The Joburg schools rugby bragging rights belong to King Edward after their emphatic 49-31 win over Jeppe on Saturday. THEO GARRUN reports.
This was the first of two annual clashes between the two schools – they meet again on 20 July – and Saturday’s victory will have gone a long way towards erasing the memory of last year when Jeppe won both encounters.
The game was effectively over in the 20th minute when KES weathered a five-minute onslaught on their line by the Jeppe forwards.
The Reds had by then already scored two tries in the second and fourth minutes through their flankers Connor van Buuren and Josh Nkomo. They managed to escape and got their third try from the ensuing counter-attack.
The KES forwards were dominant. They won a number of Jeppe lineout throw-ins, and their front row, with giant tighthead Wayne van Niekerk to the fore, caused the Jeppe scrum problems throughout.
As a result, the KES backs received plenty of quality possession, and they made good use of it. Van Niekerk is proving to be a try-scoring factor for KES this year. He got two more on Saturday.
KES scored seven tries in the end, five of them by their forwards. Their execution was excellent and they got points just about every time they got into the Jeppe half.
Jeppe, on the other hand, were playing catch-up. They were getting the ball on the back foot and were pressurised into making too many mistakes. When they did get their preferred pick- and-go game going, they invariably ran into a red defensive brick wall.
The entire KES pack can take a bow, but loose forwards Connor van Buuren, Josh Nkomo and the captain, Lindo Ncusane, were particularly effective. They were often unstoppable on the drive and were at the heart of those defensive heroics.
Scrumhalf Nick Harris is big and strong and had to be watched all the time, while centre Ngia Selengbe and fullback Eulon Redcliffe were prominent with ball in hand.
The dangerous Jeppe backline wasn’t given much room to move, but their Boytjie Tstasane still put in a few big runs, fullback Gerath Louw was his usual elusive self, and he scored a good individual try.
KES were 49-17 ahead with 10 minutes to go and a half-century was on the cards, but Jeppe, to their credit, never gave up and they scored the last two tries of the game to lend some respectability to the final scoreline.
King Edward – Tries: Connor van Buuren (2), Josh Nkomo, Wayne van Niekerk (2), Nick Harris, Eulon Redcliffe. Penalties – Conan Davies (2). Conversions: Davies (3), Redcliffe.
Jeppe – Tries: Sibu Shingwe, Gerath Louw, Tsoane Tiro, Calvin Kuperus, Jarred Hawthorne. Conversions: Tiro (3).
Picture: Theo Garrun