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St Charles withstands determined Clifton challenge, Westville wins at Kearsney

By Brad Morgan , in Rugby | Featured Rugby | News , at 2024-05-13 Tags: , , ,

St Charles College captain Stefan Veldsman forces his way over the try line for Saints' third try against Clifton.
St Charles College captain Stefan Veldsman forces his way over the try line for Saints’ third try against Clifton.

Three weeks after convincingly beating Clifton College at home, St Charles College travelled to Durban to face Clifton at the Riverside Sports Club on Saturday. Saints took the win again, but Clifton came away from the contest with their honour intact after a doggedly determined effort.

In Pietermaritzburg, St Charles won by 35 points. In Durban, Clifton reduced that deficit to 24 points, and they finished strongly, forcing a penalty try right on the final whistle after camping in the Saints’ 22 at the end of the game.

The visitors made an ideal start to the game. From a well-judged hanging kick-off, they forced Clifton over the touchline to set up a lineout just inside the hosts’ 22.

Good clean ball and some nice running lines, with the receivers hitting the ball at pace, brought Saints up to the Clifton try line. They were almost out of play on the touchline but brought the ball back and kept it among the forwards. Lock Raphael Ajibade, a regular on the score sheet, dived over the top of the ruck to get the scoreboard moving with a little over a minute played.

Saints were swiftly back onto the attack, with scrumhalf Matthew Fick providing a crisp service to help his teammates gain ground every time they attacked the Clifton defensive line. But it was Fick who was next across the whitewash after a quick tap ‘n go, with only five minutes played.

A simple conversion from Salmaan Mohammed took the visitors’ tally up to 12 points.

It was certainly not the kind of start that Clifton envisioned on their Old Boys’ Weekend, but they soon settled down.

Saints, though, picked up a third try, with their 8th-man and captain Stefan Veldsman diving over with two tacklers attempting to hold him back after he drove off the back of a five-metre scrum.

After the break, just as they had done in the first half, St Charles struck quickly. This time, though, it was a cracking long-range effort from centre Athenkosi Qumo, who grabbed a scissor pass from flyhalf Ukhanyo Ntsangani, sliced between a couple of defenders, and then beat the fullback with a step off the right foot to put himself in the clear wide on the left. He rounded the defence and dotted down close to the posts.

The conversion was slotted, and Saints were 24-0 to the good. From there, however, over the remaining 32 minutes, the points were shared 12-12.

The visitors scored again through Fick, who sent a pass to the blindside, where hooker Dean Chiwese made good ground before finding the scrumhalf running a good support line on his inside for another five.

One thing coaches always want to see is effort and Clifton’s was undiminished despite the large deficit. The fire still burned within, and they forced their way up to the Saints’ try line. From there, it was in the hands of the forwards. The ball wasn’t about to go to the backline with the whitewash within touching distance and the black jerseys’ forwards soon powered their way over.

With the light fading in the late Durban afternoon, momentum swung one way, then the other. But then came a moment of magic from Saints’ fullback Salmaan Mohammed. When the ball went to ground on the halfway line, it looked an attack by the visitors had lost its momentum. Then, Mohammed scooped up the ball.

He carried back infield. A wiggle of the hips tore a hole in the Clifton line, and he was off. A tackler slid off the back of the fullback’s legs as he accelerated into the clear. Mohammed headed towards the posts, then beat the cover defence with a step off the right foot and he was away for a spectacular solo effort.

The last five minutes of the match belonged to Clifton. A fantastic flowing move almost had the home team in, but they were undone by an unforced error on the final pass. Still, they kept Saints pinned back in their 22.

When the visitors broke away down the left touchline, it looked as if they might be in for another try. The cover defence, though, caught up to the ball carrier. In the din and the dim light, however, the referee, back in the 22, had already blown his whistle. Instead, Clifton had been awarded a penalty try.

That was the final act of the contest and St Charles had won it 36-12.

It was a really good performance, Saints’ Director of Rugby Craig Dwyer commented afterwards: “We knew they were going to come at us really hard, but I think we did really well.

“They’re a really good team. They played with a lot of mongrel. At times, discipline let us down, so they worked their way back into the game. It was proper.”

There were a couple of keys to the St Charles’ victory, as Dwyer explained: “Our plan was always to target their lineouts. We wanted to play in the right areas of the field. In our last game against them, we exited poorly. We put a big emphasis on exiting well and on attacking their lineouts.”

That worked out well for Saints. Their domination of the lineouts went a long way towards securing them the win.

Kearsney College vs Westville Boys’ High School

In Botha’s Hill, the Westville Boys’ High 1st XV was swiftly into its stride against Kearsney College, crossing for three early tries.

In a carbon copy of their match against Northwood the previous weekend, the One-Stripe fell 0-19 behind before a penalty from Cameron Veenstra made it 19-3 at the break.

Kearsney surged onto the attack in the second half but, when they were only five metres from the Griffin‘s try line, scrumhalf Ryan Pistor intercepted an inside pass. He pinned his ears back and showed off an impressive turn of pace to race in from 95 metres out, under the uprights.

Westville added a penalty, and a fantastic counterattack was then finished off by Jeshua Ferreira in the left-hand corner. The visitors were cruising at 34-3, with just over six minutes to play. Again, as was the case against Northwood, Kearsney finished with a try-scoring burst, going over three times in quick succession.

Connor McIntyre forced his way over from a five-metre penalty after some enterprising play from the home side had pulled the Westville defence one way and then the other.

It was McIntyre to the fore again, shortly after that, when he spotted a gap and charged away from a lineout. He was upended right on the whitewash. There, Kearsney won a penalty. A quick pass to the right, a well-weighted cross kick from Roydan Madatt, and Jamie van Wyk was on the end of the ball, catching it cleanly to score on the right.

Almost immediately from the restart, Daniel Eager outflanked the Westville defence and sprinted into the visitors’ 22. He was stopped five metres from the try line. However, another penalty for offsides cost Westville as Kearsney took a quick tap and Veenstra was on hand to take a short pass and dive over for another five.

He added the extras, and the game was done, with Westville victorious by 34 points to 22. It had ended 34-24 to Northwood the previous weekend.

The Westville try scorers were Jadrian Afrikaner, Michael Satade, captain Chris Cloete and Ryan Pistor. Jade-Will Koopman added a penalty and two conversions.


u19 – Clifton I 12 St Charles I 36; Kearsney I 22 Westville I 34; Clifton II 19 St Charles II 5; Kearsney II 17 Westville II 17; Clifton III 7 St Charles 40; Kearsney III 8 Westville III 7; Kearsney IV 36 Westville IV 24; Kearsney V 34 Westville V 14; Kearsney VI 26 Westville VI 0

u16 – Clifton A 10 St Charles A 20; Kearsney A 18 Westville A 20; Clifton B 7 St Charles B 54; Kearsney B 14 Westville B 29; Kearsney C 17 Westville C 17; Kearsney D 12 Westville D 41

u15 – Clifton A 5 St Charles A 17; Kearsney A 12 Westville A 5; Clifton B 19 St Charles B 21; Kearsney B 12 Westville B 12; Kearsney C 12 Westville C 22; Kearsney D 7 Westville D 57

u14 – Clifton A 20 St Charles A 10; Kearsney A 10 Westville A 12; Clifton B 32 St Charles B 5; Kearsney B 7 Westville B 21; Kearsney C 0-32 Westville C

Brad Morgan
error: Sorry ol' chap, those shenanigans are not permissible.