“How's that for fancy footwork ?”  Rondebosch's two-try hero, full-back Dalvon Blood,
outsmarts several Bishops defenders during his side's 21-10 home win
on Saturday 17 August 2019.  (photo: Robert Gad)


It might not have been a classic, but how they won will be of little concern to a Rondebosch team that threw everything into the final match of the season to beat Bishops 21-10 on their Tinkie Heyns field on Saturday 17 August 2019.

The 0-0 half-time scoreline tells the story of just how close, attritional even, exchanges were in the first period, the first of the game’s four tries only coming nine minutes after the break. 

And yet, in retrospect, only one team deserved victory, given the enormous efforts put in by a somewhat makeshift pack, in which hooker Troy Fisher, loosehead Jay Reiback, wing-turned-flank Jake Tredoux and no.8 Josh King were in irrepressible form.

The Platinum Blues mauled Kian Davis’s kick-off up centrefield, but a knock-on prevented them switching play to the left.  Next a Bishops pass to the right was almost intercepted, putting flyhalf Sacha Mngomezulu under pressure.

A scrum just outside their 22 to the visitors saw diminutive scrumhalf Liam Kloosman put in a forty metre break down the blindside before he was tackled into touch.  Captain Isaiah Wharton - who, sadly, had to leave the field injured soon afterwards, to be replaced by Aya Ngcwangu - took the ball up before offloading to left wing Luca Liebenberg, but a penalty allowed Davis to drive them back to the halfway line.

Mngomezulu’s kick downfield was gathered on the hosts’ 22, Davis’s hoist earning the hosts a scrum when Bishops knocked on.  The flyhalf pushed the visitors back inside their 22, but, after some poor handling by both teams, Liebenberg found space in which to move before releasing lock Sam Rudston on a twenty metre drive.

Nerves were apparent on both sides as play stayed rooted in the centre of the field, thanks to some uncharacteristically tentative handling.  When Bishops did mount an attack to the left, their advance was halted by a penalty from which Bosch full-back Dalvon Blood put in a run before being forced out.

Poor Bosch handling allowed Platinum Blues flank Jono Bird to advance down the left, a penalty advantage allowing Mngomezulu to put his side within 23 metres of the home tryline.  A fine take by Rudston was nullified when the visitors were penalised for not releasing the ball in a ruck.

Bishops finally seemed to have found their feet when a pinpoint skip pass from Mngomezulu found right wing Sam Marthinussen, but a knock-on later in the move stymied their progress.

Next, it was the hosts’ turn to show attacking intent, a Davis up-and-under being successfully fielded by Bishops full-back Matt Lennett.  A neat box kick over the ensuing ruck by Bosch scrum-half Ishma-eel Safodien flew too far, allowing Mngomezulu to call for a mark.

When the visitors retained possession via a penalty, a misjudged clearance kick rebounded harmlessly over their dead-ball line. 

An exchange of kicks followed until a high tackle on Reiback gave Davis the chance to pin the Platinum Blues back in their 22, after which a promising drive by Fisher broke down when a team-mate couldn’t hold onto a pass.

Kloosman reprised his dart from earlier in the half with a great run down the blindside, which took the visitors into the Bosch 22.  A clean line-out take by King saw Bishops blown up for collapsing the maul, giving Davis the opportunity to relieve the pressure.

However, Bosch conceded a penalty, which the visitors’ flyhalf used to take play to within twelve metres of the Bosch tryline.  Once again, Man of the Match Fisher forged his way twenty five metres upfield, although a penalty for holding on in the ruck meant that Mngomezulu could re-establish the visitors’ territorial ascendancy.

Determined work by Rudston and tighthead James Bolton gave their pivot the time to launch a well-weighted kick-pass to Marthinussen, but, it being one of those days, the ball bounced away from the flyer.

More ordinary handling followed before Bird and Kloosman made good ground, but, unfortunately, a scrum free-kick against Bishops allowed Davis to tap and put the ball into touch to end the half.  Half-time : Rondebosch 0 Bishops 0.

A knock-on from the restart did not bode well, although Bosch reclaimed the ball through a tighthead.  Blood and Mngomezulu exchanged kicks before the visitors received a penalty at a ruck.  Mngomezulu finally opened the scoring with a fine forty metre kick.  (Rondebosch 0 Bishops 3 - 39 minutes)

King and Blood led the attack straight back at the Platinum Blues, yet another knock-on spoiling the move and seeing play confined to midfield once again until Davis knifed through a hesitant defence only to be stopped barely three metres short of the line.

Although the visiting defence held firm, Safodien managed to snipe through a gap and dot down against the upright for Davis to convert.  (Rondebosch 7 Bishops 3 - 44 minutes)

Bosch were suddenly full of running as Davis breached the defence again, but his Bishops counterpart managed to find touch on his own ten metre line.  A penalty for offside saw the visitors in a promising attacking position, but the hosts’ no.10 stood firm, keeping the visitors on the back foot.

Although Mngomezulu pushed the hosts back to thirty metres out, Fisher was on hand to drive several yards before making the crucial offload to Blood, who sped untouched down the left, eventually scoring midway out.  Davis added the conversion.  (Rondebosch 14 Bishops 3 - 51 minutes)

Kloosman again spearheaded an attack down the blindside, ultimately stabbing the ball into touch eight metres from the Bosch line. 

The hosts inexplicably turned over possession at this crucial stage, the Platinum Blues making no mistake with a three-man overlap to the right, outside centre Ollie Jones getting the vital touchdown.  Mngomezulu closed the gap to just four points.  (Rondebosch 14 Bishops 10 - 59 minutes)

Action became frenetic as the hosts protected a lead which the visitors were hell-bent on overturning, poor handling skills once again spoiling the two teams’ attacking possibilities.

It fell to the most likely suspect, Blood, to put the result beyond doubt, finishing off a rapier-like attack, in which he rounded the defence and circled in to score at the posts.  Davis completed the scoring.  (Rondebosch 21 Bishops 10 - 67 minutes)

Desperate to get back into the match, Bishops saw a speculative punt bounce harmlessly over the Bosch dead-ball line, which summed up their day pretty accurately.  There was just enough time for Rondebosch to knock on yet again, but time was up and the final whistle unleashed the passions of the home supporters.  Final score : Rondebosch 21 Bishops 10.

The omens are good for the Platinum Blues: their highly-rated Under 16s won 45-17, lending weight to the contention that Team 2020 will be one to watch.  But that doesn’t lighten the mood after the defeat suffered by the flagship side.

For Bosch, it was a victory against the odds, made all that much sweeter by the knowledge that it was achieved despite only the briefest of appearances by star performer Conor van Eden, who saw barely five minutes’ action when centre Seb Bauriedl had to receive treatment.

The eruption of one half of the crowd at a packed Tinkie Heyns field at the end of the game said it all: schools rugby is hard to beat !



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