Wing Christian Strydom scored four tries as Affies crushed Maritzburg 50-19 in Saturday’s Mutual & Federal Premier Interschools clash in Pretoria.
Following College’s surprising 37-10 triumph over Affies last year, the Pretoria powerhouse got the revenge they sought with an emphatic eight-try performance over the boys from Pietermaritzburg.
Affies raced into a 14-point advantage, with converted tries by Strydom inside the first 10 minutes, but College did well to stay in touching distance courtesy of scores by outside centre Simphiwe Mpanza and captain Kelton Thunder. Affies loosehead prop Cabous Eloff barged over from close range to extend their lead, but Mpanza read play beautifully as he intercepted the ball and ran 60m for his second of the afternoon, to level matters at 19-19.
However, it was all one-way traffic thereafter as the home side’s backline cut College’s defence to shreds. They ran in two more touchdowns before the interval, including Strydom’s hat-trick try, for a healthy 33-19 lead going into the tunnel.
The second half was a little less lively than the first, but still belonged to Affies. Strydom scuttled in for his fourth five-pointer of the match, which was sandwiched between inside centre Louritz van der Schyff’s brace, to ensure Affies ran out comfortable victors.
‘Our aim was to beat Maritzburg, but we didn’t expect to win so handsomely,’ Affies 1st XV coach Jaco Koch told SARugbymag.co.za. ‘Knowing they would come out firing, the plan was to absorb the early pressure before playing to our strength, which is attacking rugby.’
‘After dotting down seven of the eight tries today, the backline players will take credit for this win and deservedly so. But take nothing away from the forwards, who dominated College’s pack in every facet, creating a platform for their mates out wide to have fun.’
Koch is also adamant that hero of the day, Strydom, is a future star.
‘Christian is one of the most underrated school rugby players in the country. He wasn’t invited to any provincial teams this year, but showed today what a lethal finisher he is. He is an up-and-coming star.’
Maritzburg College 1st XV assistant coach and director of rugby Kevin Smith lamented his side’s inability to stick to their structure.
‘We were up against a very talented Affies side who forced us to make unnecessary mistakes and it proved costly. Our structure disappeared when we came under pressure and it’s something we’ll have to work on before our two final games of the season against Pretoria Boys’ and Grey College over the next fortnight.’
Affies – Tries: Christian Strydom (4), Louritz van der Schyff (2), Cabous Eloff, Pieter Coetzer. Conversions: Eddie Fouché (5).
Maritzburg College – Tries: Simphiwe Mpanza (2), Kelton Thunder. Conversions: Corey Rattray (2).
By Mariette Adams
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images