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Craven Week Day 3 and Day 4

Written by beet bailey (beet)

Posted in :Original Content, School Rugby on 13 Jul 2011 at 10:18
Tagged with : , , ,

A clear-cut path to Saturday’s unofficial final has already been mapped out for the winners of the Free State vs Blue Bulls clash.

The two highly rated teams were actually the odds on favourites to meet on Wednesday, long before Craven Week even started. Now resounding Day 1 wins has sparked debate over who the favourites are going into this game. This has even led to discussions turning to the current form and even the result of match involving the two rugby unions’ main feeder schools, in an effort to pick a winner.

In this respect Grey College of Bloemfontein are unbeaten in 2011 and are the number 1 ranked team in the country. Waterkloof by comparison are recognised as a very talented team who have underachieved this season and are now ranked closer to 10 than 1. Crucially one of the two big games that Waterkloof has lost in 2011 was back in May in the self-same town of Kimberley to the mighty Grey College. It was a tight game that Waterkloof appeared to have in the bag, only to see victory snatched away from them at the death. Whether much can be drawn from that result remains to be seen but it does lead to interesting comments about each provincial team’s BMT.

Kwa-Zulu Natal has been presented with a golden opportunity to advance to Saturday’s main game following a hard fought and well-deserved win against Western Province. KZN will meet the Golden Lions, impressive winners against Eastern Province, in the last game on Thursday afternoon. Despite being given this top billing status, much will however depend on the outcome of the Border -Western Province game. Although WP’s hopes of making the televised final were dashed by KZN, Border go into the clash undefeated and a convincing win may persuade selectors that they, Border are the team most worthy of a place in the final game.

For KZN the challenge will once again be in the set-pieces. Holding their own against a Lions team that looked to have few difficulties at scrum-time or in the lineouts is vital. If they do not expend too much energy and can secure decent possession from set-pieces, KZN should be more than a match for their Krugersdorp, sorry Jozi based rivals in the loose and amongst the backs.

Crucial to this Game 2 round of fixtures are the teams’ Game 1 reserves. In terms of the rules these reserves are now guaranteed a start. This means that, in the absence of valid reasons such as an injury to a Game 1 reserve player, each team is required to make 7 changes to their starting line-ups.

For KZN the likely changes are:

1. Equally adept Pina for his Glenwood teammate Worrall-Clare at tighthead,
2. Versatile Collopy who will no doubt be asked to double as a fetcher for Taylor at hooker,
3. Big, physical Horn for Klingenberg at lock,
4. Buthelezi, the best tackler in KZN for Game 1 standout player Nanto at openside flanker,
5. Cope, the creative and quick DHS captain for R.du Preez at flyhalf,
6. Marwana, the quick and skilful utility back for Sithole on the right wing,
7. And the most difficult decision of them all will probably have to be made at centre where talented young Kearsney playmaker Khubeka either has to replace the defensive stalwart Moolman or the powerful attacker Fisher.

The idea of move Fisher out to wing must certainly be on the mind of Coach Steyn, however this would involve relegating hotstepping fullback Mbembe Payi, who has just registered himself as an SA Schools candidate with his performance against WP.

Fixtures for Wednesday 13 July

10.00: Eastern Province Country Districts vs Leopards
11.40: Griquas vs Namibia
13.10: Pumas vs Boland
14.40: Valke vs South Western Districts
16.10: Free State vs Blue Bulls

Fixtures for Thursday 14 July

10.00: Griquas Country Districts vs Border Country Districts
11.40: Limpopo vs Zimbabwe
13.10: Eastern Province vs Griffons
14.40: Western Province vs Border
16.10: Lions vs KwaZulu Natal

KwaZulu Natal Team: 15 Mbembe Payi (DHS), 14 Lwazi Sithole (Maritzburg College), 13 Tyler Fisher (Westville), 12 Dean Moolman (Glenwood), 11 Siyabonga Tom (Glenwood), 10 Robert du Preez (Kearsney), 9 Stefan Ungerer (Maritzburg College), 8 Carel Swart (Glenwood), 7 Jean-Luc du Preez (Kearsney), 6 Sibulele Nanto (George Campbell), 5 Ferdinand Horn (Glenwood), 4 Daniel du Preez (Kearsney), 3 Matthew Worral-Claire (Glenwood), 2 Jaques Taylor (Glenwood), 1 Niel Oelofse (Glenwood), 16 Cullen Collopy (Kearsney), 17 Sanele Pina (Glenwood), 18 Jens Klingenberg (Vryheid), 19 Jackson Buthelezi (Westville), 20 Brendan Cope (DHS), 21 Sandile Khubeka (Kearsney), 22 Nkululeko Marwana (Glenwood).


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