KZN School Boy Rugby match report – Northwood vs Westville
Featured Picture Credit – Northwood School
In a game that was marked by ferocious froward exchanges Northwood triumphed over a formidable Westville 1st XV. It was a memorable day for the Northwood Knights as they recorded their first win over the Westville Griffons in many a year winning 19-15.
Northwood learnt from last weeks encounter against Hilton College and their play was more varied. With field position being key Northwood elected to kick far more than the week before. The margins at this level are fine and in the process now kicked away far to much handing possession to the dangerous Westville backs.
It was from one of their kicks out of hand, however, that Northwood scored their 1st try. Luke Cornelius spotting space behind the Westville defence opted for a short box kick which Northwood captain Nldovu collected and dotted down for a try. The conversion was missed making the score 5-0 to the Knights.
Exciting Westville talent, Mambo Mkhize, impressed greatly on the day and looks to be settling into his new roll of inside centre. The rampaging centre got over the advantage line almost at will and placed the Northwood defence under tremendous pressure. Regrettably, Westville were not able to capitalise on these and missed all their kicks at the posts in the 1st half.
It wasn’t as if Mkhize had it all his own way, opposite number Tapuwanashe Nyangani had an outstanding game of his own.
His elusive running created a number of opportunities to release centre partner Linamandla Majola to punch further holes in the Westville lines. Northwood will be kicking themselves as their decision making was not of a very high standard and, as was the case last week against Hilton College, would hold onto the ball when a simple pass would be more effective.
Those missed opportunities came back to haunt Northwood as a late Westville try in the 1st
half levelled matters at 5-5.
From the way the two teams started the second half the message in the respective huddles was clear: gain forward supremacy. The minutes after half time were brutal as the front eights from both teams piled into each other as they battled to get over the advantage line.
It was during one of these passages of play that Northwood scored their second try. A neat little chip into space caught Westville a little flat footed and Northwood raced onto the ball. The Knights secured possesion and made towards the line and, after receiving a cracking pass, ever present Mpendu scored under the poles. With the conversion the score was 12-5 to Northwood. Just rewards for Mpendu whose work rate and nose for the ball were marked features of his play.
Westville roared back into life and came straight back on the attack and scored a converted try of their own making the score 12-12 midway through the 2nd half. A few minutes later Westville again scored via penalty kick making the score 15-12 to the visitors marking the first time that they had led in the whole match.
It was going down to the wire as the Northwood faithful urged their team on and with 7 minutes remaining their beloved knights delivered. A Knights scrum created the perfect platform for a set piece move and, with exquisite timing, Nyangani once again stepped up for Northwood as he sliced through the Griffons defence. Showing great awareness he fed the ball to Makhaza who scored under the poles. With the conversion the scores were now 19-15 in Northwoods favour.
Westville were not done, however, and back they came as the searched for a try to win the game. The tension was palpable as the spectators anxiously watched play move up the field.
With a few seconds remaining Northwood spotting the ball carrier run a little upright into contact latched onto the player and attempted to hold him up in the tackle and force a maul. Westville frantically tried to get a knee on the ground to make it a tackle but to no avail as the referee called maul handing the possession back to the Knights much to the elation of the home fans.
With only a few seconds remaining a solid scrum and clearance into touch ushered in the end of the game with the referees shrill blast of his whistle. Game over and a superb 19-15 win for the Knights of Northwood over the Griffons of Westville.
Northwoods fine season continues and this team is certainly leaving its mark as one of the finest to have ever come out of the Durban North School. Next up for Northwood is a home fixture in a schools exchange with Parktown Boys from Johannesburg.
Westville’s up and down away form this season will again be tested as they make a trip up to Tshwane to take on a powerhouse Affies team.