Taming the Tygers !  SACS hooker Hlumelo Ntweni shrugs off two Tygerberg
defenders during his side’s 36-0 win on Thursday 4 July 2019 at the
Swartland Festival in Malmesbury.  (photo: Lindsey Thomas)

Hitherto-unsuccessful Wynberg caused a major upset by beating Rondebosch 27-17 on the latter’s Tinkie Heyns field on Saturday 20 July 2019.

The visitors brightened up a very chilly day with some impressive finishing, something which has been sadly lacking in their play this season, outscoring their hosts by five tries to two. 

In fact, the result might have been even more emphatic had Bosch right wing Dalvon Blood not scored two great individual tries to draw the scores level at 17-17 midway through the second period.

The match opened with Berg loosehead Timothy Hoenson driving upfield from the kick-off, but the initiative was short-lived as the visitors promptly conceded a penalty for not releasing the ball in a ruck, allowing home flyhalf Conor van Eden to put his side ahead from about 33 metres out, right in front of the posts.  (Rondebosch 3 Wynberg 0 - 2 minutes)

Wynberg’s reply was emphatic.  Having conceded a scrum for a knock-on, their pack scrummed Bosch off the ball.  The hosts may have retained the put-in, but Berg’s intentions were clear.

Home no.8 Josh King then made good ground from a free kick before offloading to Van Eden, who drove the visitors back with two telling kicks in quick succession, the second from a penalty awarded when Berg were deemed offside.

The hosts’ triple line-out threat - King and locks Matt Gray and Will McDonald - then showed itself with Gray soaring high for a great take.  A ruck penalty soon allowed Van Eden the chance to set up a five-metre line-out, at which Gray repeated his earlier heroics.

Wynberg’s response was stunning as they intercepted a backline pass and quickly shuttled the ball right where left wing Ebenezer Tshivanga was unable to hold onto the final pass with an unguarded tryline in front of him.

Uncharacteristically, the hosts were making several basic errors, but Van Eden managed to keep them on the front foot with a finely-weighted chip ahead, which unfortunately eluded his team-mates.

Another knock-on allowed Berg to swing the ball both ways, the attack ending in the middle of the field when one of their players was tackled in the air, an incident which - frustratingly - caused a three-minute hiatus in play while the officials deliberated the severity of the incident.

Rondebosch stole the resultant line-out, Van Eden finding touch some 33 metres from his goal-line.  Securing the ball, Wynberg drove it up until they were awarded a penalty, which flyhalf Devon Pretorius pushed to the right of the uprights.

Berg ran the ball back at Bosch from the 22 metre drop-out, Tshivanga finding himself forced into touch near the line.  Unfazed, the visitors stole possession and a sniping break by outside centre Rethabile Louw ended with right wing Lezaine Davis diving over untouched in the corner. (Rondebosch 3 Wynberg 5 - 23 minutes)

Energized, Bosch ran the ball at the visitors from the restart, with King on hand to transfer play to the left when no.11 Jake Tredoux was tackled.  However, try as they might, the home team struggled to make any headway, their attack fizzling out with Wynberg full-back Wandile Notshe finding a safe touch near his ten-metre line.

Successive line-out takes by King and McDonald saw hooker Troy Fisher cut through the Wynberg defence, but a handling error ended the promising move.  More enterprising play by the hooker was undone by a team-mate’s failure to release the ball in a ruck, which allowed Pretorius to take play back to the halfway line.

Play was becoming a bit scrappy, with both sides looking threatening, only to lose possession too easily, although Davis did have the Wynberg supporters on their feet, before unfortunately stepping into touch.

The half ended with Bosch turning over ruck possession once more, only to regain the ball and attack via a well-weighted kick-ahead, which came to naught when the referee ruled that a Wynberg defender had been illegally impeded on his own tryline.  Half-time : Rondebosch 3 Wynberg 5.   

Happily, the second half produced considerably more attractive play than the first, Rondebosch moving upfield from the restart, with props Lukhanyo Vokozela and Jordan van Schalkwyk combining.  Wynberg duly defused the threat and countered, a timely penalty enabling them to establish a line-out just inside the hosts’ 22.

Bosch stole the throw-in, but Van Eden was slow to clear, his kick being charged down, from where it went, via Davis, to Man of the Match Louw who dived over.  (Rondebosch 3 Wynberg 10 - 39 minutes)

With confidence surging through them, Wynberg went straight back onto the attack, Tshivanga wreaking his own brand of havoc down the left, but a knock-on ended the visitors’ immediate hopes. 

Bosch captain and inside centre Jordan Collier carried the ball up nicely, but an offside infringement by Wynberg, which saw Van Eden take play to just inside the visitors’ half, broke the momentum.

The home defence was becoming more hesitant, the more Tshivanga got the ball, hooker Kamva Mgwali being the next to carry up forcefully, before moving the ball wide to the big number 11, who reached out to dot down.  Pretorius converted.  (Rondebosch 3 Wynberg 17 - 46 minutes)

A great run by Davis ended in a Bosch scrum, followed by a penalty, which allowed Van Eden to relieve the pressure, finding touch on the halfway line.

The next try came out of absolutely nowhere.  Wynberg stole the line-out ball, but lost possession needlessly.  Bosch right wing Dalvon Blood snapped it up and took off on a lightning-fast forty metre run to score midway out.  Van Eden’s conversion drew his side to seven points short of the visitors’ score.  (Rondebosch 10 Wynberg 17 - 52 minutes)

For once, Wynberg’s confidence appeared to be on the wane, and, while a knock-on prevented Bosch making their guests pay straight away for a handling error, a telling rip by Collier allowed Vokozela to breach the defence on a twenty metre break before sending Blood in again from thirty metres out.  Van Eden’s kick levelled the scores.  (Rondebosch 17 Wynberg 17 - 55 minutes)

To their supporters’ delight, Wynberg weren’t finished yet, Notshe moving the ball to the left, where Pretorius was able to establish an attacking line-out following a penalty for offside against Bosch.

A skew throw-in gave Louw and scrumhalf Matthew Damonze the chance to show their stepping skills before shifting the ball out to the left where Daniel Hayes, on for Tshivanga, managed to make it to the line on the corner flag.  (Rondebosch 17 Wynberg 22 - 59 minutes)

Berg were back on top, forcing their hosts to live off the crumbs of possession they could find.  When the home team did find themselves in the ascendancy, Pretorius coolly drove them back when they conceded their umpteenth penalty.

Although McDonald stole the throw in, Wynberg wrested it back, allowing Pretorius to launch an exquisite kick-pass into the left-hand corner where Hayes fed no.8 Marzuq Allen, who crossed for the final try.  (Rondebosch 17 Wynberg 27 -  63 minutes)

Bosch tried desperately to rescue something from the game, but excellent work by Van Eden and his half-back partner Ishma-eel Safodien could not break down the Wynberg defence, with the livewire Hayes even finding the space to initiate another attack.

A final surge by Rondebosch yielded nothing, with Berg stealing possession in a ruck to present Pretorius with the simple task of finding touch - emphatically - to win the game.  Final score : Rondebosch 17 Wynberg 27.

The hosts just weren’t at their best on the day, which should not be seen to detract from Wynberg’s superiority.  There were enough niggling errors to allow any opposition to punch holes in the normally watertight Bosch defensive pattern.  No-one let the side down, but too few players stepped up to the plate together to make a difference.

On the other hand, Wynberg hardly looked like a side that has spent most of the local season reeling around the ring or dangling from the ropes.  When they put their collective mind to it, they ran the ball with intent.  Mention should be made of the contribution of lock Cormac Faul, whose work at first receiver from many of the rucks helped settling things down in the visitors’ midfield.

One win doesn’t make a winter, but it doesn’t hurt either, if the magnificent rendition of their school song by the visiting learners is anything to go by !



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