Having recently mentioned Jem Nel in a story on the brilliant 1987 Natal Schools’ cricket team on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/KZN10com/), KZN10.com’s Brad Morgan decided to also take a look at the Kearsney College 1st XV, captained by Jem, which that same year produced a season for the ages.
In recent times, Kearsney College has produced some exciting and very successful teams. They have also produced standout players; off the top of my head, internationals’ Brad Barritt, Matt Stevens, and the Du Preez brothers, Robert, Jean-Luc and Daniel, come to mind.
But a team that holds a special place in the heart of many in the Kearsney community is the 1st XV of 1987, a side renowned for an attractive and creative 15-man approach to the game.
They played 22 matches, won 18 of them, drew two others and lost to only one other school side, Maritzburg College, which had SA Schools’ flyhalf Udo Goedeke pulling the strings behind a powerhouse pack.
Their only other defeat was by just two points to an Old Crocks team featuring many former Natal players, 26-28. Sadly the Old Crocks no longer exist. Back in the day, they took on many of the top Natal schools and those matches were invariably superb skillful spectacles.
A year earlier, before the great season of 1987, much was expected of the Kearsney 1st XV of 1986, but the side failed to live up to its potential. In 1987, expectations had been tempered by the slightly disappointing results of the previous year. Jem Nel, then in his third year in the 1st team, said in a recent chat: “I don’t think we were expected to do as well as we did. There was a bit of hype around ’86. When we started in ’87, there was no hype. There were a few guys coming back.”
While Kearsney started out their season with a bang, it ended with a huge loss when Natal Schools’ flanker Mitchell Reed broke an ankle in the last minute of a 34-3 thrashing of Michaelhouse. “I think he was the best schoolboy player I ever played with,” Jem reckoned.
Like Reed, he also earned Natal Schools’ colours. Unfortunately that came only after the Craven Week.
He recalled: “Mike Falkson, my good mate from Westville, got chosen ahead of me. But there was an injury, so I got called up at the last minute.” Mitch Reed and Jem Nel were the only two from Kearsney to make the Natal Schools’ team that year, which is testament to the superb teamwork of the side.
Jem fondly remembers that season-opening win over Michaelhouse: “We hammered them. In my whole school career, that gave me the most satisfaction. That was the best rugby game we ever played. It was our first game of the season at Kearsney. It was brilliant to play, surrounded by the huge trees. It was fantastic.”
And there was always a little extra in it for Jem whenever Kearsney took on Michaelhouse: “You might remember, I didn’t get into Michaelhouse. I was going to go from Clifton [Nottingham Road] to Michaelhouse and I failed the entrance exam,” he laughed.
“I played sport against Michaelhouse for five years in cricket and rugby and I never lost to them, which was quite satisfying.”
Having mentioned Clifton, there was a remarkable occurrence in 1987, which Jem pointed out, and it’s something that one wonders whether or not it has happened before or since. He explained: “In 1987, the captain of Hilton was Rory Dyer and the captain of Michaelhouse was Bruce Herbert. I was captain of Kearsney. All three of us were from Clifton.” (Bruce has since pointed out that he was, in fact, captain of Michaelhouse in 1986. I attended Clifton at the same time as those guys and was there from 1978 to 1983. When I started there were 120 boys in the school and when I finished there were 150, so an incredible achievement from a very small school, nonetheless).
The author of this story, Brad Morgan (front left), next to Jem Nel (second from left), with 1987 Hilton College captain Rory Dyer to the right of teacher John Farren. Craig Hanbury-King, who played in the Kearsney 1st XV of 1987, is featured second from left in the middle row. Bruce Herbert, the 1986 Michaelhouse captain, is third from the left in the third row.
The two draws – 13-13 against a Westville team that included SA Schools’ player Errol Stewart and 6-6 against Hilton – were very different games, Jem shared.
“We played Westville at Westville on Bowden’s. I think we were a better team than them, but they gave us a hard time. I think it was a lucky draw for us. We scored a try and I think there were about 13 bodies under the ball!
“The other draw was against Hilton, where we played poorly. All they did all day was kick the ball on our fullback and wing. They kicked up-and-unders all day and it was a terrible game. That wasn’t a great draw, but I think the Westville draw was a great draw, because I don’t think we deserved it,” he said candidly.
Back then, Kearsney had only about 530 pupils, but they defeated all the big government schools, apart from Maritzburg College and Westville. There were some tight games among them. They won 15-7 against DHS and 9-8 against Glenwood.
A tour to Johannesburg included two big wins – 34-0 against Highlands North and 56-3 against Parktown, but King David (Linksfield) pushed Kearsney all the way, with the boys from Botha’s Hill pulling out a narrow 3-0 victory.
The 1987 team was coached by Fred Cocks, who served the school with distinction for 39 years. “Freddie was probably about seven years into the [1st XV] job by the time he got to ’87,” Jem said.
“He and his brother went to Westville Boys’ High. He was a brilliant coach. He was a short man, about five-foot, six, and he had this big voice. He was a fantastic motivator and he knew a lot about the game.”
“I remember clearly he called a Kearsney Old Boy, Wally Watt, who was a Natal flanker, to come and help us with one or two scrumming sessions. He was a fantastic man and he is still around.”
There was only one match in which Kearsney were clearly beaten up front and that was in the big showdown with Maritzburg College. “It was played at Kearsney and there must have been 15 000 to 20 000 people there that day, because they were the only two teams that were unbeaten in the season, and it was quite late in the season,” Jem recalled.
“The score was 20-10. I think we turned at 10-10 at halftime, and then we got pummelled by their forwards in the second half. Their forward pack just destroyed us. I think we did well to be in the game at halftime. They killed us up front.” Of course, back in those days, there was no limit on how far one team was allowed to push another at scrum time in schoolboy rugby, so it was a far bigger disadvantage than it would be nowadays.
“The ’87 side was a fantastic team. I say without a shadow of a doubt, we had the best loose trio. We had Mitchell Reed, who we lost after the first game,” Jem continued. “Then we had Chris van Noordwyk [who went on to play SA Schools cricket in 1989). He filled in there. And we had a farmer from the north coast called Craig Hanbury-King. He was brilliant. He was small and an excellent fetcher.
“Our Head Boy Graeme Thompson was at lock. He was a big guy and we had another water-polo player at lock, Steve Garreau. We had a decent pack up until the time we met College and we were annihilated.”
The ’87 team also included Nkululeko Skweyiya, better known as “Squeegee”, who had burst onto the scene in 1986. That year, playing on the wing, he scored 22 tries and represented Natal Schools.
“He came from the Eastern Cape and he was a stalwart. He had a side-step and speed that nobody in Natal had,” Jem said. “I think in ’87, he sort of got worked out. We moved him closer to the ball, so he ended up playing most of the time at centre. To our advantage, everyone was focused on him and we had other good players.” The team benefitted, but Squeegee didn’t have as good a year as in ’86 and missed out on Natal Schools’ selection.
Mitch Reed, Jem Nel and Nkuleleko Skweyiya were awarded their honours, while Greg James, Pierre du Toit, Kenneth Everett, Stephen Garreau, Craig Hanbury-King, Stuart Hulley, John Leach, Craig Symons Graeme Thompson and Ross Wood received their colours.
Fred Cocks’ 1st team report in the Kearsney magazine noted of Jem Nel: “The success of the side can largely be attributed to his exceptional captaincy. His ability to motivate his fellow players was indeed of the highest order of leadership. His skilful and creative play saw him narrowly miss selection for the Natal Schools Craven Week team, but deservedly gained him a cap in Pretoria.
“In addition, he was one of three players who scored 11 tries*, the most by an individual. Congratulations on a great season.”
*(The others were scrum-half Pierre du Toit and Craig Symons. Mitch Reed dotted down seven times in only seven matches.)
Reed was clearly an extraordinary talent, as described by Fred Cocks in his report: “One of the best rugby players seen at Kearsney for many years. His strength, skill and mental attitude to the game is exceptional.”
Rugby is one of the great team games, especially when it comes to team spirit and off the field relationships, and to this day Jem still keeps in touch with eight or nine of the 1st XV of 1987: “We’ve got a WhatsApp group, so we’re in contact regularly, especially over lockdown now,” he reckoned.
He lives close to Kearsney and his son, Cameron, completed grade 12 at the school in 2019. Even though the ties are not as close as they once were when Cam was in school, Jem still maintains close contact with Kearsney.
“I watch a lot of sport,” he concluded. “When there’s cricket or rugby on, I love it. If I have nothing on, I go and watch. It’s close and close to my heart. We’ve had good times at Kearsney. I think the emotion of winning is gone, but it’s good to go and watch schoolboy sport.”
Easter Tour of East Griqualand, Natal Midlands
Kearsney 40-0 Port Shepstone
Kearsney 33-0 Ixopo
Kearsney 50-6 Escourt
July Tour to Johannesburg
Kearsney 34-0 Highlands North
Kearsney 56-3 Parktown
Kearsney 3-0 King David (Linksfield)
Kearsney 34-3 Michaelhouse
Kearsney 15-7 DHS
Kearsney 24-3 Pinetown
Kearsney 6-6 Hilton
Kearsney 27-6 Beachwood
Kearsney 26-28 Old Crocks
Kearsney 9-8 Glenwood
Kearsney 10-20 Maritzburg College
Kearsney 31-9 Port Natal
Kearsney 13-13 Westville
Kearsney 25-9 Kingswood
Kearsney 40-0 Saint Charles
Kearsney 20-7 Alexandra
Kearsney 31-18 Old Boys
Played 22, won 18, lost two, drew two
Points for: 554, points against: 155
Looking back over the past weekend’s 1st XV rugby results, there were some interesting scores: Kearsney’s 29-10 win over Clifton was expected, while Northwood drew their second game in succession, finishing 14-14 against Maritzburg College. Hilton’s 14-10 defeat of Glenwood, while a very big result for the Midlands’ boys, was not totally unexpected. What really stood out, though, was Westville’s 52-7 dismantling of DHS.
DHS has produced some very good rugby and some very good teams in the recent past, so to see them beaten by 45 points was surprising and quite shocking. KZN10.com’s Brad Morgan caught up with Westville’s coaches, Jeremy McLaren and Njabulo “Jubs” Zulu at the school on Tuesday, to find out more about the Westville 1st XV of 2020.
Saturday’s game was a late start to the season for the Griffins. They had been scheduled to kick things off the previous Saturday against Hilton College, but that game was called off due to concerns over the coronavirus, stemming from a positive result on the test of a Hilton local. Instead, Westville held some internal trials. Then, on Saturday, it was time for their first outing against DHS. Down 0-7 early on, the home side rallied to run up 52 unanswered points.
“We were quite amazed by the fitness levels in our first game,” coach McLaren admitted. But that level of performance and the impressive victory, he revealed, were a number of years in the making.
“It’s a journey that we started two years back, when Jubs and I started here. A few things were not in place and we will never forget that our match against DHS here was 60-10 against us. We had about 19 injuries! We went through a process where we had to get things back in line.
“Last year, we had control of that game as well, but we let it slip. This year, we knew we had to get it right and it would all fall into place. But it is a special group.”
There has been talk that this year’s Westville 1st XV is a top unit but, McLaren added, “There is also so much work that has had to go into it. There was a lack of a lot of knowledge and certain skill levels [when we started with them].
One big decision that the coaching team made has proved to be a masterstroke. They moved Mambo Mkhize from eighthman to centre and in 2019 he turned out for KZN Schools in the midfield.
Jubs explained that he had heard criticism from others that Mkhize was not assertive enough in his ball carrying. But those people, who didn’t know Mkhize as well as Zulu does, were not giving recognition to his other skills, like his soft hands and cover defence.
“He doesn’t want to assert himself, he wants to put other people into space,” Zulu explained.
Westville star Mambo Mkhize made the switch from eighthman to centre with devastating results for opposing teams. (Photo: Martin Ashworth)
When he and McLaren discussed moving Mkhize to centre, they took on advice from someone who had previously done something along those lines with great success. “We called Mzwakhe Nkosi, who is the KES coach. He did a similar thing with a player, Yanga Hlalu, who played SA Schools (2017).
“He moved him from flank to centre. I asked him what the things were that made him certain that Yanga would work as a centre and he said he’s got the skill set and the vision. So why not do it? We did it.”
“The critics that count now see Mambo asserting himself. We’re happy with his development,” Zulu said. There is even talk that Mkhize is one of the front-runners for selection for the SA Schools team.
Successful sides require not only the leadership of their coaches, but leadership from within and that hasn’t been difficult to come by in this year’s line-up.
“We’ve got quite a lot of seniors in the group, especially in the backs,” Zulu said. “We are fortunate to have a lot of guys who were in grade 11 last year, so they would have learnt a lot. They drive a lot of what we do and they’re really excited to be in this position. They are really confident guys.”
The team environment (and it is encouraged) is hardly what one associates with a top rugby side. Zulu explained: “We’ve got quite a unique team. We are not the traditional team. If you saw our warm-up, there’s music and laughter, whereas a lot of teams that I have worked with are very serious and focus on needing to be psyched up.
“We’re completely the opposite. The guys are talking, there’s a vibe and laughter.
“I think we’re confident, but we’re being true to ourselves. A lot of the characters that we have in our team are very jovial, fun-loving guys.”
He recalled how when Westville played Michaelhouse in 2019 there was a very serious vibe about the side and that had the coaches worried ahead of the start of the match. It showed on the field as Michaelhouse outplayed Westville.
“We saw it coming because the energy was off that week. We know the kind of team and characters that we have, so we need to embrace it.”
The McLaren/Zulu coaching team also promotes a game that features flair. “Ever since Jubs and I connected as coaching partners, it was always about taking the risks,” McLaren admitted.
“We came up with a slogan of being wild at heart, because that is how we’ve been created. We want to take chances.
“I will never forget, last year we played Kearsney on our Old Boys’ Day and Carlo Del Fava, the ex-Italian international, was helping with our forwards. Our boys were inside our goal area and Jubs and I said ‘let’s go’ and Carlo looked at us and said ‘guys, you’re crazy’. To cut a long story short, we went and scored in the corner on the other side.
“For us, it’s a basic thing that you play what you see. We’ve been in trouble, with people that know the game questioning why we don’t kick. But that’s not our philosophy. We want them to have fun and we keep saying to them that the only mistake that they can make is the one that they don’t fix. Even international players make mistakes.”
Fitness is key for such an approach to work, but that, too, is not done simply with a traditional focus on running.
“[Fitness] has always got to do with a game that they play,” McLaren stated. “When Jubs does defence, it’s quite a lot of running, like a shuttle, forward and back. Our conditioning programme is not just big weights. It is all multi-functional stuff to enable us to play that type of game.
“The biggest thing is we try to make the boys think for themselves. We give them options to play and they choose.
“We definitely play a running brand of rugby. If you close us down, we’ll use a kicking game. If you don’t close us down, we will run at you.”
Having a promising season nipped in the bud, McLaren admits, has been a real downer. “We’re depressed, but you can’t do anything about it.
“This is one of the better teams, if not the best team, that Westville would have produced. I am not saying that a future team won’t be at this level, but this is a special group.”
He then ran off the very challenging schedule that Westville was supposed to have played: “We would have played Framesby now, which is a good side. Queen’s College is different. We’re going to try and rescheduled Affies. At the Kearsney Easter Festival, we had EG Jansen, HTS Drostdy and HTS Middelburg.” That’s a list that reveals a fear of no one.
Joy and celebration for Westville in their 52-7 win over DHS. (Photo: https://www.facebook.com/westvilleboyshighschool/)
“We had already done our homework and we worked out that within that space of time, those physical games, who would go where and Jubs has a good idea of who would be our back-up flyhalf, because that was a big problem for us, if we lost our 10. But now our other one is just as good.
Ruefully, he concluded: “It feels like you’re in this movie and you want it to end now.”
Having served up a tasty and entertaining teaser with their superb display against DHS, here’s hoping we get to see the Westville 1st XV of 2020 have more opportunities to show off their skills.
There are a number of players recently graduated from the KZN10.com schools in the SA Rugby Academy squad of 45 who are taking part in the Stellenbosch-based programme from this week to mid-May.
Feature image: Celimpilo Gumede continuing to fly School’s flag high.
The 45 include 3 recent members of the KZN10 who played for South Africa at the U20 World Championships, namely loose forwards Celimpilo Gumede (DHS) and Sibusiso Sangweni (Kearsney) and scrumhalf Jayden Hendrikse (Glenwood).
Other members of the KZN10 included in the 45-player SA Rugby Academy squad include front-ranker Sphekahle Dube (Maritzburg College) and last year’s outstanding Glenwood flyhalf Jordan Hendrikse – the younger brother of Jayden – centre Rynhardt Jonker (Glenwood).
Regarding the other players, I am not sure which were at any of the KZN10 schools.
If you know, please let us know in the comments section on Facebook.
The squad will be under the direction of Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux.
SA RUGBY ACADEMY SQUAD
After a long 6 years the age-old Glenwood Hilton College rugby rivalry resumes this @KZN10com Super Saturday when the Green Machine first XV tackle the flagship rugger side of Orando et Laborando come 2pm Sat 14 Mar on the Umbilo, Durban school’s fabled Dixons Field.
In this GlenwoodTV brought to you by DigiTV video hear the thoughts of Green Machine first XV captain Nico Steyn and head coach Derek Heiberg on what is sure to be a memorable occasion.
Feature photo: MORE THAN JUST A JOB: Glenwood first XV head coach Derek Heiberg takes the time to understand and counsel each Green Machine player in order to produce balanced young rugby men.
Last time out back in 2014 the Green Machine beat Hilton by 60 points but that ain’t gonna happen Saturday.
Here’s the Kearsney College take on the exciting 24-24 first XV rugby match vs Northwood on Stott Field Saturday.
Tracey van den Aardweg feature photo: Kearsney captain Massimo Fierro evades his Northwood opponents.
“Northwood started with high intensity and after 20 minutes managed a 12-0 lead.
“The visitors used their bulky forwards to attack the defensive line and twice managed to score – first in the right-hand corner for an unconverted try and the second after a classy offload from their impressive flyhalf for a seven pointer.
“The hosts looked stunned but all credit for an impressive fightback to end the half on 12-12.
“The first try came from centre Luke Dudley who dived around the ruck fringes after strong carries from captain Massimo Fierro.
“Luke du Toit converted and Kearsney soon followed this up with another try from prop Cameron van Eck, after a lineout maul.
“Kearsney came out in determined mood after the changeover and were somewhat unlucky not to convert opportunities in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
“Northwood scored next, somewhat against the run of play after a series of unforced errors by the hosts to go 17-12 up.
“Shortly after, Kearsney answered with a well-worked try by fullback Trent Coetzee after good territorial play from flyhalf Matthew Hind and a strong carry by centre Connor de Bruyn (17-17).
“The hosts struck again within two minutes, with possibly the try of the match, when De Bruyn produced a good offload to winger Aya Mngaza who outsprinted the opposition for a good 50 metres to score under the posts for Du Toit to convert.
“With Kearsney 24-17 to the good, the final Northwood (and match) try came from a chargedown on the scrumhalf’s clearance kick, which was converted and a tied score of 24-24.
“The hosts can be disappointed in that they squandered opportunities through bad skill. However, both teams played decent rugby enjoyed by the crowd.
“Outstanding players for the hosts were Fierro, De Bruyn, flanker Derick Marshall and winger Mngaza.”
Coaches don’t expect perfection in a season opener, but there are other things they hope to see, like character and fight, and by that measure both Northwood coach Grant Bashford and Kearsney coach Nico Breedt will be satisfied with the effort of their charges in a pulsating 24-24 draw on Stott Field at Kearsney on Saturday, writes KZN10.com’s Brad Morgan.
Fortunes and momentum ebbed and flowed in the contest and, ultimately, there was nothing to separate the two sides on the scoreboard, not even at half-time when they turned level at 12-12. Both teams notched two tries and a single conversion in each half.
Northwood, after a memorable 20-12 victory over Kearsney at home last year, their first win over their Botha’s Hill opponents since 1996, wanted a good follow-up to that performance, but just three members of the side that claimed a sweet win in 2019 are left in this year’s line-up. That didn’t hinder them at all in the early going, though, as they took charge from the first scrum when they turned up the torque and powered over the Kearsney pack to earn a penalty, much to the delight of the travelling supporters.
The Knights were dominating up front and scrumhalf Prolight Shoba was doing a wonderful job in providing a quality, quick service from the rucks, which helped Northwood build up impressive momentum. They were soon rewarded with the opening try when Onyekachi John-Osunkwo powered his way over in the right corner. Luke Dudley put in a desperate smothering tackle, but momentum carried the Northwood centre across the try-line.
Northwood centre Onyekachi John-Osunkwo scored a first half brace. (All photos: Brad Morgan, KZN10.com)
The visitors then more than doubled their lead with a well-worked try, which was, again, rounded off by centre John-Osunkwo. Deep inside the Kearsney half, he profited from running a good line off the shoulder of his flyhalf, Emmanuel Bhiya, to receive a short pass, which pierced the home side’s defensive line and put him in under the posts.
At 0-12 down, it looked as if it might become a long afternoon for Kearsney, but the home team then showed character and resolve to lift their game and put Northwood on the back foot.
Kearsney centre Connor de Bruyn attempts to fight off a tackle from Northwood flyhalf Emmanuel Bhiya.
Kearsney forced a shot at goal from a penalty, but it missed the mark. However, they didn’t have to wait much longer to get on the scoreboard through their centre Dudley, which drew a massive roar from the home side’s supporters.
Four minutes from the break and suddenly Kearsney had drawn level. From a five-metre lineout, they mauled effectively towards the Northwood try-line, splintering the visitors’ defences, before loosehead prop Cameron van Eck crashed over for the five-pointer.
Kearsney forced their way over with a drive from a five-metre lineout to level the scores.
A gutsy, determined stand on their own try-line then stopped Northwood from edging in front once more, just before the half-time whistle.
After the break, Kearsney piled on the pressure and were almost over, but flyhalf Bhiya and towering lock Christopher Viviers combined to hold up the ball-carrier over the line.
The momentum was with the home team, but the pendulum swung when the Knights, who had been under sustained pressure, engineered a thrusting break down the left-wing from a turnover, with fullback Unathi Mayekiso diving over in the corner to put his side ahead once more at 17-12.
Kearsney, again, turned up the heat and their captain Massimo Fierro was brought down only centimetres shy of the line after a powerful thrust. Stopped there, they quickly shifted the ball from left to right to put fullback Trent Coetzee into plenty of space and he sprinted over for a third five-pointer for the men in maroon.
Centre Luke Dudley makes a break in the second half.
Kearsney’s fourth try, when it came, mixed simplicity with individual brilliance. From a set piece, flyhalf Matthew Hind, attacked the line before flipping a short ball to right wing Ayabonga Mngaza, who was flying up on his inside shoulder. Mngaza then did the rest, his mazy run cutting one way then the other, leaving the Northwood defenders grasping at air as he scythed his way through from 40 metres out to score a stunning try underneath the uprights. The simple conversion put Kearsney 24-17 up.
Winger Ayabonga Mngaza proved a handful for the Northwood defence with his pace and evasive running.
With time running out, Northwood surged onto the attack, but Kearsney’s defence was resolute: Northwood bashed the ball up and Kearsney repulsed them with some stiff tackling.
Then, with only three minutes remaining on the clock, fullback Mayekiso received a pass on the Kearsney 22. Pumping his big thighs hard, he brushed aside two tacklers, forcing his way through a half-gap before breaking clear to fly over and dot down under the uprights. A simple conversion levelled the game at 24-24.
Unathi Mayekiso burst through the Kearsney defence to score Northwood’s fourth try.
The home team tried manfully for the winning points, carrying the ball through a number of phases, but Northwood gave little away to keep Kearsney out of scoring range and when the final whistle sounded a draw was probably a fair result.
“If you’re unemotional about it, it was entertaining. It was back and forth and it could have gone either way,” commented 1st XV coach Grant Bashford afterwards.
“From the start we had, we’re disappointed to draw, but being down then coming back to draw, we showed a lot of character. All in all, there are some mixed feelings.”
Kearsney coach Nico Breedt, summed the up the clash as “a typical first game of the season. Both sides would have wanted fewer mistakes. I thought they were better than us in the set phases.
“From a Kearsney point of view, we would like to work on that. They put us under a lot of pressure during the set phases. We couldn’t exit our own half with the kicking game, which was quite poor.”
Referencing Northwood’s hot start, Breedt added: “We’ve got a good record at home and we weren’t panicking at 12-0 down, and I thought at one stage we were going to get some momentum after we made it 12-12. Unfortunately, instead of converting that pressure into more points, we let them back into the game.”
A strong showing from the Northwood forwards ensured quality ball for the Knights’ backline.
The performance of the Northwood pack at scrum time pleased Bashford: “They were under pressure, they couldn’t get off of the base of the scrum. [Eighthman] Massimo Fierro and [centre] Connor de Bruyn were their two big carriers, Fierro off the base and Connor running shorter. They never really got that going today and that was from the pressure that was exerted in the scrum. We did enough in our scrum to unsettle them at the base and deny them the momentum that they were looking for from Fierro and De Bruyn.”
For Breedt, the big plus was the character his charges showed when under pressure: “At times our defense was really strong and I was happy with that, because it is the first time that we have been tested, with this being the first game of the season.”
Of concern for Kearsney will be the health of their captain Massimo Fierro, who was seen walking around after the game with an ice pack on his left shoulder, which was also in a sling. His AC joint will be assessed to determine the extent of his injury.
Kearsney eighthman and captain Massimo Fierro (passing the ball) is an injury concern ahead of their match against Clifton College on 14 March.
Casting an eye over Northwood’s performances throughout the day, coach Grant Bashford expressed satisfaction: “For us, for the day, our under-14 A team won, our under-15 A won, our under-16 A won and our first team has drawn, so it’s a good day out, and it’s not all about the first team, it’s the system that we’re doing at home. I think a draw is the best result we’ve had here in a long time, so we’ll take it.”
1st XV: Kearsney 24-24 Northwood
2nd XV: Kearsney 29-3 Northwood
3rd XV: Kearsney 43-29 Northwood
4th XV: Kearsney 25-5 Northwood
5th XV: Kearsney 33-17 Northwood
U16A: Kearsney 14-19 Northwood
u16B: Kearsney 21-21 Northwood
u16C: Kearsney 17-14 Northwood
u16D: Kearsney 5-47 Northwood
U15A: Kearsney 10-17 Northwood
u15B: Kearsney 10-14 Northwood
u15C: Kearsney 14-10 Northwood
U15D: Kearsney 17-19 Northwood
U14A: Kearsney 5-29 Northwood
u14B: Kearsney 10-49 Northwood
u14C: Kearsney 19-12 Northwood
u14D: Kearsney 14-22 Northwood
The Maritzburg College first XV are set to take on Eltham College at 8pm (SA time) in the first match of their tour to England and Wales.
This tour update is brought to you by official tour operators, the Howick-based Bundu Bashers Travel.
desdot photography feature image of (from left) Kaide Morsink, head coach Cameron Fraser,Kent Goedeke and Payton Elliot putting the final touches together in the tour party’s last training session on Goldstones before flying out on Saturday evening.
Here’s what head coach Cameron Fraser told KZN10.com earlier today.
“The flight was tiring, a bit strenuous, we arrived in England just after 2pm yesterday and proceeded to Eltham College where the boys were hosted out, and we had a training session this morning.
“Their side was unbeaten last year and obviously their side today has a lot of juniors, like us; they played a match on Saturday, their third of the English season.
“Our players are in a transition phase, they have been playing cricket and water polo, we have had to make do and had two training sessions per week.
“The weather here has been a bit drizzly, but it’s dried up now, so just overcast and cool.
“The boys have been in good spirits, and started playing touch rugby virtually the moment we arrived, apart from a few having a touch of gastro, while our blindside flank Brannon Webster has been feeling nauseous and won’t be in the starting XV; Chris van Heerden takes his place.
“The boys are looking forward to playing in front of what we believe will be quite a large contingent of Old Boys, and it’s an amazing opportunity for them to show what Maritzburg College rugby is all about on the international stage.
“We have requested that rolling subs be allowed, so we will be able to call on the entire number of our tour players if needs be – that’s why we have 10 on the bench.”
MARITZBURG COLLEGE STARTING XV vs ELTHAM COLLEGE
In a few days’ time a squad of 25 eager Maritzburg College rugby players are departing for a two-week tour to England and four testing matches that will be an early measure of where the players and the first team group stands ahead of the 2020 domestic season in South Africa.
The men in Red Black and White have their last training session on Goldstones from 3pm to 5pm this Wednesday before jetting off to London at the weekend.
Martin Ashworth feature image: Maritzburg College first XV scrumhalf Henry Trodd will be aiming to create and exploit space in England.
“What we would like to achieve with the tour is to try out different combinations with the available players,” Maritzburg College first XV head coach Cameron Fraser told KZN10.com
“And also to create an environment where our senior players can positively influence and assist with the growth of our junior players.
“We wish to also promote the College brand and boost the international awareness of Maritzburg College abroad.
“In the ideal world our goal is 4 perfect efforts to create a solid performance platform for 2020.”
BIG GAMES ON TOUR
“Millfield (18 September) and Oakham (24 September) will be our toughest opposition, as they collectively fielded 3 England U18 players this season,” Cameron added.
I am sure that all of you valued KZN10 supporters join KZN10.com website and social media in wishing the boys in Red Black & White everything of the best across the sea and safe return on September 28.
#REDBLACKWHITE TOUR FIXTURES
Match 1: Eltham College near London 16 Sept
Match 2: Millfield School near Bath 18 Sept
Match 3: Christ College Brecon near Cardiff 21 Sept
Match 4: Oakham School near London 24 Sept
MARITZBURG COLLEGE TOUR
- Cebo Dlamini (LHP)
- Junior Mndaweni (HK/LHP)
- Tristan Trollip (THP)
- Wandile Hlophe (LK/FL)
- Chris van Heerden (LK/FL)
- Malwande Dlangalala (FL)
- Brannan Webster (FL)
- Henrico Corbett (8/FL/HK)
- Henry Trodd (SH)
- Sven Zunckel (FH)
- Khwezi Hadebe (LW)
- Jarred Hendrikz (IC/FB)
- Philani Simamane (OC)
- Kaid Morsink (RW/IC)
- Anele Nzimande (FB/FH)
- Reece Wilken (HK)
- Travis van Aardt (THP)
- Athi Matsheke (LHP/THP)
- Campbell van Rooyen (LK/FL)
- Michael King (8/FL)
- Thabo Mbatha (LK/FL)
- Matt Zunckel (LW/OC)
- Payton Elliot (SH)
- Kent Goedeke (FH)
- Reece Price (IC)
Head Coach: Cameron Fraser
Assistant Coach: Renard le Roux
Tour Manager: Ryan Kyle (admin & organisational)
Kevin Smith: Director of Rugby (College Rugby representative and administration)
Biokineticist: Jason Greeff (treatment and rehab of injuries)
Durban High School appear to have struck gold in their recent appointment of Nico le Roux as director of rugby.
The glowing credentials of new DHS rugby boss Nico le Roux speak for themselves and there is likely to be much to celebrate for the boys both on and off the field.
Nico has served as Impala Rugby Club in Rustenburg’s director of rugby for the last 4 years, until the 2019 Gold Cup-winning final.
Impala RC won the event twice and were silver medallists once.
In earlier years of a distinguished coaching career that had begun in 1994, the-then All Blacks coach John Mitchell employed Nico as his technical advisor.
In his 26-year coaching career Nico has also worked in various capacities across the coaching spectrum.
In no particular order here, these include roles from technical adviser, High Performance analyst, HP manager, attack coach, course presenter, coach educator and head coach.
Apart from Impala RC, among his notable employers and teams have been the Lions, Blues and Chiefs Super Rugby franchises, the All Blacks, the junior All Blacks, SARU and the Investec Academy (Elite player group).
To complete the package, Nico holds a B.Comm honours degree in sports management.
The DHS rugby boys and coaching staff appear to be in good hands – and then some.
Durban High School is pleased to announce the appointment of the School’s new Director of Rugby, Nico Le Roux.
Nico, a former technical advisor to the New Zealand All Blacks under coach John Mitchell, has worked with, among others, the Blues, the Chiefs, the Junior All Blacks, in addition to the All Blacks.
He has enjoyed a long and successful career coaching rugby, which began back in 1994 when he was appointed as the Lions High Performance Manager.
His career took a huge leap in 2001, when he was appointed as the Technical Advisor to the Chiefs Super Rugby Franchise.
Nico was then appointed by the Waikato Rugby Union as their Technical Advisor.
His period in New Zealand also included working as Performance Analyst for the Blues Super Rugby Franchise and the North Harbour Rugby Union.
The highlight of his stay in New Zealand was when he was appointed as Technical Advisor to the All Blacks.
In 2009 Nico returned to South Africa and was appointed as the Attack Coach for Boland Rugby Union.
From the Boland, Nico was appointed by SARU in their Coaches Education Department. He also consulted for the Bulls.
In 2014 Nico joined the Investec Rugby Academy as a course presenter and Head Coach of their Elite players group.
He was appointed as Director of Rugby of Rustenburg Impala Rugby. As the Head Coach, he has taken the team to several prestigious finals including the Community Cup and Gold Cup competitions.
Nico holds a B.Com (Honours) in Sports Management.
The DHS community welcomes Nico and his family to Durban.
Text source: DHS