KZN make encouraging start

KwaZulu-Natal U18 coach Tony Richter was satisfied with his side’s 33-12 win against a physical and powerful Leopards outfit on Tuesday.

Had KZN flyhalf Duncan Campbell (Westville Boys High) read the wind better, the score could have been greater, as he missed six kicks at goal in the second half alone.

Hilton College’s No 8 Guy Alexander led a determined and keen team onto a dry, hard surface, playing into a steady wind for the first 35 minutes.

Dominating from the kick-off, KZN showed intent with hard running from the backs and determined foraging for the ball from the forwards as the Leopards soaked up the pressure.

These tactics paid off as DHS fullback Mbembe Payi ran in the first try and Campbell added the rest with the boot for the side to enjoy a 16-0 advantage as the half drew to a close.

Perhaps thinking of the break, the KwaZulu-Natalians took their feet off the pedal for a moment and were punished with a Leopards try in virtually the last movement of the half.

Playing into the wind in the second period, KZN continued to dominate and nullify the Leopards’ big, strong forwards in the scrums and lineouts.

Campbell continued to stretch the lead at vital stages, goaling the kicks that counted and two more tries were added, Glenwood flanker Meyrick Walker and Michaelhouse centre Pat Howard dotting down, the latter’s try in the dying minutes as he charged down an attempted chip ahead by the Leopards. Howard enjoyed a stirling performance, catching the eye of selectors, coaches and past rugby players.

‘We played well considering this was our first game as a team,’ said Richter. ‘Back and forwards worked together, especially in the first half where we dominated most phases. This is a satisfying win and, while we may celebrate, we have another game on Thursday against opposition yet to be determined. A couple of lads are sore, but we should have the same players to choose from for our next match.’

Man of the Match was Glenwood lock Alwyn Jansen van Vuuren.

By David Knowles