King Edward V11 School made their annual road trip down to KwaZulu Natal on Saturday the 24 th of May to take on Westville Boys’ High School. The game was played before a capacity crowd on Bowden’s Field and the spectators were treated to a thrilling game of schoolboy rugby.
The first half was a rather tense affair marred by a high error rate from both sides. Well organised defence from both sides blunted any attacks launched and neither team was able to gain much dominance in the way of territory or possession. The home team benefited from the more goalable penalty options to lead 6 – 3 a quarter of the way into the match. Westville finally broke the deadlock with a well crafted try from a driving maul deep in KES’s 22m. No 8, Teigan Erasmus broke through on the blindside to run in unopposed and dot down under the poles. Kyan Braithwaite added the conversion and the home team led at the break 13 – 3.
If the first half was a tight affair, the second half was anything but with both sides scoring three tries in a pulsating 35 minutes that saw the momentum shift between the teams right up until the final whistle. Westville were first on the scoreboard when centre Wayne Smith made an excellent steal at the breakdown then broke through down the blindside and drew the KES fullback to put left wing Shane Ball in to the right of the pole. Braithwaite goaled again and suddenly Westville looked home and clear at 20 – 3 up. KES, however had other ideas. The 2 nd XV flyhalf, Brad Wright was introduced and he transformed the KES attack turned from pedestrian into a lethal force. Westville’s defence battled to cope with the new flyhalf’s penetrative runs and accurate passing, and began to concede linebreaks. KES completely dominated the middle of the second half and racked up two tries through their wings: Manny Mbatha and Keketso Maphate to bring the score to 20 – 16 with ten minutes remaining. Westville then wrestled the dominance back when fullback, Bradley Smith scored two scintillating tries to seal the win for the home team. The first was created by flyhalf, Lindo Buthelezi who gave a well time pass to put Smith into a gap and the fullback then used his speed to outstrip the cover defence. The second was created by right wing Donovan Pieters, who made an excellent line break and fed Smith to score. Braithwaite goaled both to give Westville a handy 34 – 16 lead.
KES were not about to give up and fought their way down the field deep into Westville’s 22m. KES launched wave after wave of attacks and they were rewarded with a try to Hooker, Willem Du Plessis with time up on the clock. The boys from Joburg showed enormous character to fight their way back into this game but ultimately the home team’s finishing proved to be superior and gave them a 34 – 23 win.