On a day of summer temperatures and a blustery Berg wind blowing, it was not easy for school rugby players, particularly for the games that took place in early afternoon. Despite the conditions, there were some exciting encounters and superb tries scored.
Hilton 38 Maritzburg College 22
This was Hiltons day, winning against their oldest rugby opponents for the first time in 40 years on their home ground, Gilfillan. It was a good game with plenty of running, bone-crunching tackles, intelligent tactical kicking and good sportmanship.
Did last weeks magnificent game take too much out of College? No, but with five players drafted into the side on Saturday morning due to illness to regulars, it was not going to be easy. This is not to take anything away from Hiltons victory as they were the better team on the day and deserved their win.
Much credit must go to Hilton captain, Cameron Wright, who identified the difficulty of catching a high ball in the swirling wind and looking into the sun in the second half and his high Gary Owens certainly kept Hilton going forward, as the College back three struggled to gather these perfectly placed high bombs. The tight exchanges were evenly contested but both sides struggled with their line out throws in the wind, particularly trying to throw to the back.
An early Hilton attack caught College by surprise, with two tries being scored by Hilton in the first five minutes. The first from a maul, where twelve Hilton players forced it close to the tryline and from which Wright darted over from the back. The second from a ruck close to the touch line following the kickoff and Hilton eighth man, Nqobi Maseko, sprinted down the blind side breaking two tackles to score in the corner and put the home side 10-0 in the lead after just 5 minutes.
Another four tries were scored in the half. College flyhalf , Jason Alexander, got over after and he converted to narrow the gap. Hard-working Hilton lock, Jason Gouws, ran 25 metres brushing off defenders to score the 3rd Hilton try under the poles and the conversion by Wright, kept Hilton a score ahead. College came back when replacement no 8 Gavin Geach scored against the upright again converted by Alexander. On the stroke of half time, Wright got over for his second from behind a ruck, after a quick assessment of the College defence. This time the conversion sailed through from close to the touchline. This left the half time score 24-14.
It was Maseko again that ran 60 metres after fielding the kick off and he was tackled just short but from the tackle Hilton was awarded a penalty which Wright converted. Scrumhalf Lukas Booysen, standing at the front of the lineout in the Hilton 22 metre area, gathered, passing back to hooker Masikane Mazwe who dived over and with Alexander adding the two points and then a penalty shortly after, the gap was narrowed to 22-27. Wright kicked two further penalties, one a long-range angled kick and then a clever diagonal kick through the College defence by flyhalf Justin Sacks was dived on by centre Alistair Rayner , for the convincing 38-22 win by the home side.
Other results from KZN:
Glenwood 20 Monument 26; St Charles 29 Northwood 24 (surprise win for Saints); Kearsney 74 DHS 6; Westville 21 Michaelhouse 17; Clifton 26 Pinetown 10; Kingsway 3 Port Shepstone 40; Kloof 10 St Henrys 26; Treverton 22 Wartburg 19; Port Natal 30 Voortrekker 9; Crawford LL 54 Scottburgh 5; Ladysmith 10 Weston 12; Linpark 38 Estcourt 0; Howick 22 Greytown 26;