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Back You are here: Home Sports Rugby Kwa Zulu Natal CRAVEN WEEK 2011: KZN v WESTERN PROVINCE Report
Wednesday, 13 July 2011 12:39



Tyler_FisherIn what was one of the most competitive schoolboy rugby seasons of recent years, much was expected of the KZN class of 2011 and this was clearly shown in the scheduling of their first game of the 2011 edition of the Coca-Cola Craven Week.
After almost a decade of underachieving, KZN were pitted against one of the traditional powers of this annual event, Western Province.

Craven Week is habitually dominated by Free State and WP, so it came as no surprise that the East Coast boys went in as underdogs. From the opening exchanges, the struiptruie dominated at scrum time and scored from a rolling maul as early as the fifth minute. However, with an outstanding display at the breakdown by George Campbell flank, Sibulele Nanto as well as Province hooker Chad Solomon having a nightmare showing in the lineouts, suddenly WP were on the back foot and although KZN Captain Stefan Ungerer did not have his best showing, his much celebrated bullet pass enabled KZN’s pivot and playmaker, Robert du Preez to release his massive centre pairing of Dean Moolman and Tyler Fisher.

Du Preez’s unpredictability has made him almost impossible to mark and he duly bamboozled the WP defense from a scrum ten metres from his opponents’ tryline. Westville’s Tyler Fisher saw very little of the ball in the first quarter, but the continuous attention that the Province midfield showed Moolman gave Fisher enough space to use his devastating brute strength, dotting down early in the second half.

The final score of 23-21 was perhaps kind to the boys from the Cape, as Glenwood winger Siyabonga Tom only slotted three of his six attempts off the tee; all of them highly kickable.  That being said, Tom and fellow winger Lwazi Sithole were crucial in the KZN victory, due to their uncanny ability to thwart WP’s incessant overlaps with their aggressive and well-timed defence. At the back, DHS folk hero Mbembe Payi was his effervescent self and whilst his size will count against him in the future, he is certainly a potential sevens star of the future, in the Cecil Afrika mould.     

KZN will next play the Lions on Thursday afternoon and will have to step up their efforts upfront if they are to compete with a Gauteng pack that is effectively Monument Hoerskool in all but name.
With the educated boots of du Preez, Payi and Brendan Cope off the bench, KZN’s game plan should be to play the game in the Lions red zone and bank on their terrific lineout that set the platform for Western Province’s downfall. Whilst most teams predictably rely on their second row pairing, KZN have four realistic lineout options in Johan Klingenberg, Carel Swart and the du Preez twins (not to mention Horn, who is likely to start). A victory in this encounter and the black and white could very well see themselves in the unofficial final against Free State on Saturday.