After a successful trip to Johannesburg in 2013, Northwood and Jeppe linked back up with full set of fixtures for rugby, hockey, squash and chess, all with an overnight bus trip.
This year saw a Jeppe side dubbed to be a Joburg schools rugby power house after a good win on their tour beating the top rated Australian schools side Scotts College. They travelled down to Northwood on Friday and were hosted by their opposite numbers that evening causing some new friendships to undoubtedly be made. Come Saturday however, it was business as usual and the Northwood Knights proved the doubters wrong and stunned the Jeppe side with a convincing 14 point victory.
Northwood were first to get points on the board with the talented boot of Sasasa Makhanya. Jeppe did not take long to reply and were in with a try down the blind side. If anything this helped the Northwood team pull together and they worked a penalty to the corner, eventually scoring a try by vice captain Ngoni Chidoma soon after with a rolling maul.
Jeppe replied with a penalty late on in the half and this left the teams going in to the break at 10 all.
Both teams came out with a point to prove and were at each other’s necks so to speak. Northwood worked their way down field convincingly well through the boot of their strong Dutch international centre David Weersma pinning Jeppe back in their own half.
From here ball retention was vital and Northwood once again through some strong carries by flanker Calvin Silson found themselves close enough to the try line where they bullied Jeppe over the line with some pick and goes. A converted try gave Northwood a 17-10 lead. Northwood then had 2 more penalties converted. Jeppe worked back a try of their own after good phase play to get one right through the centre channel and touch down under the posts. The score was 24-17 to Northwood with just minutes to go when replacement winger Jabu Mabida caught an intercept and made good use of his legs to beat most of the defenders 60 metres to the try line scoring under the posts. This proved to be the final nail in the coffin for Jeppe and Northwood walked away with a well deserved victory (not just for them and their school but their entire community) 31-14.
After the great win on Saturday Northwood made a quick turnaround to play Parktown on Monday. Due to some injuries the back line was shuffled around and in the end the boys did well to not let this distract any momentum.
The game seemed to be one way traffic in the first half with Northwood showing their true quality as a team and were tactical at set pieces, the break down and, most importantly, defence-cutting out any threats from Parktown before they could turn into momentum.
Northwood found themselves leading 26-3 at half time.
They could then be accused of being human for taking the pedal off the gas and letting Parktown into the game with 2 tries of their own and some weak discipline gave Parktown 2 penalties as well. After a quick reality check for the team by captain Ross Muil, the boys pulled together again and some great line outs work by thrower Cameron Silson(younger brother of the larger ball carrying flank) combined with good jumping by locks Shane Kennedy and Greg Slater saw the perfect platform for the backs to get moving again and Norhwood finished strong with 2 more tries to stamp out any doubt that Parktown had a chance of a comeback.
Northwood won the game 38-19.