Day 1 @ The St John’s Festival



The St John's Easter Festival day one's fixtures maybe not as exciting as one wants but a few matches will still bring in the big crowds.

12h15 - Helpmekaar 64-3 St John's Harare


If Helpmekaar does not give all their reserves match time this could results in a day one match one massacre. St John's Harare an unknown factor but still......................



Match Report

Frederick van Deventer scoring one of his tries at the St. John's Easter Rugby Festival. Helpies open with a big score against St. John's Harare. Helpmekaar Kollege of Braamfontein in Johannesburg provided the festival opener for the St. John's Easter Rugby Festival against St. John's Harare. Helpmekaar was expected to be one of the teams pulling in the big crowds on the Burger Field over the weekend. St. John's Harare from Zimbabwe always provides a bit of a surprise package as little is known of them in the season prior to the festival as they do not regularly compete against other South African schools. Helpies arrived with 6 players in their squad that are still under-17 but the bulk of their squad are the team that dominated opposition teams during the age group levels. With an ave. front row weight of 96 kg and their tall timber measuring in at 1.85m Helpies have one of the smaller packs at the festival this year. But Helpies are not known for their size but their intensity. Helpies, expecting the unexpected, and with the rainy weather in mind selected key starting players for this game. Running out in the starting line-up were captain Mark Snyman and vice-captain Tristan Oosthuizen. Helpies also fielded key players Dameon Venter #2, Ben Clarke #8 and Francois Janse van Vuuren at centre, signalling a clear intention to dominate the game from the floor and in the lineouts from the start. St. John's Harare fielded a slightly older team and that may be to their advantage at the festival. Although they have 5 U17 players, they will look to the experience of their 4 U19 players in this match. Their opponents do not have any U19 players in their squad. Helpies started off at pace, scoring a converted try by Frederick van Deventer with Tristan Oosthuizen securing the extra 2 points. Then St. John's ran the length of the field for #14 Wayne Hunda to score a five-pointer which #9 Dillon Brain converted. Helpies were spoilt with the ball with hooker Dameon Venter taking two heels against the head early on. Then Helpies' Brandon Keevy ran in a brace of tries of which Oosthuizen converted one to bring the score to 19-17 before Mark Snyman scored a try from a lineout. Then JC Kruger ran in a good support try before Frederick van Deventer scored his brace to bring the halftime score to 36-7. Helpies took off Dameon Venter, Tristan Venter and Mark Snyman at half time. Scrum resets were a major problem due to underfoot conditions. Lehan Du Toit had a great game with the ball in hand, one such run leading to Van Deventer scoring his hat-trick which Oosthuizen converted.  Eugene Maritz scored another try which Oosthuizen converted before Tommy van Tonder scored yet another to bring the score to 55-7. A try by Francois Scholtz brought the score to 60-7. Chris Pietersen scored the final try of the match and the final score was 65-7.

Helpmekaar 65 (36): Tries: Frederick van Deventer (3), Brandon Keevy (2), Mark Snyman, Jean-Claude Kruger, Eugene Maritz, Tommy van Tonder, Francois Scholtz (2) Conversions: Tristan Oosthuizen (5) 

St. John’s College (Harare) 7 (7): try: Makanakaishe Timba. Conversion: Dillon Brain. 


13h30 - Paarl Boishaai 57-0 Eye of the Tiger


With Boishaai having just arrived back in South Africa an easy first match would have been advisable. But as Eye of the Tiger is a development team I can not see who is going to gain anything from this match.



Match Report

Eye Of Thew Tiger shows guts on day 1. Boishaai dominated the match from early on as expected in rainy conditions, scoring an early try in the corner by hooker Wilhelm Barnard which was converted by flyhalf Henry Chamberlain, who kicked well all afternoon. Eye Of The Tiger was very gutsy and tried to run with every ball they laid their hands on. They tried to avoid set pieces by throwing the ball around with accuracy and getting away some enterprising offloads. They ran from anywhere and everywhere at pace, attacking the space, and they were very brave in defence, not shying away from the collision situations against a much bigger side. Boishaai scored a well-worked try in the left-hand corner by #8 Francke Horn, which was also converted by Chamberlain. EOTT made Boishaai work very hard for their third try, which was scored by replacement hooker Cullan van der Merwe. Chamberlain converted the try to bring the score to 21-0 before right wing Stuart Tait made full use of the overlap to score in the right-hand corner to bring the halftime score to 26-0.Boishaai scored first in the second half through centre Divan Enslin who went blind.  There were quite a few stoppages for injuries in the game. Boishaai hooker Barnard left the field with concussion, but the EOTT hooker that went off was cleared after receiving some much-needed attention. After a good line-out Boishaai set up a good driving maul and the replacement hooker Van der Merwe scored his second try. EOTT got a penalty in the red zone that should have ended with a Boishaai player in the bin. The number of penalties against EOTT increased as the pressure mounted until they finally lost a player due to a yellow card. Then Boishaai opened up play again and De Bruyn broke through late in the second half for his second try of the match. Shortly afterwards the outside centre Divan Enslin ended the match with a converted try under the posts, the final score Boishaai taking it 57-0.Hats off to the lads from Paarl for putting up a good game of ruggas and for the tigers in yellow who punched well above their weight and did so with bravery and enthusiasm.

Paarl Boishaai 57 (26): Tries: Wilhelm Barnard, Francke Horn, Cullen van der Merwe, Stuart Tait, Divan Enslin (2), JG de Bruin (2), Adrian Alberts. Conversions: Henry Chamberlain (3), Seon Mouton (3).

Eye of the Tiger (0).


14h45 - Parktown 26-19 Combined High School (Australia)


Parktown played two matches, won against St Benedict's 36-17 and lost against st John's 19-27 they are maybe a decent match for the visitors to find their feet in South Africa. The Australians showed last year that they are willing to play an expansive game and should provide some excitement. Result who knows.

Parktown 26 (19): Tries: Drieë: Darnell Osuagwu, Peter Kasonga, Christopher Seymor, Simao Dioniso Conversions: Matyas Hopp (3).

New South Wales 19 (7): Tries: Ryan Duffy, Hayden Pomare, Joey Watton Penalties: Dallas Paterson, Billy Carberry.


16h45 - Affies 17-6 Hilton


With Affies fighting for the number one spot on our rankings expect them to come out and blow Hilton completely off the field with exciting backline play. They won comfortably against Diamantveld 45-10 and Helpmekaar 31-19 before their much talked about a close loss in the last minute of the game against Paarl Gim 33-35. Affies possess of one of the best backlines in schoolboy rugby this year with a forward pack that will provide them with quality ball. Hilton who was in the news for other reasons than their performance on the field has beaten DHS 10-6 and Clifton 34-5 in their run up to this festival. Affies supporters are frequently reminded of their shock loss against SACS two years ago and would be positive that this won't result in another shock loss.

Hilton Affies


Match Report

Hilton man up to Affies. Affies, fielding the biggest squad at the St. John's Easter Rugby Festival, took on the young team of Hilton in a mid-afternoon rainy match on the Burger Field. Everyone expected Affies to dominate the match in every respect Affies applied massive pressure from the kickoff and scored the first try through their captain Jaco Labuschagne after repeated infringements by Hilton on their try line. Roets converted to make the score 7-0 to Affies. Hilton almost hit back but Affies #4 Michael De Waal would have none of it, and Affies started to regain territory until they pinned Hilton back on their own line again. Hilton's defence can only be described as monumental on their own line. Hilton has no less than 10 U17 players in their squad. Eventually, the pressure counted as Affies crossed the try line through #6 Divhan Du Preez. Roets converted to make the score 14-0 to Affies. Hilton defended like Trojans and placed Affies under considerable pressure. Hilton then almost got on the scoresheet through a failed penalty kick by #15 Gareth Schreuder. At times Affies engaged in a bit of aimless kicking and Hilton stuck with them, eventually forcing kickable penalties for Shreuder to make it 14-6 which was also the halftime score and suddenly it looked like it was game on. Affies came out all guns blazing in the 2nd half, but Hilton had the crowd stunned by their tenacity in defence, fending off 4 serious attempts on their line in the process before playing it up the field to almost on the Affies try line. Affies #3 Combrink tackled Hilton #6 Williams high and was deservedly red carded by the referee. Affies recovered and with 14-man drove Hilton back up the field and into their red zone before Hilton did the unthinkable and forced a penalty on the ground and got out of danger again. Affies charged down a kick to get back into range again but then Hilton got away from points against them twice before Affies had a realistic penalty attempt at goals. Roets executed perfectly and gave Affies a 17-6 win. An excellent game of rugby in absolute torrid conditions indeed.

Affies 17 (14): Tries: Jaco Labuschagne, Divhan du Preez. Penalties: Regardt Roets (2) Penalties: Roets.

Hilton 6 (6): Penalties: Gareth Schreuder (2).


18h00 - Paul Roos 44-6 Nelspruit


Nelspruit first match this year saw them losing a close encounter against Middelburg HTS 22-25 and then had wins against Klerksdorp 49-14, Florida 29-22 and a very close win in the quarterfinals of the Tuks series of 26-25 against Eldoraigne. Paul Roos, on the other hand, is still undefeated with wins against Swartland 56-7, Drostdy 32-19 and 10-5 against Stellenberg at the Newlands Rugby Day. Nelspruit maybe not the same team as the last few years but their fighting spirit is well known. Being the better "prepared" side could see them score an "upset" on day one.

Match Report

Paul Roos Gimnasium from Stellenbosch came to Johannesburg with the intention of playing a high level of rugby when they took the field against Nelspruit. Paul Roos, playing the conditions very well, played clinical percentage rugby to gain the upper hand early on in the match. By halftime, they were ahead by 27-6 through 3 converted tries. First to score was the excellent #7 Philip van Dyk, followed by Alexander Mbete shortly afterwards. The third try was scored by right wing WJ Smith in the corner. Fullback Colia Louis converted all three and added to penalties. The only blemish on their performance being a yellow card to Michael Koning for a very unfortunate and dangerous tip tackle. It looked like an accident but Koning must feel lucky not to have received a red card for the offence. Nelspruit was on the back foot from the start but never stopped fighting to get back into the match. Nelspruit struggled on the floor where they were penalised regularly but always seemed willing to attack the advantage line when they had the ball. Paul Roos dominated the lineouts but for both teams, the kicks out of hand in these conditions were not great, with Paul Roos doing better in this department than Nelspruit. Reagan van der Westhuizen scored the first try of the 2nd half for Paul Roos, which was followed up by Philip van Dyk's second try. WJ Smith converted the try to make it 39-6 to Paul Roos. Nelspruit centre Chris van der Merwe prevented an almost certain try from the Paul Roos winger who came flying down the left-hand touchline with good cover defence. Brendan Venter then scored in the right-hand corner to make the final score 44-6. Philip van Dyk was the standout player in the match. Other teams to take note, this Paul Roos team will be hard to beat this season.

Paul Roos 44 (27): Tries: Philip van Dyk (2), WJ Smith, Alexander Mbete, Regan van der Westhuizen, Brendan Venter. Conversions: Colia Louis (3), WJ Smith. Penalties: Louis (2).

Nelspruit 6 (6): Penalties: Stephan van der Bank (2).


19h15 - St John's 20-13 Florid


A very confident St John's after their victory 27-22 against St Stithians this past weekend see them coming into their own festival as an unbeaten side. Victories against Parktown 27-19, Jeppe 23-15 and St Benedicts 28-19 preceded Saturday's splendid performance. Florida who could only beat the wooden spoon competitors in the TUKS series 33-19 and lost against Middelburg HTS 29-38 and Nelspruit 22-29 is not a bad team. St John's may just find them up against their toughest competition so far this year and although their performance was excellent on Saturday past they will need all their personnel to up their performance another 15-20% in order to stand a chance. But if their 10 Kieran Houlston is allowed to display his magic st John's just may have their 5th victory in a row.

Match Report

St. John's College, playing in their own festival, faced Florida on the final day of day 1. Florida started out well using their big forwards to gain the upper hand, and big they were. Florida had 10 cm and 5 kg on average over the pack of St. Johns. The team from Florida put some initial pressure on their opponents, but that was short lived. St. Johns used their more mobile pack to move the ball around the field and as the game progressed, they started gaining the upper hand. Florida slotted over 2 penalties in the first half by flyhalf De Kok, whilst St. Johns answered with a converted try and penalty by fly-half Kieran Houlston to go into halftime with St. John's ahead by 10-6. In the second half St. John's College struck again as Houlston tore defences apart to score his second try in the match which he also converted. The loose forwards of St. John's were really fast around the field, and their centres were really solid. With St. John's leading 17-6 Florida struck back and scored a try by #3 Jeandre van der Merwe which was converted by fullback Tino Swanepoel to bring the score to 17-13 but Houlston had the final say, slotting over a penalty kick to make the final score 20-13 and in the process St. John's won their 5th match in a row. This captain of St. Johns, Kieran Houlston, is really a superbly talented player. We have been watching him and we think he may the best flyhalf we have seen this year, and that is quite a statement considering the number of games we have already seen.

St. John’s College 20 (10): Tries: Kieran Houlston (2) Conversions: Houlston (2) Penalties: Houlston (2).

Florida 13 (6): Tries: Jeandré van der Merwe Conversion: Tino Swanepoel Penalties: HG de Kok (2).