Hilton College claimed their 10th successive win this season with a hard-fought 27-23 victory over Pretoria Boys’ High in Pretoria on Saturday. THEO GARRUN reports.
It was a game of contrasting halves, with Hilton dominating the first period and Boy’s High on top in the second.
Hilton scored three first-half tries and after leading 21-10 at the break, they looked set for a big victory. Boys’ High came storming back in the second half, however, and Hilton were holding on in the end.
The hosts outscored their opponents 16-13 in the second half, and scored the only try of the period. You got the impression that if the game had gone on for five more minutes, Pretoria Boys’ might well have pulled off an upset.
That said, Hilton were the deserved winners, on the basis of their first-half dominance and their stronger forward pack.
Hilton scrumhalf Christopher Schreuder is a class act who must surely be in the mix for Sharks Craven Week honours this year. He was at the heart of all that his side did and scored 17 of their 27 points. Flyhalf Ruhan Wilmans was also prominent and scored a great individual try.
Among the pack, Hilton captain Patrick McVeigh led from the front, and lock Niaan Taljaard was huge with the ball in hand, as was No 8 Lorenzo Palacio Apez.
Pretoria Boys’ backs had the edge on their opponents. Scrumhalf Aiden Olivier has a sniping break and a sharp service and flyhalf Justin Cross’ kicking game was on song, both tactically and from the kicking tee. Out wide, fullback Dylan Thompson made many yards every time he set out on a run and wing Jamie Nortje has lots of pace and is a sharp finisher.
Their loose forwards, Reece Bekker and Katlegi Jada, both had big games.
Boys’ High were first on the scoreboard when Nortje outstripped the defence to go over in the corner in the second minute of the game. Cross slotted the conversion from the touchline.
Hilton hit back almost immediately with a try by the impressive Schreuder, which he converted. That was followed by two more tries, by McVeigh and Wilmans, and both were converted by Schreuder.
Boys’ High could only add a Cross penalty and they looked a beaten side when the half-time whistle blew.
They began to compete more effectively in the forward phases when they returned, however, and were rewarded with two penalties by Cross, to close the gap to five points (21-16).
Schreuder restored the 11-point lead via two penalties of his own and Hilton set about closing out the game.
A wayward clearance landed in the hands of Nortje, however, and the speedster danced down the touchline and went over in the corner for his second try. Cross threaded the conversion from out wide, and Hilton had to survive a nervous final five minutes to clinch the 27-23 victory.
This was the first time that the two schools have met in a full rugby fixture and, overall, it ended up almost exactly even. Of the 20 games played between the two sides, Hilton won 10, Pretoria won nine and there was one draw.
Hilton College – Tries: Cristopher Schreuder, Partick Mcveigh, Ruhan Wilmans. Conversions: Schreuder (3). Penalties: Schreuder (2).
Pretoria Boys’ High – Tries: Jamie Nortje (2). Conversions: Justin Cross (2). Penalties: Cross (3).
Photo: Theo Garrun