Kingswood are hoping to end their 15-year drought against St Andrew’s at City Lords on Saturday.
While College have played consistently well for much of the season, Saints have not lost to Eastern Cape opposition since a 17-13 reverse to Marlow away in July 2009. Saints crushed Graeme College 76-0 this year, while Kingswood only achieved a 27-11 scoreline against the same opposition.
One might say that past results count for nothing in derby days, but St Andrew’s dominance has extended throughout the Eastern Cape, with victories against Dale, Queens. Selborne, Grey and Marlow. Kingswood have themselves shown consistency this season with wins over Stirling, Hudson Park, Dale and Port Rex.
Both sides like to keep the ball in hand and run from deep with their excellent forwards providing the backs with quick, clean ball, so defence will be vital.
The loose trios will play an important role on Saturday, with a big tussle between the two fetchers, Ryan Black (St Andrew’s) and Chris Roberts (Kingswood). Kingswood will also look to captain Jason Collettt, Arran Briceland and No 8 Chad Matthews to give them the necessary edge in the collisions, while Saints will rely on the two Priors, Grant and Mark, for the necessary steel and hard nosed grunt that has worn down the best in the province this season.
The Kingswood backs, with their impressive centre pairing of John Hale and Chris Keets, will look to punch holes in what has been a resolute Saints backline, marshaled by captain Ryan Dugmore. The Saints backs are smaller than their College opponents, but have dealt with bigger opposition backlines with ease this year, only once conceding more than three tries in a game and blanking out the impressive Dale College backs.
Goal kicking could also be the difference between winning and losing, with the responsibility lying on the shoulders of St Andrew’s hooker Dane van der Westhuyzen and Kingswood fullback Scot van Breda. Both have excelled in that department this season and any mistake within range may prove costly.
‘We will stick to the same formula that has worked for us throughout the season and will rely on a collective effort from the team in order to win on Saturday,’ said Kingswood coach Graham Carlson.
St Andrew’s director of rugby Allan Miles said his side would concentrate on the set pieces and breakdowns as matches are won and lost at those two areas of play.
By Khanyiso Tshwaku