Clifton are aiming to neutralise Kearsney’s superior attack in Durban on Thursday, writes MARIETTE ADAMS.
Kearsney have won 13 of their 16 games this season, with Clifton victorious in just five out of their 12. This will be the last match of 2016 for both sides.
Kearsney have lost just one of their KwaZulu-Natal derbies, to Glenwood. They have beaten Westville, DHS, Hilton, Michaelhouse, Northwood, Maritzburg and St Charles. Clifton’s most noticeable triumphs were against St Charles and Pinetown.
‘Kearsney are one of the top sides in KZN and they are ruthless with ball in hand,’ Clifton coach Ross Saayman told SARugbymag.co.za, adding that his side would have to sharpen their attack and defend well.
‘You cannot afford to waste possession against a team like Kearsney. We have altered our attack formation a little, but this makes us vulnerable to the counter-attack. We have to nullify their backs, especially those who have been named in the KZN Craven Week side. We can always fall back on our field-kicking game plan to turn Kearsney around if our new attack formation is hard to implement in a match situation. But we cannot slip tackles, not against Kearsney.’
Kearsney coach Barend Steyn says his side have had just one practice session this week.
‘We’ve been working as a group since February and the players know by now what I expect from them. The excitement levels are high because it will be the last schools game for most of the boys,’ Steyn told SARugbymag.co.za.
Steyn admits he does not know much about the Clifton team, but expects a tough challenge.
‘There’s a lot of effort going into Clifton rugby at moment, so they should be ready for everything we throw at them. Their game revolves primarily around the set pieces. They have a few big useful forwards who are strong ball-carriers, so we have to concentrate on our forward defence. In saying that, we have been scoring some good tries and will certainly throw the ball around if the opportunities are there.’
Both sides have had a tough year in terms of injuries, but Kearsney will have lock Jared Meyer and centre Matthew Watts back for this clash. Clifton are not so lucky and will have to make do without fullback Caden Porter (ankle), lock Luke Appledryn (ankle), hooker Angus Taylor (neck) and scrumhalf Stef Muller (shoulder).
Photo: Kearsney College