The Westville 1st Sevens Rugby Team came into the tournament on a back of a very tough Maritzburg College Sevens Tournament, but as reigning Champions, they were determined to defend their crown. Unfortunately they had lost two very influential players to injury: Hanro Naude and Bryce Kitching both succumbing to ankle injuries sustained at the College Tournament. Dominic Rivalland and Damon Lee were drafted in as replacements which strengthened the forward line up but left the squad thin in the backs.
Westville were drawn in the same pool as Eshowe High School, Hillcrest High School, DHS 2nd and a very well drilled Rugby Sevens side in Hoer School Die Anker from Brakpan. Westville’s first fixture was against Eshowe High, a team which could not be underestimated as they had some agile steppers and a few really quick players in their side. Westville who are notoriously poor starters, were focussed and ready and easily won the encounter 43 – 0 through a combination of pace, power and skill.
Westville then played against the DHS 2nd team, who were no match for the pace and skill of the Westville team, which managed to breach their defence with relative ease and score four excellent tries to win match 28 – 0. Hendrick Prinsloo, one of the teams’s standout players, unfortunately received a red card during match and could not play for the remainder of the tournament.
Hillcrest was Westville’s next opponent; they have had a decent season to date but were no match for the lower highway boys and were beaten 36 – 0. After three matches (43 minutes of play), Westville had scored 17 tries and concedd none, a statistic that reflected a watertight defence and an excellent attack.
In the final pool game Westville came up against the strongest team in their pool “Die Anker”. Westville needed to be disciplined on defence, because “Die Anker” played the game of sevens in the way it should be played. Once again Westville defended really well and were clinical on attack. They won the game 43 -14 to top their pool and qualify for the Cup Competition for the fourth time in successive tournaments. Unfortunately, Ntando Mthembu picked up a very serious ankle injury and was not available for the semi – final and final.
Westville met the DHSst1 team in the semi – final of the Cup competition. This was the fourth time that these two teams would meet each other this year, with DHS winning two of the previous three matches. In a tightly contested match Westville won 12 -7 to take them into the final against the host school, Glenwood who had triumphed over their 2nd team in the other semi final.
Playing with two players short in their squad was always going to be a tough ask. Westville were determined to retain their title. The game was an excellent exhibition of Sevens Rugby with both sides attacking at every opportunity. With two minutes to go, Westville were two points behind at 24 – 26 but the home side finished strongly to take the game away from Westville and claim the title, winning 36 – 24.
The Westville Team can be very proud of their efforts, having only lost once in twelve games in the last two tournaments combined.