BOYS IN BLACK LEFT SINGING THE (PEACOCK) BLUES !
Rebuilding time ! Charlie Hofmeyr right wing Brandon Cana finds his path blocked
by DF Malan scrumhalf Jean-Louis Burger (9) during the Charlies’ emphatic 37-0
home defeat on Saturday 17 March 2018. (photo : Gail Barnard)
The two full-length matches that provided the climax of the reformulated Mutual and Federal Agri Boland Landbou Rugby Day on Saturday 17 March 2018 resulted in defeats for both of the highly-rated Western Province schools involved.
Hosts Boland Landbou conceded a late converted try to succumb 20-24 to Tshwane big guns Garsfontein, while Stellenberg were seriously outgunned, 36-19, by impressive Boland heavyweights HTS Drostdy.
Stellenberg (7) 19 HTS Drostdy (10) 36
A superbly-prepared Donkeys team took full advantage of some ring-rustiness among their opponents to canter home, scoring five lovely tries in the process.
A wonderful deflection by lock Dylan de Leeuw to ensure possession for the Jade Brigade from the kick-off was soon spoilt when his side was penalised for not releasing the ball, presenting Drostdy pivot Shaun Baxter – a surprise choice as kicker, given full-back Cohen Jasper’s 2017 heroics – with a simple opportunity to open the score. (Stellenberg 0 HTS Drostdy 3 – 2 minutes)
A similar offence by the Donkeys from the kick-off allowed Stellies flyhalf Cyle Pegram the chance to clear. De Leeuw seized another great ball at the ensuing line-out and the northern suburbs side rucked and mauled the ball upfield before releasing it to their backs.
Stellenberg’s decision to find touch from a penalty proved unwise when Drostdy stole the line-out feed. Even then Stellies soon regained possession, but squandered it in midfield with poor handling.
The Drostdy backline was in an unforgiving mood and closed down any semblance of multi-phase attacking play by Divan Batt’s side. This, combined with some scrappy midfield play, meant that, for an extended period, the Stellies’ backline’s contribution was confined to launching a series of relieving kicks.
The Donkeys’ tactic of employing their loose forwards in midfield in attacking situations almost bore fruit when no.8 and captain CJ van Rensburg threatened the defensive line following outstanding line-out work by lock Reinier Viljoen.
It was becoming increasingly apparent that Stellenberg were taking too long to feed their outside backs, who impressed despite the meagre ball they were receiving.
The Jades’ inside centre Eugene Bosman put his team firmly on attack, but ironically it was a missed pass that caught Drostdy napping, allowing scrumhalf Keegan Joubert, a recent acquisition from Brackenfell, to score near the uprights. Pegram converted. (Stellenberg 7 HTS Drostdy 3 – 17 minutes)
The Donkeys went straight back onto the attack via a precision touchfinder by Baxter, but a fine line-out take by lock-turned-flank Heinrich Naudé came to naught when the Worcester side turned over possession at a ruck.
Next, a slicing break by Drostdy scrummie Luciano Elias sowed panic in the Stellenberg ranks, but De Leeuw was able to wrest possession when the nippy halfback was forced into touch thirteen metres from the tryline.
In turn, Stellenberg set up an attacking platform via great running by Bosman, but his chip-ahead was safely marked by Jasper. However, their decision to ruck and maul the ball upfield backfired when an astonishing bootlace pick-up was fed to Jasper who crossed halfway out. Baxter converted. (Stellenberg 7 HTS Drostdy 10 – 26 minutes)
This galvanised the Worcester backline and only desperate defence prevented them from scoring again.
The Donkeys started the second stanza as they had finished the first, a misdirected Stellies chip resulting in some brilliant crisp interpassing that Van Rensburg crowned with a well-deserved five-pointer. Half-time : Stellenberg 7 HTS Drostdy 15.
With the Bolanders’ backs dictating affairs, thanks to the surfeit of quick ball coming their way, Stellenberg’s involvement in the game was again reduced to kicking to relieve pressure.
Barely four minutes had passed since the change-around when the Donkeys’ pack took the ball up to their opponents’ tryline, gifting Craven Week outside centre Christie Grobbelaar a simple try, which Baxter goaled. (Stellenberg 7 HTS Drostdy 22)
Stellenberg rallied, but poor handling broke their momentum, and bad became worse as they conceded two penalties in quick succession for closing off the ball.
This time it was livewire 2016 Grant Khomo flank Benicio Kamfer who popped up in the Drostdy backline to barge over for his side’s fourth try, converted by Baxter. (Stellenberg 7 HTS Drostdy 29)
Although the Donkeys continued to dominate, the expected flood of tries never materialised. Instead it was Jade Brigade right wing Tharquinn Manuel who had the crowd on its feet with a penetrative run down the touchline, which was only halted by a stray inside pass.
After a brief period of rather sloppy play by both teams, an optimistic skip pass by the Stellies gifted Drostdy right wing Roann Jansen a clear run-in from 75 metres out for his side’s final score, duly goaled by Baxter. (Stellenberg 7 HTS Drostdy 36 – 50 minutes)
Offside play following the restart by the Worcester side was punished shortly afterwards when replacement threequarter Hedley Hadlow dotted down for Niven Petersen, who had taken over at flyhalf from Pegram in the second half, to help double the northern suburbs side’s score. (Stellenberg 14 HTS Drostdy 36 – 53 minutes)
The Donkeys seemed quite content to relax, confident in their twenty-two-point lead, allowing their opponents a belated opportunity to show the attacking flair that had been so largely missing from their game in the first 53 minutes.
So it was that Hadlow put up his hand for a position in the starting line-up with another well-worked but unconverted try on the closing whistle. Final score Stellenberg 19 HTS Drostdy 36.
One could be forgiven for thinking that Drostdy had several games under their belts, such was their marvellous combined play.
Man of the Match Baxter dictated play, both with his boot and his uncanny ability to read attacking possibilities. Scrumhalf Elias is as slippery as a bucketful of eels and the other backs need no lessons in how to express themselves. Nor do the loose trio, who so often wreaked havoc among the Stellenberg backs.
The Stellies’ lack of match practice and a sense of needing to step up their fitness a notch didn’t help their cause, although the second half introduction of Conwill Conradie, son of the legendary Bolla, and Nivan Petersen at half-back did greatly improve their cohesion.
Boland Landbou (7) 20 Garsfontein (17) 24
Regrettably, this match fell some way short of the open spectacle which preceded it, largely because the hosts shot themselves in the foot by conceding far too many penalties.
The Farmers’ handsome victory over Menlopark at the recent Bulls Prestige Schools Day largely masked two disturbing points. Firstly, the Windmeul team conceded over thirty penalties and three yellow cards, two of which overlapped, and, secondly, the Loftus jol was a shortened affair, as is the custom at such events.
Many might have been inclined to attribute the apparent indiscipline to home-town refereeing, but there were two major differences between the two games.
Firstly, this time it was a WP referee who punished the Farmers repeatedly for ruck infringements and yellow-carded one of their forwards inside the first eleven minutes and, secondly, they found themselves up against a very accomplished team who knew how to make them pay dearly for their indiscretions.
The locals started confidently, an early kicking duel culminating in a penalty which scrumhalf Gavin Mills slotted. (Boland Landbou 3 Garsfontein 0 – 3 minutes)
It didn’t take the visitors long to set out their store: they intended to use clever kicking to exploit weaknesses in the Farmers’ defence. Flyhalf Campwill Willemse might not have enjoyed a great first half, but his educated boot kept the boys in black turning around to chase the ball.
Despite some overzealous handling, which saw the ball go harmlessly into touch, excellent work by flank Armand Adendorff, definitely the pick of the Boland pack, helped his side earn a penalty inside the Tshwane team’s 22. The ball was quickly slipped to no.8 Eugene Snyders, who dotted down for Mills to stretch the lead. (Boland Landbou 10 Garsfontein 0 – 8 minutes)
A weak Landbou clearance allowed the Garsies to attack and a powerful forward drive gave Willemse the coinfidence to exploit a half-gap before offloading to outside centre Diego Appollis, who hails from just outside Wellington, who put his side on the board. Full-back Keagan Johannes, the subject of much unhappiness between his current school and Swartland early last year, added the conversion. (Boland Landbou 10 Garsfontein 7 – 12 minutes)
The visitors went straight back onto the attack from the kick-off, but excellent cover defence by full-back Darren Hendricks helped defuse another pinpoint grubber.
Despite being somewhat on the backfoot, it was the hosts who scored next, quick ruck possession sending right wing HD van der Merwe clear from forty metres out, Mills restoring Landbou’s ten-point lead from the tee. (Boland Landbou 17 Garsfontein 7)
Play seemed to settle into a rather disjointed pattern with the local forwards tackling as if their lives depended on it, only to get blown up time and again for ruck infringements. The only positive side to this was that Hendricks, Mills and flyhalf Dean Reichert were getting plenty of practice at perfecting their touchfinding kicks as they battled to relieve the siege.
There was still time before the break for non-stop trier Erik Lambrecht, the Landbou inside centre, to test the Garsies’ defence, but they proved up to the task. Half-time : Boland Landbou 17 Garsfontein 7.
Adendorff stormed out of the starting blocks when play resumed, but lateral running stymied the hosts. Likewise, some fine kicking by Hendricks and great driving by Snyders ended disappointingly in another penalty to Garsfontein.
When the Tshwane team put together a multi-phase attack of their own, they lost the ball in a tackle before they could drive home their advantage.
Just for a change, the Windmeul side conceded a penalty for being offside at a line-out. Man of the Match Johannes, now playing at fly-half, set up a fine attacking line-out from which Appollis was on hand in the midfield to exploit the slightest of gaps and dive over for his second try. Johannes narrowed the deficit to just three points. (Boland Landbou 17 Garsfontein 14 – 45 minutes)
More tactical grubbers posed huge problems for the home side, only a diabolical bounce denying the visitors a try on one occasion.
It was only a matter of time before a Boland error would result in points and Johannes made no mistake from the tee to level matters. (Boland Landbou 17 Garsfontein 17 – 49 minutes)
In a comparatively rare lapse of judgement, Garsfontein themselves conceded a penalty for slowing the release of the ball. Mills was visibly nervous when he slotted the simple kick from just fifteen metres. (Boland Landbou 20 Garsfontein 17 – 52 minutes)
The last hurrah went to Garsies reserve threequarter Juandré Scheepers, who flummoxed the Boland defence with a dizzying, jinking run to breach the defence. Johannes completed the scoring. (Boland Landbou 20 Garsfontein 24 – 56 minutes)
Landbou threw everything, including all the hostels’ kitchen sinks, into attack in the dying minutes, but either dropped the ball or conceded penalties in good attacking positions. Final score : Boland Landbou 20 Garsfontein 24.
All one needs to say about the Boland performance is that, if they don’t up their discipline, they won’t be flying under the radar this year, one will need sonar to track them.
Funnily enough, if this had been a shortened game like the majority of the day’s fare, the hosts might just have sneaked it. Oh, and for the record, their second stringers were soundly trounced by Stellenberg B on the day.
Other observations based on the short stuff : Brackenfell might struggle at home against Wynberg on Tuesday, while Durbanville are looking good for Wednesday’s trip to Paarl Gym.