LATE DF SPURT STUNS BLACKIES
Stopped in his tracks ! Bosch captain Garth Shenker (in white, left) prevents
Bishops loosehead Zico Oaker from making any headway during Saturday's
derby, which was won 15-14 by hosts Rondebosch. (photo: Robert Gad)
A fortunate reshuffling of the weekend’s fixtures – HTS Drostdy vs Tygerberg moved to the Friday; Hugenote vs DF Malan reduced to A teams only – allowed yours truly to watch both matchers and still be in front of the television in time for the Rondebosch-Bishops game.
Let’s start with the match in Worcester, where a resurgent HTS Drostdy team welcomed a Tygerberg side that has been a bit down on its luck of late.
HTS Drostdy vs Tygerberg
Hospitable as the Donkeys always are – gallons of coffee, loads of lasagne and super snacks – they have very little influence on the weather.
The light rain of the afternoon might have put a bit of a damper on proceedings, but, as night fell and the skies cleared, conditions actually deteriorated to a chilling 8 degrees.
As one might imagine, given the backline-oriented style of both teams, the players were keen to move the ball around, but struggled to control the slippery ball.
The Donkeys found their feet first, crackerjack scrumhalf Romeo Eksteen and equally small flyhalf Dimitri Moffat displaying their customary sleight of foot, while tighthead Rion Duvenhage proved to be equally effective in taking the game to the visitors.
Granted a scrum penalty, the Tygers then chose to run the ball, but the outside backs were deemed offside when they pursued a kick-ahead.
The hosts quickly shifted the ball to the right, where outside centre Timothy Allies’ inch-perfect grubber was picked up on the bounce by right wing Lourens van den Berg, who outpaced the defence to dive over in the corner. (HTS Drostdy 5 Tygerberg 0 – 6 minutes)
The visitors soon launched another attack of their own, scrumhalf Thandile Hoyi feeding lock Tiaan de Wit, only for him to find the local defence impenetrable, an impression that was reinforced when the Tygers turned over possession after Drostdy were caught in possession behind their line, a slip-up that cost them 60 metres.
After the energetic opening exchanges both sides started fumbling possession, Tygerberg finally putting together an attack that saw lock André Visser brought down just short of the tryline.
The Donkeys’ response started with a hopeful kick-ahead by flank Kirstein Kloppers. Two phases later Man of the Match Eksteen wormed his way over next to the corner flag. (HTS Drostdy 10 Tygerberg 0 – 18 minutes)
For all their tenacious tackling, the hosts missed the one that really counted as visiting full-back Tiaan Henecke outthought, then outpaced the cover defence for a brilliant try. (HTS Drostdy 10 Tygerberg 5 – 21 minutes)
The effectiveness of the Donkeys’ attacking style was forcing Tygerberg to run across the field rather than forward and more fine running by Van den Berg, followed by a penalty, took the hosts to within striking distance of the visitors’ line.
Tygerberg did manage to relieve the pressure, but soon found themselves scrambling again as the hosts moved the ball down the right at lightning speed, wing Jaun Witbooi and Moffat exchanging passes before the latter sprinted clear from twenty metres out to dot down in the corner in the last action of the first stanza. Half time : HTS Drostdy 15 Tygerberg 5.
It took fine covering by home full-back Dodi Rudolph to keep the Tygers at bay after the restart, but the Parow team’s use of long-cross-field passes was, if anything, costing them momentum. To their further frustration Moffat’s line kicking was outstanding and the defensive rampart seemed unshakeable.
However, a great sniping break by outside centre Ettiene Spies did create an opening, which resulted in De Wit barging his way over at the posts, leaving Henecke with a simple conversion. (HTS Drostdy 15 Tygerberg 12 – 47 minutes)
Handling was increasingly proving problematic in the icy conditions and it hardly came as a surprise that the next score came from a delightful jinking solo run by Allies, who left several would-be tacklers in his wake on his way to scoring midway out. Eksteen converted. (HTS Drostdy 22 Tygerberg 12 – 57 minutes)
Tygerberg right wing Maxwell Osborne had the visiting supporters on their feet with a fine run down the wing, but was stopped in his tracks by Witbooi. The Donkeys counterattacked, fierce driving by the pack enabling lock (and captain on the day) Christiaan Radyn to force his way over. (HTS Drostdy 27 Tygerberg 12 – 65 minutes)
Most sides would have just resigned themselves to defeat at this stage, given Fortress Trappespark’s reputation, but the visitors, to their credit, attacked fiercely, the forwards setting up a stable attacking platform from which Spies darted through near the uprights. Henecke’s conversion ended the game. Final score : HTS Drostdy 27 Tygerberg 19.
Perhaps the most striking point on the day was the fact that the Drostdy Under 16 side managed to beat Tygerberg 20-14, despite their being without twelve players who were under a Boland Grant Khomo player embargo.
Hugenote vs DF Malan
The decision by the two schools only to play each other at A team level through the age-groups meant that the 1st XV game slotted in nicely at 9:45 on Murrayfield (or would have had the bloke with the key to the Blackies’ jerseys kit room not gone missing for some twenty minutes).
Fortunately, this didn’t faze anyone and the few spectators who bothered to attend were treated to a fairly entertaining encounter between two teams, neither of whom is setting the local schools rugby lovers’ tongues wagging – for the right reasons, at least – this season.
With the sun beaming out of a clear sky, there was little excuse for poor handling and the early exchanges were encouraging, DF Malan inside centre Carlo Geyer (normally no. 8, but with nine backs injured, no-one is exempt from redeployment) making several impressive breaks to put his side on the attack.
It was from one of these incursions that lock Daniel Luise managed to force his way over near the corner to open the score (Hugenote 0 DF Malan 5 – 8 minutes).
For a lengthy period neither side was able to make sufficient headway to add to the score as poor handling and overelaboration put paid to their efforts.
The visitors’ coaching staff’s dismay at losing yet another back when flyhalf Hanru Joubert was stretchered off wasn’t helped when, despite some fine driving play by the DF big men, the Blackies managed to level matters through loosehead Zenon Erasmus. (Hugenote 5 DF Malan 5 – 25 minutes).
The hosts, who had been forced to make six changes to their side, finally appeared to have got into some sort of rhythm as both wings, Curtley Brown and Marais van Zyl, threatened the Bellville team’s defences, but there was no further scoring in the opening period. Half time : Hugenote 5 DF Malan 5.
The Blackies started the second half in determined style, flyhalf Steven Philander’s attempt at a penalty falling short and Brown only failing to score when he lost his footing.
They looked certain to score, but a determined defensive effort saw no. 8 Cornwill Fritz held up over the tryline. However, the sustained pressure did pay off when Philander exploited a narrow gap to score near the posts and add the extra two points. (Hugenote 12 DF Malan 5 – 45 minutes).
Unfortunately the home backs briefly lost the plot after this success, allowing speedy DF outside centre NJ Sidloyi to bring his side within two points of their hosts. (Hugenote 12 DF Malan 10 – 49 minutes).
This, in turn, spurred Hugenote on and it wasn’t long before outside centre Jaydan Fransman was presented with an easy run in for what Philander turned into a seven-pointer. (Hugenote 19 DF Malan 10 – 52 minutes).
The die seemed as good as cast when, barely two minutes later, reserve back Ezra Adams scored for the Blackies, the referee promptly awarding a penalty try under the posts for rough play after the ball had been grounded. Philander took the hosts sixteen points clear from the tee. (Hugenote 26 DF Malan 10 – 54 minutes).
Well aware of their visitors alarming (and well-documented) tendency to collapse in the face of any sort of pressure in recent matches, the hosts promptly made the fatal mistake of relaxing at exactly the same time as DF decided to kick the form book out of the door.
Deservedly, it was Man of the Match Geyer who broke through the hesitant defence to spark the revival. (Hugenote 26 DF Malan 15 – 61 minutes).
His try was followed five minutes later by a further contribution by burly replacement prop Paul Andringa, which scrumhalf Tiann de Klerk goaled to narrow the gap still further. (Hugenote 26 DF Malan 22 – 66 minutes).
Suddenly galvanized into action, the Blackies were left to rue their profligacy when they were in the driving seat when right wing Wihan Nimb rounded the defence for a try of the quality that deserved to win the game. De Klerk’s conversion ended the game. Final score : Hugenote 26 DF Malan 29.
Much credit must go to the Bellville boys, who were richly rewarded for taking their fate into their own hands, while the hapless Hugenote side were left to regret missed chances and face a severe dressing-down from coach Lance Sendin.
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