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COLLEGE CLAIM REUNION DAY HONOURS
Maritzburg College managed to claim a narrow 16-12 victory over rivals Westville in an FNB Classic Clash that also celebrated Reunion Day at Goldstones.
Westville were brimming with confidence, having beaten Glenwood on their Old Boys Day, and came fresh into the match after enjoying a free weekend.
College knew they were outweighed by a much larger pack and were going up against a Westville side that possessed immense pace in the backline. However, this failed to deter the home side who exerted early pressure.
The home side failed to convert the pressure into points though and found themselves trailing when Westville’s well-executed set-piece from a scrum on College’s 22 metre line allowed them to break down the blindside to allow flank Devon Muller to dot down for the first try of the match. A successful conversion handed Westville a 7-0 lead.
The pace of the match intensified as College quickly moved the ball from the back of the breakdown to open up some space for the backline to exploit but they could not capitalise as poor decision making and handling errors resulted in numerous scoring chances being lost.
Westville were doing well to keep the home side at bay and looked set to not concede any points in the first half but they succumbed to the pressure and gave away a penalty just before the interval which allowed fullback Ruben van Blerk to split the uprights as College trailed 3-7 at the break.
College were able to keep the ball away from Westville’s forwards and started to feel the effects of the increased-pace in the second half. Van Blerk added a further three points early in the second half to reduce the deficit to a solitary point.
The home side grew in confidence from this point and began to dominate all facets of the game which led to a turning point that ultimately decided the result of the match. Westville turned over the ball at the breakdown and sent the ball wide but a handling error saw them knock the ball on to allow hooker Samuel Swanepoel to pounce. He handed off Westville’s attempted tackles at will on his way to scoring a great individual try.
Van Blerk made no mistake with the conversion and saw College claim a 13-7 lead for the first time in the match – a lead they would not relinquish.
College remained on the attack but were once again left frustrated by rather poor finishing and Westville took full advantage with 14 minutes remaining in the match. The visitors’ big pack held their structure well to allow prop Jordan Els to grab a try in the corner. Unfortunately, they could not convert the try to leave themselves trailing by a solitary point to set up a tense finish.
With time ticking away, Westville conceded a penalty some 40 metres from their try line and van Blerk decided to have a shot at goal. The place-kicker made no mistake with the effort to stretch the home side’s lead to 16-12 with five minutes remaining in the match.
It was not to be for Westville though as they succumbed to their second defeat at the hands of College in 2015.
For Maritzburg College:
Try: S Swanepoel
Con: R van Blerk
Pens: R van Blerk 3
Tries: D Muller, J Els
Con: N van Rooyen
Maritzburg College: 15 R Van Blerk, 14 X Guma, 13 S Mpanza, 12 C Frackers, 11 K Munangi, 10 M Kriel, 9 C Rattray, 8 C Glover, 7 B Muil, 6 K Thunder (captain), 5 P Immelman, 4 B Olivier, 3 A Reintges, 2 S Swanepoel, 1 M Smith.
Westville: 15 S Ball (captain), 14 B Mahlangu, 13 S Mhlamvu, 12 B Boulle, 11 J Wheeler, 10 N van Rooyen, 9 B Kitching, 8 K Nicholson, 7 D Muller, 6 Z Heyneke, 5 M Barnard, 4 S Qoma, 3 S Stoltz, 2 H Prinsloo, 1 J Els.
Referee: Ricus van den Hoven
Assistant referees: Local