BOSCH SHINE AT WYNBERG FEST
Not on my watch, you don't ! St Stithians' full-back Nick Duncan-Traill (15) moves
in to intercept his Bellville counterpart, Ryan Muller, in their match at the
Wynberg Rugby Festival on Saturday. (photo: Eleanor Muller)
All the local sides might well have won on Saturday 25 April 2015, day one of the Standard Bank Wynberg Rugby Festival, but only Rondebosch gave the impression of being in complete control throughout their opening fixture.
The overcast conditions started with a cool, bracing morning, which gradually warmed up to around 22 degrees, encouraging the players to apply themselves energetically throughout, much to the enthusiasm of the appreciable - and appreciative - crowd.
Bellville (22) 41 St Stithian’s (3) 22
The early kick-off set the stage nicely for what was to come, the slick Bellville side showing just how much a season together can do for one’s cohesion and confidence.
Even in the absence of loosehead strongman Marco Joubert, who will be returning to duty in two weeks’ time, the northern suburbs scrum proved too much for their Joburg opponents.
After a penalty apiece by Saints’ Nick Duncan-Traill and Bellville’s Marco Viljoen, the locals took a while to find their trademark rhythm before tries by outside centre PH Vermeulen, no.8 Luan Fouché and dynamic hooker Kevin Goddard gave them a healthy half-time advantage.
However, when the score had stretched to an imposing 41-3, thanks to five-point contributions by young right wing Alec Heydenrych, inside centre Tian Boonzaier and scrumhalf Jurgens van Schalkwyk, Bellville seemed to relax somewhat, allowing their opponents to score a penalty try and thoroughly deserved efforts by lock Rickus van Biljon and no.8 Keegan Sullivan.
Perhaps, they were merely conserving their energy – although I doubt whether Eskom needs their help – but, hopefully, it won’t become a habit for this well-tuned outfit.
SACS (5) 31 Hugenote (0) 0
The Young Ikeys have developed what is becoming an infuriating habit: regarding their first outing at Wynberg Festivals as a chance to dawdle around for long spells.
But for the first of a genuine (three in a row) hat-trick of tries by speedy right wing Tumi Mogoje, the scores would have been level at the break, a statistic which would have flattered a gallant but outgunned Blackies team.
With the reintroduction of lively Hugenote utility back Dillon Feast in the second half, the game suddenly opened up nicely, SACS pivot Jordan Chait inspiring some much-needed rhythm in his backline, which could, in truth, have scored several more tries.
Full-back Athi Gazi and tireless flanker Liam Larkan rounded matters off as the Newlands side moved up through the gears, much to their supporters’ relief.
Tygerberg (10) 22 Upington (0) 15
The Tygers put some recent internal issues behind them to grind out a hard-fought win against a very spirited Upington team.
Their half-time lead comprised a lovely try by full-back Tian Heynecke, who has just returned to the game after the athletics season, and five points from the boot of flyhalf Marco Stassen.
The second period saw some intriguing rugby, with Uppies’ giant SA Schools flank Cobus Wiese prominent in the loose.
Left wing Joshua Hendricks extended the Parow side’s advantage before the Orange River outfit hit back through flank Gustav Loots. Tygers captain and hooker looked to have made things safe at 22-5, but no. 8 Reinhard Hayes and inside centre Willrich Delie both dotted down to ensure an exciting last few minutes.
The result will definitely serve as a welcome boost for Gavin Beresford’s side going forward.
Stellenberg (0) 22 Walvis Bay (10) 10
Last year’s whipping boys, Walvis Bay, showed a remarkable improvement, facilitated somewhat by their having eleven players back from their 2014 squad.
The first half belonged entirely to the tigerish visitors, inside centre Allastiar Muller scoring the only try, which was supplemented by five points from full-back Chad Plato.
The concern amongst the Jade Brigade was soon assuaged after the change-over as flank Handré van Zyl, outside centre Schalk Carstens, no.8 Daneel Kellerman and reserve right wing François du Plessis dotted down.
However, the jittery nature of the Stellenberg performance was probably best illustrated by points machine Carstens having a conversion attempt in front of the posts charged down.
Verdict: a timely wake-up call.
Rondebosch (21) 49 St John’s (12) 12
The lads from Canigou Avenue continued to build on their ever-burgeoning reputation with a runaway victory over Gauteng’s St John’s, one made all the more impressive by the fact that several regulars were given the luxury of observing proceedings from the gazebo on the touchline.
That full-back Yaseen Jacobs coolly converted all seven tries further underscores the quiet self-confidence that characterises Clinton van Rensburg’s accomplished unit.
Right wing Ferhad Ahmed got the scoreboard going, before hooker Josh Emslie and outside centre Ryan Klein helped treble the advantage.
Klein had already nabbed his second try before human stun-grenade Zain Davids arrived on the scene to wreak his own particular brand of havoc in the midfield.
He duly scored try number five before diminutive flyer and crowd favourite Anani Minani on the right wing finally got in on the act with two sizzling five-pointers following trademark sprints.
Right now it is hardly surprising that the first Bishops – Rondebosch clash in June is being touted as the game of the season. Picking a winner beforehand is looking more difficult as each week passes.
Wynberg (19) 27 Pearson (0) 6
The very young hosts’ team were, for the most part, kept honest by an enterprising – if slightly disjointed – Pearson side.
The first half brought three well-executed touchdowns by left wing Dian Fourie, flank Callum Steyn and inside centre and captain Jordan Holgate, two of which flyhalf Dom Coetzer converted.
The Summerstrand visitors stepped up a gear after the water-break, restricting the festival hosts to a second Fourie try, while two penalties by full-back Duwayne Baartman put them on the board.
For the hosts the performances, both individually and as a pairing, of scrumhalf Labib Kannemeyer and Coetzer will have been extremely reassuring. Their positional play and well-directed relieving kicks were a source of mounting frustration for their guests.
Kannemeyer emerged as undoubtedly the player of the day and, when presented with his Man of the Match medal, seemed quite capable of playing another full game ! Ah, the bliss of youth !
Elsewhere, all the Western Cape sides, apart from Boland Landbou, who lost – eish – another two-pointer to Monument (20-22) at Wildeklawer and De Kuilen, edged out 38-23 by Lichtenburg in Oudtshoorn, emerged victorious.
Special mention must be made of Brackenfell, who made light of last-minute rescheduling which saw them take the field against Ben Vorster, to score eight tries on their way to a 48-12 win, a score mirrored by delightful Worcester Gym at the expense of Noordheuwel.
The good news ? All the festival frolics continue on Monday 27 April 2015 !