“Thanks for the lift, mate !” Rondebosch right wing DJ Falconer looks around for support as he is tackled,
but only finds Gym left wing Hanco Hanekom (left) closing in. Hosts Gym ran out 43-21
victors in this game played on Saturday 6 May 2017. (photo: Nicole Janse van Rensburg)
Despite the chilly overcast conditions which were ideal for rugby – and which probably accounted for the fairly small crowd – neither Paarl Gym nor Rondebosch really hit top gear as the hosts won a rather unspectacular match 43-21 at their Jan Kriel field on Saturday 6 May 2017.
While Gym fielded their first-choice line-up, the visitors came into the game with wings Ross Roode and Jordan Child, flank Justin Reynolds and full-back Thoubaan Gabriels unavailable due to injury. Fortunately, the depth of backline players at Mark Lindenberg’s disposal allowed him a rejig which didn’t disrupt Bosch’s attacking options.
The pattern of the game was established in the opening exchanges, the Gym forwards driving the ball up, only for Bosch to force them back, inside centre van der Bijl Blake stepping neatly on attack.
When the visitors were penalised, flyhalf Daniël Beukes relieved the immediate danger, taking play 26 metres from his goal-line. The good work done by lock Ryno Beukes in the ensuing line-out was promptly undone when Blake was able to maintain the pressure on Gym from a penalty awarded for obstruction.
Gym responded with a strong drive upfield, but a pointless grubber landed in touch with a potential overlap in the offing outside the culprit. When Bosch was penalised after a clean line-out take, Beukes’s very ordinary clearance did not find touch, allowing the visitors’ full-back Hugo Minnaar to counterattack.
Play continued to see-saw with Beukes setting up an attacking line-out just inside the Bosch 22 from yet another penalty, but great rucking saw the southern suburbs lads gain turn-over possession twice in quick succession, the second of which saw DJ Falconer, playing on the right wing, test the local defence with a threatening run down centre field.
You guessed it; back came the home team, but their holding on in a ruck allowed Blake the chance to clear to the halfway line.
Continued pressure forced Gym full-back Muller du Plessis to resort to the boot to relieve the pressure. With Bosch knocking the kick on, Gym no.12 François Marais seemed certain to score after scything through a hesitant defence, but, when he was tackled near the line, the ruck ball was fed to lock Adriaan Ludick, who powered his way over. (Paarl Gym 5 Rondebosch 0 – 14 minutes)
Undeterred, the visitors held up a maul to gain more turnover possession, but when they were penalised for a skew scrum feed, Beukes drove them back to within seven metres of their line. To the locals’ frustration, the Canigou Carnivores stole possession at the set-piece and Blake first returned play to the halfway line, then put his side on the attack from a penalty.
Bosch no.8 Cal Smid secured clean ball, but a knock-on scuppered any further progress. When Gym returned the favour, Blake almost penetrated the defence on the break.
Gym’s response was emphatic. Ripped from Blake’s hands, the ball was slipped to du Plessis who side-stepped and darted his way through the bemused visitors from all of seventy metres out to score a breathtaking trademark five-pointer, which Beukes duly converted. (Paarl Gym 12 Rondebosch 0 – 25 minutes)
Gym went straight back on the attack after Bosch were penalised at a ruck, but the visitors calmly stole the ball, exchanged some deft passes, but knocked on…again.
Gym soon proved that their visitors didn’t have the monopoly on stupid errors when they spoiled a pinpoint grubber by Marais with a skew lineout throw-in. Rondebosch flyhalf and captain Robbie Davis eventually alleviated this spell of pressure, his good work being supplemented by a great line-out take by lock Jason Macleod Smith and tricky stepping by Blake.
The hosts’ ability to counterattack breathtakingly from virtually anywhere reared its head again when du Plessis fielded an ineffective kick and fed right wing Stravino Jacobs who had a clear run-in from the half-way line. (Paarl Gym 17 Rondebosch 0 – 33 minutes)
Having recovered quickly from the shock of seeing flank Mihlali Mgolodela drop the ball in diving over after crossing the Gym try line, Rondebosch maintained their attack and were rewarded when reserve lock Johnny Murray forced his way over. Minnaar reduced the deficit to ten points. Half-time: Paarl Gym 17 Rondebosch 7.
Despite a positive approach at the restart, Bosch found the Gym tackling merciless and Blake was forced to clear a counteroffensive drive with a clearance kick that found touch on his ten-metre line.
The hosts soon had a welcome bit of luck when they knocked on after winning a tighthead. However, Beukes utilised a penalty advantage to establish an attacking line-out from which burly flank Corné Uys drove over to score. Beukes converted. (Paarl Gym 24 Rondebosch 7 – 41 minutes)
Both sides were guilty of shoddy handling, but Gym moved close to the visitors’ line and, after relentless driving by Ludick, the ball was switched to hooker Chris Rossouw who touched down next to the uprights, leaving Beukes with the formality of converting. (Paarl Gym 31 Rondebosch 7 – 46 minutes)
Not even this could faze Rondebosch and loosehead Seth Christian led a drive which ended in ruck ball finding its way to outside centre Zaka Sallie who accepted a delightful inside pass to score. Minnaar’s conversion was successful. (Paarl Gym 31 Rondebosch 14 – 49 minutes)
Gym was made to pay almost immediately for a slight relaxation in their intensity, Falconer breaking fifty metres. A penalty for playing the ball on the ground then allowed Blake to set up a line-out barely seven metres from the hosts’ line and Davis darted through the defence to score Bosch’s third five-pointer. Minnaar was on target again. (Paarl Gym 31 Rondebosch 21 – 51 minutes)
It was all Rondebosch at this stage as the men in white retained possession until a penalty allowed Blake and Davis literally to put the boot in some more, the nett outcome being a line-out five metres from the home try line, although a penalty saw Beukes avert the crisis, pushing Bosch back to the Gym ten metre line.
A great take off the top of the line-out by Ryno Beukes then led to a try from a most unexpected source. Tighthead François Staples flung a pinpoint thirty-metre pass across the field to du Plessis who sent Jacobs clear from 35 metres out. Daniël Beukes increased the lead to seventeen points. (Paarl Gym 38 Rondebosch 21 – 62 minutes)
The visitors were far from finished, missing an attempted intercept by scant centimetres. Shortly after the scrum for the knock-on, the northern Paarl unit used a penalty to set up yet another attacking platform. Ludick handled twice as the hosts put on the squeeze before feeding no.8 Henco Martins, who completed the scoring wide on the right. (Paarl Gym 43 Rondebosch 21 – 67 minutes)
Gym cleared their bench at this point, the brief transitional lull being capitalised upon by Christian, who put in another impressive run. Unfortunately, a line-out put in five metres out was ruled skew and, despite the endeavours of Davis, Gym saw the ball safely into touch to end the game. Final score: Paarl Gym 43 Rondebosch 21.
Rondebosch has much reason to be pleased with their showing, especially coming after their abject surrender to Hugenote last Monday. The line-out work was clean and the forwards formed a formidable unit when they worked together, hooker Suhaib Ajmoodien, in particular, catching the eye with his tireless grafting.
Their backline boasts both sizes – Blake and Falconer are daunting opponents – and intelligence, but its slight tendency to hesitate under sudden pressure cost the side dearly on several occasions.
In summary, anyone who writes Bosch off does so at his own peril.
The less-than-cutthroat incisiveness of the hosts can in part be put down to post-Wildeklawer lethargy. That said, the forwards were at their bustling best for most of the game and the backline has a lovely balance to it.
The name of no.13 Dawid Kellerman may not appear in this article, but his sublime ability as a canny playmaker saw him scoop the Man of the Match accolade.
It will take a very astute side to outthink and outmanoeuvre this Gym side, even while coach Pieter Rossouw spends a month or two in Japan.