St David’s centre Gregory Kourie scored a hat-trick of tries to help his side to a 33-26 win over Clifton School of Durban in an exciting encounter in Inanda on Saturday. THEO GARRUN reports.
Kourie opened and closed the scoring for his side, getting his first five-pointer in the 10th minute of the game, and his third with five minutes to go. In between, it was a ding-dong affair, characterised by exciting rugby and some good tries. In the end, the home side got five touchdowns to the visitors’ four and were deserved winners of a close contest.
The teams were locked at 14-14 at half-time and they swopped tries early in the second half to see Clifton go 21-19 ahead. Kourie then got two tries in quick succession to see the hosts lead 33-21, before Clifton got a last-minute consolation try to close the gap to seven points in the end.
St David’s had gone down heavily to St Alban’s College the week before, and they lost four players to injuries that day, so they put a rather makeshift team out on Saturday, and they then lost flyhalf Jamie Hutton to an injury early in the first half.
The youngsters who stepped in rose to the occasion and they played some great rugby. Apart from Kourie’s heroics – his second and third tries were both individual efforts scored from far out – fullback Leo Michael was very good on the counter-attack, while lock Simbainashe Kanyangarara and eighthman Brayden Gould were impressive with ball in hand.
St David’s captain and scrumhalf Andrew Cawood had to move to No 10 when their first choice was injured and made a big impression, contributing 13 points via a try and four conversions.
Clifton flyhalf Michael Goedeke is clearly a class act. His tactical kicking kept St David’s in their own half for long periods and his lighting breaks kept their defence on its toes. He was rewarded with a try and also kicked three conversions.
The Clifton pack dominated up front. They scrummed well and stole several lineout balls. Locks Nick Herbst and Gregory Selles got through a lot of work, while eighthman Josh Brown, the captain, was very impressive.
St David’s coach Johan Black was delighted at the way the boys bounced back from last week’s defeat.
‘We were a disrupted team, but stuck to the plan, which was to run the ball from everywhere,’ he told SARugbymag.co.za. ‘We moved their big pack around and it paid off in the final quarter when the altitude began to affect them.’
Clifton coach Ross Saayman was naturally disappointed but said it was a very good game.
‘It was a physical encounter which see-sawed from end to end with both teams playing an exciting brand of rugby,’ he said. ‘Congratulations to St David’s on a wonderful day of rugby and for hosting us superbly.’
St David’s Marist Inanda – Tries: Gregory Kourie (3), Emmanuel Mphafudi, Andrew Cawood. Conversions: Cawood (4).
Clifton – Tries: Michael Goedeke, Jack Koch, Josh Brown, Jarred Lewis. Conversions: Goedeke (3).
Photo: Theo Garrun