Spha Ngcobo the quicksilver as Maritzburg College shine on Goldstones

The Red Black and White’s Spha Ngcobo provided the magic touch as Maritzburg College first XV outplayed a game St Charles College 45-7 in front of a packed Goldstones crowd that showed its appreciation at being allowed to attend in numbers for the first time in 30 months.

A good few thousand spectators were treated to the quick thinking, ingenuity and innate ability of the electric-heeled fullback Ngcobo to spot an opportunity and spark something out of nothing (or, at best, a half-chance) from anywhere inside the white lines on the lush green fields of Maritzburg College’s  home of rugby.

Justin Waldman Sports Photography feature photo caption: Outstanding Maritzburg College fullback Spah Ngcobo’s delight in spashdown over the tryline whitewash versus St Charles on Goldstones. 
*You can contact this superb photographer and check out his website for a host of stunning images at https://pix.jjd.co.za/index.php

Couple this with a dominant, efficient pack of forwards, the consistency and game management of scrumhalf and captain AJ Knoetze. The direct power of big centres Liam Prinsloo and Litelihle Bester – whose ability to punch holes through the midfield and offload (if needs be) is another major feature of the Maritzburg College makeup.

Unfortunately, circumstances prevented me from being there but – thanks to the SuperSport Schools feed – picked up on the action at a later stage. It was a match permeated with unforced errors but that is understandable considering the relative zero matches over the Covid period. In the ensuing weeks we are likely to see fewer soft mistakes and more constructive, coherent rugby that doesn’t encourage the referee’s whistle too often.

See link below for the SuperSport Schools recording of the action at Maritzburg College, the first XV match is from 6:40 onward.




The Maritzburg College lineouts didn’t always work out but this time it’s clean ball for lock forward Kuhle Mthimkhulu. Justin Waldman Sports Photography


What hasn’t changed is the passion and endeavour in playing for your school and your schoolmates. The spectators on Goldstones, too, have certainly retained their enthusiasm over the lean 30 months of inaction.

Check this 29-second @Maritzcollege tweet of the RBW boys on Basher Ridge.


The good 3 thousand-plus spectators embraced Saturday’s bumper programme of 24 Red Black and White matches against the against Saints (11 matches) and their fellow Derby Day PMB schools Voortrekker (5 matches), Linpark (3) and from a little further afield, Howick (4) and Westville (1).

In terms of outcomes it was a day of note for the home school as 19 matches were won in the “like vs like” (A team vs A team, B team vs B team etc) fixtures with 5 losses in the “stagger” matches (College 6th team vs Howick 1sts etc).

The Maritzburg College age-group A teams enjoyed a trio of convincing win over their Saints counterparts; the Red Black White (RBW) U16A trumping 75-7, the U15As 33-0 and the U14As 56-14.

Maritzburg College first XV match report by head coach Tim Orchard:


The multifaceted Maritzburg College first XV head coach Tim Orchard.


Over to Tim:
“On Saturday Maritzburg College played host to St Charles for the first home game of the season in front of a packed crowd on Goldstones.”

Tim says Saturday was an auspicious occasion as it marked the first time in two years since the Maritzburg College 1st XV last ran out in front of a jam-packed Goldstones crowd. The Red Black and White’s skipper and scrumhalf AJ Knoetze had the singular honour of breaking that long drought.

“The match started off in a relatively sedentary manner as both sides sought to feel each other out in the first quarter of the match,” says Tim. “Litelihle Bester provided the spark that the match needed when he executed a move off the training paddock to score a relatively easy try, with the conversion coming from AJ Knoetze to give College the lead 7-0.


Maritzburg College’s powerful centre Litelihle Bester is over for 1 of his 3 Goldstones tries on Saturday. Justin Waldman Sports Photography


“College began to find some rhythm on attack and after waves of pressure, Knoetze kicked over a penalty to lengthen the lead to 10-0.

“St Charles began to find some purchase on attack and made a rare entry into the College 22-metre area, but a spilt pass allowed Spha Ngcobo to showcase what he can do in broken play.  With some sublime footwork and electric acceleration, he raced away to score an awe-inspiring individual try. The resulting conversion was calmly knocked over by Knoetze which took the score to 17-0.

“Further College attacks were thwarted by the final pass going astray and the score remained the same until the referee brought an end to the half.


Maritzburg College captain and scrumhalf AJ Knoetze, who scored a faultless 15 points with the boot and adds even more value during game time, is worth so much to the team. Justin Waldman Sports Photography


“The second half also started very slowly with numerous unforced errors from both sides preventing any real momentum. College slowly began to exert their dominance at lineout time, with a series of powerful lineout drives allowing the team to work its way deep into the St Charles half.

“From the resulting breakdown after a powerful carry from Liam Prinsloo, Litelihle Bester again walked over the tryline for a well-deserved try. The conversion lengthened College’s lead to 24 -0. Shortly afterwards Kuhann van den Berg finished off a well worked backline move to score in the lefthand corner, again duly converted to make the score 31-0.


The sheer exhilaration of touching down for a try on Goldstones is reflected by Maritzburg College left wing Kuhann van den Berg. Justin Waldman Sports Photography


“The game began to open up, but College were let down by numerous unforced errors when on the attack as they now camped in the St Charles half. From a scrum on the right-hand side of the St Charles half, Lithelihle Bester made a trademark break, through the midfield to score his third try of the match. The score stood at 38-0 after the conversion was slotted by Knoetze.

“With some slick interplay in broken play, Spha Ngcobo finished off a well worked team try to put the score at 45-0 after Knoetze once again kicked the conversion.

“St Charles did not give up and scored a consolation try right at the death, making the score 45-7 at the final whistle.”

Thanks Tim, much appreciated.


Front-row units like few things more than ball in hand and a bit of space to run. RedBlackWhite loosehead Diego Mandela Antoniades in possession with his tighthead Peter John Brits in support. Justin Waldman Sports Photography


Summary of Saturday’s Maritzburg College scores

Team Opposition Venue Result

1st St Charles Goldstones won 45-7
2nd St Charles Goldstones won 21-10
3rd Voortrekker 1st Goldstones won 7-0
4th Linpark 1st Goldstones won 31-5
5th St Charles 3rd Goldstones won 19-12
6th Howick 1st Goldstones lost 5-8
7th St Charles 4th Lamonds lost 17-22
8th Voortrekker 2nd Lamonds lost 7-32

16A St Charles Goldstones won 75-7
16B Voortrekker A Snows won 60-0
16C Howick A Nicholsons 1 won 36-6
16D St Charles B Nicholsons 1 won 31-0
16E Westville D CANCELLED


Maritzburg College’s unselfish flyhalf Ayrton van der Linde was the perfect foil to the attacking weapons that are centres Liam Prinsloo and hat-trick hero Litelihle Bester. Justin Waldman Sports Photography


15A St Charles Snows won 33-0
15B Voortrekker A Snows won 29-5
15C Linpark A Nicholsons 1 won 43-5
15D St Charles B Nicholsons 1 won 14-5
15E Howick A Nicholsons 2 lost 0-43
15F Westville E Away (Westville) lost 0-50

14A St Charles Snows won 56-14
14B Voortrekker A Snows won 45-7
14C Linpark A Leaches won 22-10
14D St Charles B Nicholsons 2 won 38-29
14E Howick A Nicholsons 2 won 43-18
14F St Charles C Leaches won 29-20


Nothing quite like the feeling of a plan that comes together: RBW fullback Spha Ngcobo conjured up some sublime moments in front of an appreciative Goldstones crowd. Justin Waldman Sports Photography

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