KES edge Saints in mudbath

King Edward stretched their run of wins to nine out of 10 by beating St Stithians 17-10 on Saturday.

An untimely thunderstorm in the early hours of the morning, followed by three preliminary matches, turned the field at KES into a bit of a mudbath, so it was never going to be a classic game of running rugby.

Saints battled at the breakdowns, where KES managed to force turnovers quite regularly, but their forwards more than held their
own in the other phases, particularly on the drive, and in the end this was a game they allowed to get away from them.

King Edward’s strength this season has been in the slick passing of their backs, and the speed that they have out wide. They were disrupted by injury on Saturday, having to play centre Lonwabo Ntleki at flyhalf and never quite got their rhythm going.

They opted, in the conditions, for more of a kicking game and it never really worked. A number of kicks ended up going out on the full, while the Saints back three handled those that didn’t go out pretty effectively.

The turning point in the game came five minutes before half-time when Saints flyhalf, Morgan Ferguson, got his timing wrong when chasing his own high kick and took KES fullback Kazlo Holtzhausen out in the air. He was yellow-carded, and KES centre Burt Fraser scored twice while he was off the field – in the last minute of the first half and the first minute of the second. Both were converted by Ruan van Rensburg, taking KES into a 17-5 lead.

Saints were first on the board after scrumhalf Stewart Wooler charged down a kick and went over in the corner, with Van Resburg kicking a penalty for KES shortly afterwards.

Once Ferguson returned to the field Saints came right into the game and spent plenty of time on the attack before finally breaking the KES defence with hooker Devon McMahon forcing his way through.

Ferguson missed the conversion, and never really came to terms with kicking for goal out of the mud, on a better day for him, there might have been an upset.