaged game played on Goldstones in Pietermaritzburg. When 70-points get scored in 70-minutes, there is room for constructive negative comments about defensive structures and tackling, however during this game it really felt like the positives like attacking running lines, strength in contact, individual skills and good handling was more responsible for the high score than defensive lapses.
So for this it’s hats off to the players for the showpiece they combined to produce. Also well done to the referee who allowed this game to flow and help make it the exhibition that it turned out to be. A third round of praise must go to Boys High coach Michael Housdon and his fellow coaches. A couple of weeks back, for most of their game against Kearsney, Boys High looked like they had no backline game at all. The improvement in this match was huge as it was often their backs that came up with the big plays. For College, even in Pretoria circles, there was talk of this being their “Dream Team”. It’s a huge burden for any team to shoulder. Based on the performance it is not always that obvious to see but College 1st XV 2014 do have potential to be a great team. Without getting their backline to really threaten as a united force, College has now scored 76 points in just two games. This suggests that they are capable of living up to “Dream Team” status even though they are not there yet.
With this victory KZN now leads the GEMS 3-2 in the Grogper Cup
1min: MC captain & no.8 Daryn Goodson has a strong first half starting with a good run down the blindside.
5min: Flank Renard le Roux, arguable MC’s best player bursts through the middle of a lineout just inside the PBHS 22m. As a physical ballcarrier, Le Roux has dominated collisions this season so far but his try was down to poor defence by the visitors. Centre Marcel Coetzee added a conversion to put MC 7-0 up.
This also marked the end of the match for PBHS no.8 Gideon van den Berg, assisted off injured, a huge loss for the visitors. Fortunately in his absence loosies Reenen Buys-Du Plessis and Mitchell Baumann stepped up very well.
7min: MC scrumhalf Mac van der Linde darts off on a nice run from the base of a scrum. However the next phase emphasises a huge problem in MC’s play, the lack of ability of their backline to get even high quality quickball wide to the wings. A series of horrible passes to flatfooted players eventually ends with a pass way behind the wing which goes into touch.
8min: PBHS open their account with a long range penalty from centre Dillon Pirie, after MC are pinged for holding. 7-3 to MC.
13min: A good carry by Buys-Du Plessis wins his team a penalty eventually and helps then get into MC territory.
15min: Marcell Coetzee is then called out and spoken to for illegal play when PBHS are on attack. Pirie misses the angled penalty kick at goal.
18min: The first of a series of good runs by player of the match, PBHS fullback Dylan Neser. Neser’s ability to glide inside and outside to avoid first time tackles proves to be very useful in getting his team over the advantage line. At the end of his runs, his ability to ensure that play did not die with him was also impressive. In this move he collected a deep 22m drop from MC, stepped his way into space. Soon after that another noticeable PBHS player, scrumhalf Tristan Eve broke the line. When there was not enough advantage, the ref called play back and Pirie succeeded with a penalty awarded for offsides. MC 7-6 up.
20min: Another good linebreak, this time by PBHS centre Rossouw Basson.
24min: A very good up and under by MC’s van der Linde, which Goodson chases and contests in the air to gain a favourable bounce the way of Goi le Roux carries it up strongly.
26min: Off a scrum, MC’s Goodson attacks the blindside. He creates good separation which sets the platform for quickball with the help of his fast arriving hardworking pack in support. MC flyhalf Jordan Koekemoer then produces a neat short pass to fullback Matt Kriel, who makes it count by cutting through the gap between defenders and scoring. Coetzee converts to make it 14-6.
29min: PBHS fight back with good play of their own. Neser again does well in phase play that ends with a penalty to the visitors for side entry. PBHS goes for touch not posts and loses the lineout.
32min: PBHS produces a really good 15-man team try. Amongst the key players in the build-up are Neser, Buys-du Plessis and Baumann and it involves some good backline play. Lock Dan Malengela is the player who eventually forces his way over the tryline. Surprisingly the easy conversion is missed. MC leads 14-11.
34min: There is no protection for Mac vd Linde at the base of the scrum now. He gets caught in possession and PBH turnover the ball.
35min: A good run by PBHS flyhalf Dean Waghorn, then Pirie breaks the line and the pressure is applied by Boys High. They are rewarded with a penalty which Pirie slots. 14-14
Halftime: a fantastic half of rugby ends with underdogs PBHS really taking the game MC in the first 35-minutes.
36min: A feature of the game was how poor PBHS were at kickoff restarts. Honestly it seemed like they did not gather a single kickoff cleanly, showing lack of commitment and technique when it came to securing aerial ball. From this kickoff College huge Zimbabwean born prop Tanaka Chikwezvero gathered the ball, immediately putting the home team onto the attack. A wrong option follows and MC cannot profit on the scoreboard from this good start. The hosts do manage to keep up the pressure and dominate the first part of the 2nd half.
42min: MC hooker Masikani Mazwi was erratic with his lineout throw-ins during the first half but got it together after the break. He found main target Wian Jacobs and a good rolling maul from an attacking lineout eventually resulted in a try for Daryn Goodson. The kick was missed. MC lead 19-14.
44min: Coetzee lands a long penalty thanks to a really good strike. College deservedly extend their lead to 22-14.
47min: The sin of the day. It takes 47-minutes for Maritzburg College’s potentially most dangerous attacking player Xolisa Guma to even get a mention. The inability to get ball into the Guma’s hands two games now spells problem with a capital “P”. Guma’s has a short run here but his pass inside to centre Tristan Hanlon is ruled slightly forward.
49min: PBHS make a poor clearance kick. From the MC lineout take, Mazwi darts forward to create the frontfoot ball. From there ball is channelled out to midfield where flank Hayden Tharratt manages to get off a crucial pass to Le Roux to keep MC progressing. Once flyhalf Koekemoer gets it from the next phase, he has numbers on his outside but backs himself by turning inside after spotting a gap. He goes all the way for a good College try. Coetzee’s kick over makes it 29-14 to the hosts.
54min: Coetzee extends MC’s lead to 32-14 with his second penalty. The 18 points to nil since the break is a fair reflection of MC’s better possession and go forward in the second half.
55min: Well it was a match characterised by the invaluable runs of PBHS fullback Neser and he stood out once again with a nice effort.
57min: Mitchell Baumann is by no means a short player but he does have a good low centre of gravity, making him useful for carrying the ball up in tight situations. His contribution was visible as PBHS struck back with another good team try. The boys from Gauteng showed patience and recycled well to get come up with the try awarded to tall lock Ryan Carlson who was playing with an increased level of intensity by this stage. Pirie’s kick was good and the MC lead was narrowed to 32-21.
60min: The momentum shift was towards PBHS by now and they produced another sparkling bit of play. It again involved a Neser run. When he went to ground, recycled ball first went right and then PBHS brought it back right again. The MC defence was stretched, leaving MC hooker Mazwi to mark PBHS left wing Wayne Parker in a wider position but with too much room on the outside still. It was a mismatch of note as Parker shaped and easily rounded his man, pinned his ears back and was able to ground the ball in the left corner in spite of being hit hard by the cross cover D. A beautiful kick from the corner and it seemed like game on at 32-28 to the hosts with less than 10-minutes left.
62min: Finally Guma got to turn on the afterburners on the left and the super quick wing left all for dead but his try was disallowed as he had clumsily erred by putting a foot on the touch line near the start of his run. Nevertheless from the lineout, PBHS missed the intended target and got punished by Goi le Roux who collected it at the back and showed good pace of his own after picking the correct line to run in and score. It was a good individual effort by a player in really good form at the moment. The kick was missed but MC at least had some breathing room at 37-28.
64min: Matt Kriel had shifted to centre, paving the way for the outstanding player of the 2nd team game, Brandon Holder to come on at fullback. Kriel plucked the kickoff out the air and attacked. Later he just failed to hold onto a crashball pass that would have seen him score, as College had found a second wind.
66min: MC kept the hammer down late in the game. The ball eventually made it through the hands and to the wing, where Byron Watson used some shoulder movements to keep the defenders backed off just long enough for him to gain the initiative and force his way over in the right corner. Another kick was missed leaving MC ahead at 42-28.
68min: Another chance came Guma’s way but just when the young wing thought he had smoked the defence and was in for a try, he looked around and saw that the ref had called play back for an infringement.
Full-time: Maritzburg College 42 Pretoria Boys High School 28. A thoroughly entertaining game of rugby played in very good spirit. A wonderful advert for school rugby. Well done to both teams.
Squads from previous games:
|Maritzburg College||Pretoria Boys High|
|1||Tiaan Steyn||1||Kevin van den Berg|
|2||Masikani Mazwi||2||Viaan Janse Van Rensberg|
|3||Tanaka Chikwezvero||3||Mashao Mukhari|
|4||Wian Jacobs||4||Dan Malangela|
|5||Justin Gold||5||Ryan Carlson|
|6||Hayden Tharratt||6||Mitchell Buamann|
|7||Renard Le Roux||7||Reenen Buys Du Plessis|
|8||Daryn Goodson (c.)||8||Gideon Van Den Berg|
|9||Mac van der Linde||9||Tristan Eve|
|10||Jordan Koekemoer||10||Dean Waghorn|
|11||Xolisa Guma||11||Wayne Parker|
|12||Tristan Hanlon||12||Rossouw Basson|
|13||Marcel Coetzee||13||Dillon Pirie|
|14||Byron Watson||14||Armand Mare|
|15||Matt Kriel||15||Dylan Neser|
|18||Calvin Van Selm||18|
With the Big 3 KZN private schools on holiday there’s a bit of a quieter weekend ahead for KZN school rugby. There will however be a huge game on at Goldstones in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday 12 March.
Hosts Maritzburg College will be looking for more of the same physicality that their pack showed against Northwood three weeks ago, but they will definitely expect to see a huge improvement in the backline performance where they lacked cohesion and urgency on attack. College has the talent amongst the backs and if they want to challenge for a Top 10 finish this season, they will have to up their execution speed and accuracy. The Northwood game produced a good end result at 31-6 but a lot of the territory from which points were scored were the results of Northwood’s errors at the breakdown rather than College’s attacking efficiency.
Pretoria Boys High had similar issues to College with their own backline during their recent 17-21 defeat to Kearsney in Port Elizabeth. It just failed to get going. So it’s expected that they too will focus on ways of getting their backs to make a greater contribution when it comes to getting over the advantage. Their performance against DHS a couple of days before the Kearsney defeat, proved that they can handle the ball very well and find holes.
The battle of the two sets of forwards should be a mouth-watering affair. Here the feeling is that Boys High can match College and even make lineouts difficult for the home team. However this result is expected to go College’s way with the points margin coming down to how the two sets of backlines match up and possibly also discipline at the ruck, where the local refs tend to be very strict.