Posted by on 13 April 2013 | 0 Comments

Oooofff! Boishaai no 9 Paul de Wet runs into a wall named Dian Koen
(photo: Poppie Cloete)

Outeniqua stunned a very large crowd by lowering hosts Paarl Boys’ High’s colours 45-36 in a pulsating game at Brug Street on Saturday 13 April 2013.

The eleven-try spectacle saw action switch from end to end with such frequency one might have been excused for thinking one was watching a tennis match.

Every time it looked like the visitors had established an unchallengeable superiority, back came Boishaai, driven by a spirit and determination from which they can draw enormous strength.

The game kicked off in unseasonable heat, Outeniqua immediately surging forward with lock (on the day) Lian van Schalkwyk’s line-out take enabling towering lock Eduard Zandberg to make several yards on the charge.

Then a difficult pass from inside centre Warrick Gelant was brilliantly taken by right wing Leighton Eksteen, who was stopped just short of the line. A penalty from the resultant ruck gave Gelant the opportunity to open the score. (Outeniqua 3 Paarl Boys’ High 0 – 3 minutes).

Despite turning over possession in a maul shortly after the kick off, the hosts regained the ball and a multi-phase drive saw flank Matthew le Roux dive over out wide. Boishaai led 5-3 (7 minutes), the only time they would have their noses in front.

Sublime option-taking by tiny Outeniqua pivot Dewald Human meant that the locals were forever being tested, be it by skilful passing or deft chips-ahead.

Quagga left wing Duhan van der Merwe almost made the hosts pay when the Brug Street Boys’ full-back Danté van der Merwe missed touch, but the blonde bomb-blast didn’t have long to wait before making his mark as a quick tap penalty saw the ball spun out to him at lightning speed. He obliged by touching down in the corner. Gelant slotted the angled conversion. (Outeniqua 10 Paarl Boys’ High 5 – 15 minutes).

Back came the blue-and-whites only for scrumhalf Paul de Wet to be forced into touch after great running by Danté van der Merwe. Try as they might, the hosts just could not breach the brilliant defensive wall put up by the George lads, while no. 8. Dian Koen and Zandberg continued to gain metres at a time with their relentless drives.

In the 23rd minute inside centre Luan Boshoff missed a penalty attempt for Boishaai, only for more Duhan van der Merwe brilliance to put them on the back foot almost immediately. Such was Outeniqua’s confidence that they were happily passing up goalable penalty opportunities in favour of the pinpoint accuracy of Human’s attacking touchfinders.

Thus it came as no surprise when the visiting backs set up van der Merwe with a sublime inside pop-pass, giving him a clear run-in under the bar for his (and his team’s) second five-pointer. Gelant added the conversion. (Outeniqua 17 Paarl Boys’ High 5 – 28 minutes)

A rare wayward pass from scrummie Remu Malan saw Boishaai move to within twelve metres of the visitors’ line only for an Eksteen interception to spare his blushes, the latter's break only coming to naught thanks to excellent covering by Boishaai no. 8 Charl-François du Toit. Play seesawed again as first Ferlin Vers for the hosts and van der Merwe for the visitors had promising runs.

Just before the change-over a sniping dash by de Wet ended in a penalty which home flyhalf Nicolas Cottee goaled. Half-time Outeniqua 17 Paarl Boys’ High 8.

After repulsing an early Quagga attack, the home team went onto the attack and benefited from a rare error from a quick throw-in, a slip by his opposite number enabling home right wing Daylen Daniels to dot down behind the uprights. Cottee converted. (Outeniqua 17 Paarl Boys’ High 15 – 37 minutes)

Not to be deterred, Outeniqua hit back after a brief lull in the scoring, captain and flank Geor Malan being credited with a try from a driving maul. Gelant continued his good streak from the tee. (Outeniqua 24 Paarl Boys’ High 15 – 46 minutes)

With the Wine Farmers establishing some sort of the ascendancy in the tight loose, prop Thomas du Toit was able to crash over at the posts for Cottee to bring the hosts within three points of the lead again. (Outeniqua 24 Paarl Boys’ High 22 – 48 minutes)

The locals took some heart from this score, driving up to within twelve metres of the Quagga line, courtesy of another fine move by Danté van der Merwe and de Wet, only for that heart to be cruelly broken as master-blaster Gelant broke clear to send Eksteen in from thirty metres out. His conversion made the score Outeniqua 31 Paarl Boys’ High 22 after 50 minutes.

Luck made a welcome return to Boishaai’s side when a Koen knock-on left hooker Daniel du Plessis with a clear fifteen-metre path to the line. He duly obliged, as did Cottee. Game on again. (Outeniqua 31 Paarl Boys’ High 29 – 57 minutes)

Barely another ninety seconds had elapsed before a quickly-taken tap penalty gave Human the chance to show his superb stepping as he danced through a bemused defence to dot down under the crossbar. Gelant wasn’t about to start missing now. (Outeniqua 38 Paarl Boys’ High 29 – 59 minutes)

The Quaggas' playmaker was happily weaving his irrepressible magic, but found his team-mates to be all too human as several promising movements were halted by dropped passes. Unphased by these mishaps, the Quagga cavalry launched itself again and another tap penalty had the hosts spinning on the spot while Remu Malan waltzed over at the posts. Gelant ? You still ask ? (Outeniqua 45 Paarl Boys’ High 29 – 64 minutes).

The heat, the pressure and the breakneck pace of the game started taking its toll, a perfect example being the horrific (but born more out of desperation than evil intent) clothesline tackle by the visitors’ prop Wynand de Necker, which saw him yellow-carded by outstanding whistleman Marius van der Westhuizen.

There was still time for Boishaai to bring their faithful to their feet in the closing minutes when the bounce of the ball favoured reserve wing Keenan van Wyk, whose try, converted by Cottee, belatedly blew some life into the ashes of the game. (Outeniqua 45 Paarl Boys’ High 36 – 68 minutes)

Valiant to the very end, Danté van der Merwe made a fine effort with an incisive break at the death, only for Remu Malan to wrest possession and put the ball over the clubhouse for a memorable win.

The biggest positives Boishaai can take from the game are the solid display by their pack in the tight exchanges and the never-say-die willingness of the entire fifteen to give their all even when the chips were long gone, forget about down.

This Outeniqua side is breathtakingly slick, the fulcrum of their bombardment lying in the almost telepathic understanding between 9 Remu Malan, 10 Dewald Human and 12 Warrick Gelant. It is no exaggeration to say that the ball seemed to move wherever Human willed it.

Paarl Gym’s line-out might pose more of a threat to George’s finest in two weeks’ time, but out back these lads are close to unbeatable.

It’s actually a pity I watched the game. After this pretty well anything will be an anticlimax.



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