BRIGHT START FOR THE NSW COMBINED HIGH SCHOOLS AFTER A CLINICAL FESTIVAL OPENER
The St John’s College Easter Rugby Festival, Sponsored by Standard Bank, got underway with New South Wales Combined High Schools all the way from Australia taking on the Pretoria based St Alban’s College. The boys from Wallaby country in the end proved too much for St Alban’s, beating them 22-7 at Burger field, giving the Australians a great start on their second South African outing.
The game was initially dominated by NSW, who made a statement very early, through their forwards that dominated the battles that enabled their backs some clean ball to create scoring opportunities. This eventually led to the Australians crossing the whitewash first, when the ball was played out wide for winger Izaiah Ape-Esera to dot down in the corner. Flyhalf Jack Vincent was unfortunately unable to convert the try, with NSW enjoying a slender 5-0 lead. St Alban’s then had a few good passages of play but the defence of NSW remained solid, keeping them at bay. Before the halftime buzzer sounded, NSW managed to get back over the chalk one more time, this time through flanker Eden McQueen, who raced past a few St Alban’s defenders inside their own 22m area on his way to earning his side a 12-0 lead at the break, after Vincent this time around, managed to slot his conversion attempt.
The second half saw St Alban’s start the stronger of the two sides, with Rhys Fulford diving over for a try that was converted by Jarryd Dick. That would however be the last bit of points from the boys from across the Jukskei, after NSW were able to crossover for one more converted try and a penalty in the half, that saw NSW finish off the game with a hard fought 22-7 victory.
WINDHOEK COMES OUT STRONGER IN THE SECOND HALF AGAINST GRAEME COLLEGE
The encounter between Windhoek Gymnasium and Graeme College was one that was especially thrilling in the first half, where Windhoek enjoyed a slender 15-12 lead at the break, only to pull away in the second half ending up 37-24 victors on Burger field, at the St John’s College Easter Rugby Festival sponsored by Standard Bank.
The game got underway with both sides having shaky starts, with a lot of handling errors coming in the way of progressive attacking moves. Windhoek often looked to use their powerful forwards to breakdown the defence of their opponent, whilst Graeme College relied on keeping the ball in hand within their backs, that opted to run it and evade Windhoek defenders through the use of their fancy footwork. Unfortunately both teams found it difficult inside the first 10 mins of the game, to keep the moves flowing, with the ball in hand, with too man handling errors coming in the way. Windhoek were however the first team to get on the scoreboard, with Graeme keeping within touching distance. At the end, it was Windhoek who enjoyed a slim 15-12 lead at the interval.
When play resumed for the second half, Windhoek came out a different outfit, with their forwards bulldozing their way over a number of times. Flanker Jaco Enslin was the standout of the lot, crashing over twice, on both occasion making powerful runs through a few defenders. Herschell van Wyk was also threatening on number of Windhoek attacks, with the Graeme College players showing signs of fatigue late in the half. Graeme flyhalf Lakhanya Sam was the standout for the boys from the Eastern Cape, who really dipped in form in the second half, and eventually went down 37-24.
PAARL BOYS’ START THE FESTIVAL ON A HIGH NOTE AFTER PROVING TOO STRONG FOR LIONS PRESIDENTIAL XV
Paarl Boys’ High School are currently attending their 23rd St John’s College Easter Rugby Festival sponsored by Standard Bank, which makes them the record visitors to the festival, as it is celebrating its 24th anniversary. Boys’ High did also manage to celebrate their record attendance well, with a dominant performance, where they easily overcame a Golden Lions Presidential XV challenge 66-7.
Even though the boys from Paarl won with a big margin, they remained respectful of their opponents and keeping those in attendance entertained with the flair in their play. The Lions on the other hand, also kept hammering away at the Boys’ High defence, whenever they got the opportunity. The Lions did also have a few exciting players in the mix, who however failed to gel at times, which could have been as a result of the lack of chemistry. At the halfway stage of the game, Paarl were well in control of the game leading 38-7.
The second half was just a matter of the Lions looking to keep Paarl from scoring any further points but they could not prevent this from happening. Lions scrum half Tinashe Gowere did however really stand out for the Union invitational team, with his eagerness to really take on the Boys’ High defence a number of times, always proving elusive for the boys from Paarl at times. At the end, his efforts alone would never have been enough, with Boys’ High eventually scoring a staggering 9 tries, with fly half Kian Meadon converting all 9 conversion attempts, as well as a penalty. The scoreboard on Burger field at full time read Paarl Boys’ High School 66 and the Golden Lions Presidential XV 7.
ST CHARLES FLAWLESS IN THEIR WIN OVER DANIEL PIENAAR
St Charles College made a return to the St John’s College Easter Rugby Festival sponsored by Standard Bank after having missed 2018. Upon their return they however immediately got the ball rolling, when they produced a sublime performance to celebrate their grand return to the festival.
St Charles made it very difficult for Daniel Pienaar right from the start of the clash, when they defended very well and were always able to quickly pounce on the errors made by Daniel Pienaar. This saw the Saints score the first try, through Erich Ortmann, with Eyethu Majozi failing to add the extra 2 points. With the score at 5-0, Daniel Pienaar tried to get back into the game and level matters but that only exposed them even further in defence. St Charles capitalized on this, with outside centre Zukile Mbuli slicing through the Daniel Pienaars defence for a converted try. That was all the action in the half, with the sides going into the break with the Saints enjoying a 12-0 advantage.
The second half saw Daniel Pienaar come close to scoring on a few occasions but St Charles were always able to clear their lines quite comfortably. The duel between the two remained very intense, with Daniel Pienaar looking desperate to claw their way back into the game but St Charles were always up for the challenge. The rest of the game did eventually see St Charles cross the white wash twice, through Simiso Ngubane and Scott Heygate.
ST DAVID’S SECOND HALF EFFORTS NOT ENOUGH AS THEY ARE EDGED BY NELSPRUIT
Hoerskool Nelspruit after not having been unfortunate in falling on the wrong side of some their results in 2018, arrived this time around at the St John’s College Easter Rugby Festival sponsored by Standard Bank, with the intention of setting the record straight. They did just that, when they locked horns with St David’s Marist, Inanda, beating them 27-7.
The first half was one that was thoroughly dominated by Nelspruit, who got stuck into the St David’s boys right from the start of play. St David’s did however also have their fair share of opportunities, with the boys from Inanda just struggling to finish when the opportunity availed itself. The Nelspruit boys enjoyed the advantage of having a slightly heavier pack of forwards that also ran hard and were able to offload at the right times of play. This advantage at the end of the first period of play, would prove useful for the boys from Nelspruit, who went into the break 20-0 up.
St David’s in the second half shifted into a different gear, playing at a higher tempo thus resulting in a more balanced performance that also made it difficult for Nelspruit to play as free as they did in the first half. The St David’s boys played with a lot of heart and determination that earned them a try from loosehead prop John-Kelly Okonkwo. In the end that was however only a consolation try for St David’s, with Nelspruit only managing only one of their own in the half. At the conclusion of play, the damage done by Nelspruit in the first half was enough to see them through to an impressive 27-7 win. The standout player for Nelspruit on the scorebook was outside centre Nico Liversage, who dotted down twice, converted a try and a penalty. The other try scorers for Nelspruit were 8th man Devon Nell and loosehead prop Marthinus Celliers.
HELPMEKAAR LEAVE IT LATE TO STUN STELLENBERG
One of this years St John’s College Easter Rugby Festival sponsored by Standard Bank debutants, Stellenberg High School were left stunned in the second half as Helpmekaar Kollege played out their socks, to earn themselves a narrow 10-8 victory on Burger field.
This 2019 festival only brought in two debutant teams and one was Stellenberg High School, who got the opportunity to write their name in the history books, as one of the sides that get in and win on debut. That however was not possible, when they stumbled in the late stages. The first half however, failed to uphold the high scoring standard set by teams that had played earlier in the day. Stellenberg did however manage to get the first points of the game through the boot of fly half Nivan Petersen, who converted a penalty to give his side a 3-0 lead. That would unfortunately be the only bit of points in the half as the battle remained tightly contested, with very little to tell between the two teams.
The second half was filled with a little more entertainment, with Helpmekaar however leaving it a little late to eventually outscore Stellenberg by two tries to one in the end, winning the clash 10-8. The Helpmekaar forwards put in a great shift throughout the duel, which saw captain Brink Marx and 8th man Zander du Toit rewarded with a try each. Stellenberg’s solo and first try ever at the festival, was scored by Nivan Petersen, who failed to convert his own five pointer, which in the end proved costly.
SUPERB ST JOHN’S SNEAK PAST NOORDHEUWEL
The final game on day 1 of the St John’s College Easter Rugby Festival sponsored by Standard Bank, saw a much anticipated clash between hosts’ St John’s College and Hoerskool Noordheuwel. The match was one that kept the spectators on the edge of their seats, but St John’s College in the end, were able to secure a 17-7 victory, in a game where the home side could have won with a bigger margin.
The game was initially one that was closely contested, with St John’s always looking to make a statement very early on. Noordheuwel on the other hand were never willing to step back, dominating the physical battles, especially in the middle of the park. The hosts’ eventually realised the strengths of Noordheuwel and switched strategies, to attack the outside. This did eventually pay off, with winger Daniel Deeks firstly dazzling down the touchline, beating a few defenders, on his way to sliding in under the poles, with Bismarck Olivier successfully converting. That was however not the last of the points for the half, with speedster Clayton Pather, also pinning his ears back and turning on the burners, to gallop past two defenders from just in the Noordheuwel half, to dive over for the second converted try for St John’s College. At the break, the hosts’ were the ones smiling, as Noordheuwel trailed the Blues 14-0.
The second half saw Noordheuwel outscore St John’s by 7 points to 3, but a Bismarck Olivier penalty was enough to hold off any challenge from the visitors attempt to make a come back, after Noordheuwels’ JC Viljoen’s converted try. The home side in the end were able to start the festival off, with a 17-7 victory, but they will be a little frustrated that they could not score more points, as they had the opportunities but just failed to finish.