St John’s caused something of an upset when they beat St Stithians 33-23 in the Joburg independent schools festival derby on Saturday.
St John’s were certainly deserved winners, the surprise element of the win comes from a look at the respective results of the sides going into the fixture: St John’s had just two wins under their belts – over St Benedict’s and St Andrew’s, while Saints have been having one of their best seasons, including a victory over Jeppe in their previous outing.
St John’s handed their opponents a lesson in how to look after possession. They dominated the set pieces, and when they had the ball in hand, they took it through multiple phases, resulting in Saints not touching it for long periods of time.
St John’s raced into a 20-3 lead before St Stithians managed to get some possession, closing the gap to 20-10 at half-time. It was more of the same after the break, however, and St John’s extended their lead to 33-16 before a late St Stithians try gave the scoreline some respectability.
As far as points-scoring was concerned, the two flyhalves made the major contributions. St John’s pivot Jason Newton contributed 28 points via two tries, three conversions and three penalties, while his Saints counterpart, Morgan Ferguson, scored a try and kicked two conversions and three penalties for a tally of 18. Brett Rogers scored St John’s other try, while Dean Wilkinson dotted down for St Stithians.
St John’s coach, Stefan Lourens was naturally delighted with the result.
‘We needed a good win,’ he told keo.co.za. ‘The side has taken some time to buy into our new coaching philosophy, but while there has been a steady improvement in their standard of play, the results have not come.
‘This is a big result for the school, I think we may have turned the corner now.’