WHAT is arguably the biggest clash in township schools rugby ended in controversy after the referee, Jonathan Mouwers, ruled in favour of Ithembelihle players who charged and kicked the ball away before Ndzondelelo scrumhalf Bafana Dladla could kick a conversion in the last minute of the game at the weekend.
Mouwers judged the player had had enough time to make the kick before Ithembelihle players kicked the ball away.
He immediately blew the final whistle for a hard-fought 14-13 Ithembelihle FNB Classic Schools rugby victory at the New Brighton Oval on Friday.
Both sides went into the clash high in confidence after Ndzondelelo were crowned the Nelson Mandela Bay Nite Series champions and Ithembelihle as the Mzwandile Mali Memorial tournament champions.
Perhaps Ndzondelelo were more confident after breaking a seven-year losing streak to their arch rivals last year, but Ithembelihle were equally determined not to lose two consecutive derbies.
The game started with Ithembelihle camping inside Ndzondelelo’s half, but they failed to capitalise on the advantage.
Strong Ndzondelelo flanker Siphesihle Magawu proved to be a thorn in the side of Ithembelihle and carried the ball well.
His strong runs resulted in his side being awarded a penalty that was slotted home by Siyabonga Mabhebheza.
Dladla increased his side’s lead with an unconverted try.
Ithembelihle flyhalf Akho Tshoba, who had a good day, did all the hard work before passing the ball to speedy winger Somkelo Ndlovu, who outpaced his opponent for a try near the poles. Winger Ayabonga Mteto converted.
Man of the match Tshoba added his name to the try-scorers list when he sliced through Ndzondelelo’s defence for an individual try. Mteto converted and took his side to a slim 14-8 half-time lead.
The second half was dominated by Ndzondelelo as they camped inside Ithembelihle’s half. Ithembelihle could have sealed the victory against the run of play but winger Gift Mdudo knocked the ball on with the tryline in his sights.
Olwethu Ngoza scored the only points of the second half as he dived home near the corner flag for Ndzondelelo.
But Dladla never took the kick as the referee ruled in favour of Ithembelihle players who charged and kicked the ball away before he could take the kick, ruling that the player had had enough time to take the kick.
Pearson v Alex Road
PEARSON used a strong performance up front to overcome a gutsy Alexander Road effort 29-15 in their schools rugby derby at Pearson on Saturday.
In windy conditions, the hosts ran up a 19-3 lead at half time and crossed twice more after the break to secure a solid victory.
Pearson’s pack dictated matters during the game and this was typified by two bullocking charges by powerful prop Luthando Fini, who crossed for tries in the 17th and 25th minutes to give his team a telling lead.
Earlier, robust flank Xolisa Matshoba burst through for Pearson’s opening try in the third minute, with scrumhalf Nathan Augustus adding two conversions.
Facing the strong wind, Alex spent most of the time in their own territory, but when they did venture upfield, flyhalf Dylan Walters got them on the scoreboard with a penalty.
In the second half, Pearson were again first to score when quick recycling and excellent distribution by the backline saw fullback Tiaan Gerber dot down for a fine try.
Alex, however, with Walters and talented No8 Seth Frieslaar prominent, kept on testing the Pearson defence and eventually the eighth man charged over from a quick tap. Walters added the conversion to make it 24-10.
But Pearson drew further ahead when the lively Augustus, always a handful for the Alex defence, darted over from a scrum close to the visitors’ line.
Alex scored once more when wing Cameron van Heerden raced down the right touchline, but the final whistle went immediately after the unsuccessful conversion.
OTHER schools rugby results at the weekend were: Brandwag 10 Daniel Pienaar 9, Queen’s 29 Grey High 25, Grens 61 Hangklip 7, Framesby 81 Otto du Plessis 0, Kingswood 20 Hudson Park 19, Nico Malan 24 Muir 10, Port Rex 15 Cambridge 24, St Andrew’s 31 Graeme 17, Stirling 10 Dale 78, Westering 22 DF Malherbe 23