Kearsney’s Dylan Richardson and Cameron Ritchie both scored hat-tricks in their crushing 87-0 win over Clifton in Riverside on Thursday. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
Rugby at Clifton has grown a great deal over the past few years, but what this result on their home turf proves is that they still have a long way to go to be able to compete consistently with KwaZulu-Natal’s elite.
For Kearsney, this was the perfect end to a near-perfect year in which they beat all their provincial rivals bar Glenwood.
All the pre-match noise was about Kearsney’s clinical ball-in-hand approach and true to form, they didn’t disappoint.
The visitors scored 13 tries – and 11 conversions – in their most lopsided win this year, while not losing their shape on defence despite several Clifton attacks on their tryline.
Ritchie, who plays flyhalf, completed his hat-trick in the first half and together with one try each by lock Ryan Lewarne, wing James Sutherland and hooker Richardson, Kearsney were 40-0 up at the break.
And Kearsney’s stranglehold on proceedings didn’t fade in the second half, despite a big improvement in Clifton’s possession and territorial stats.
Richardson, not to be outdone by his teammate, bagged a brace soon after the interval to complete his triple for the match.
Kearsney kept on picking holes in Clifton’s defence, running in five more tries through outside centre Matthew Blair, eighthman James Miller, flanks David Weaver and Luke Croshaw and replacement wing Jared Williamson.
Inside centre Cameron Craze took over the kicking duties after Sutherland was substituted and succeeded with five out of his six conversions.
‘The boys were motivated and eager to put on a show in their last game in a Kearsney jersey, but I never expected us to win by such a big margin,’ Kearsney coach Barend Steyn told SARugbymag.co.za.
‘It’s not like Clifton weren’t in the game. They had possession for long periods and created a few scoring opportunities, but our defence was just too good.
‘We made a lot of turnovers in our own half because we smothered them at the breakdown, forcing them into making mistakes,’ Barend added. ‘Most of our tries came from turnover possession and that was the ultimate difference today.’
Kearsney – Tries: Dylan Richardson (3), Cameron Ritchie (3), Matthew Blair, James Sutherland, James Miller, David Weaver, Luke Croshaw, Ryan Lewarne, Jared Williamson. Conversions: Sutherland (6), Cameron Craze (5).
Photo: Kearsney College