There is an African proverb that says, ‘when elephants fight the only thing that suffers is the grass’. This will be so true when these two rugby giants collide on Goldstones on Saturday Afternoon. Fortunately, the only thing that will suffer will be the grass and nothing else. The hallowed ground of the red, black and white is a little more forgiving these days so come sun down tomorrow the field will most certainly bear the marks of a ferocious battle.
College come into the game with a 5 match winning streak after early season wobbles and seem to have settled on the right combinations. The inconsistency which has marked this Westville season took another twist last week as they lost to Hilton College at home in another game they had all the rights to win.
In Westville, College face a very similar team to Northwood, a brutal pack and some lighting quick backs. The key is, can the College loose forwards get around the park quick enough to plug all the holes that the likes of Westville fullback, Mbaso Nonki, may exploit.
Not that we need reminding just how dangerous they can be but here is the match winning try between Westville and Affies from just two weeks ago:
Against Northwood, College were caught a bit flat footed against the pace of Makhaza at the back. If College are going to play field position the rugby axiom of ‘a kick up field is only as good as its chase” comes into play.
There are intriguing match ups all the way through the teams. In the forwards it should be a titanic struggle for supremacy.
A player to keep an eye out for is Kgopotso Matlena of Westville in the second row. The Academy week player had a brilliant game against Hilton and has got great hands for a lock and is extremely agile. The question is can he do enough of the work in the trenches to affect play.
Opposite Matlena, is uncompromising Wandile Hlope for College. The Craven week lock may not move as well as Matlena but his brute strength in defence and general work in the tight lose sets him apart.
For College they will look for play maker Nzimande to control the game and spark their back line. A running flyhalf if ever there was one, the question that will need answering is, can he get College to play rugby in the right parts of the field? For all his great abilities he does lack that extra 10-20 metres of distance in his touch finders which could give Westville the platform to attack from.
Then there is the midfield battle between Mambo Mkhize of Westville and Kekana of College. Mkhize is a powerful ball runner, who more often than not, draws two and sometimes three defenders as he attacks the line.
The one weakness in his game at this stage of his rugby development is that his pass off either hand isn’t particularly convincing. He has perfected the art of the ‘Sonny Bill’ type pass out of a tackle so if he can free his arms he is capable of keeping the play moving.
Kekana is the rock of defence in the midfield between the two play makers Nzimande and Simemane and his role has certainly bought a little more balance to the College back line.
It is sure to be a great match as these two schools clash and we at KZN10 cannot wait.
Kickoff times : 1st 15:00
Elsewhere in the province, DHS take on Voortrekker in Durban whilst Clifton College play the DHS 2nd team on stagger. DHS should be to strong with Academy week player, Darren Booysen, sure to set Van Heerdens alight with his dynamic running.
Northwood head out of the province to take on St Benedicts College. The Knights have enjoyed the comforts of home or 4 weeks now and have delivered some great performances and leave with a 3 from 4 record. This should be a weekend where Northwood take the spoils ably lead by Craven week flank and team Captain Sasko Ndlovu.