Gym Made To Sweat By Quaggas

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"Look out, Bosch, here comes Larkman !"  Two-try hero Liam Larkan, SACS's Craven
Week hooker, takes the game to hosts Rondebosch during the visitors'
emphatic 28-10 victory on Saturday. (photo : Sharon Laurenson)

Paarl Gym weathered a fiery second-half fightback by Outeniqua before beating their visitors 59-42 at the Jan Kriel Field on Saturday 20 August 2016.

The hosts appeared to be headed for a comfortable victory when they lead 35-7 at the break, but found their lead reduced to just seven points midway through the second period, after which the remaining minutes saw both sides scoring several times in an effort to secure victory.

The Quaggas made it clear from the kick-off that they hadn’t come all the way to Cape Town just to roll over, running the ball out of defence.  However, they turned over possession, allowing Gym inside centre Wian van Niekerk to exploit a half-gap.

Awarded a penalty within eight metres of the line, Gym set up the first of many attacking line-outs, which was taken cleanly by lock Raymond Nel and quickly fed to his partner big Adriaan Ludick, who drove over to open the score.  Flyhalf Theo Boshoff converted.  (Paarl Gym 7 Outeniqua 0 – 3 minutes)

Outeniqua came straight back at Gym, captain and inside centre JP Duvenage breaking through the midfield, but the final pass flew harmlessly into touch.  Regaining possession soon afterwards, Duvenage breached the defence again, sending outside centre Bradley Kiewitz over untouched.  The centre added the extra two points.  (Paarl Gym 7 Outeniqua 7 – 6 minutes)

Heartened by this success, the visitors put together several attacking phases before pivot Darryle Kameel found touch five metres from the Gym line with a well-weighted kick.  It took a raking Boshoff clearance and more aggressive running by Van Niekerk to repel their opponents, for whom loose forwards Ruben Coetzee and Lance Lamprecht were particularly prominent.

After a penalty attempt by Duvenage had flown wide, local no. 8 Henco Martins pierce the Quaggas’ defensive line to send full-back Wian van Zyl in from 35 meters out.  Boshoff’s kick was true. (Paarl Gym 14 Outeniqua 7 – 18 minutes)

Another Kameel kick took play back into the hosts’ 22 metre area, only for his forwards to concede a penalty for interference at the line-out, enabling Boshoff to relieve the pressure.

More attacking play by Van Niekerk and a scrum in an a promising position were spoiled by a knock-on, but the hosts continued to test the Quagga defence, hooker Sehan du Toit and Van Zyl exchanging passes.  A penalty enabled Boshoff to set up another five-metre line-out, from which Du Toit crashed over for Gym’s third converted try. (Paarl Gym 21 Outeniqua 7 – 27 minutes)

Play had barely restarted when Gym flank Janus Swart took the ball up fifteen metres before sending a long pass to outside centre Christopher Willemse who scored close to the touchline, not that bothered Boshoff. (Paarl Gym 28 Outeniqua 7 – 29 minutes) 

Play was briefly confined to the midfield before the hosts added to their tally yet again, Boshoff breaking before feeding Van Niekerk, who split the defence down the middle to score at the posts, making the conversion a formality. (Paarl Gym 35 Outeniqua 7 – 33 minutes)

The final exchanges of the half involved Outeniqua setting up an attacking platform, which Gym briefly cleared before visiting scrumhalf Aylen Schabbort made several yards.  Penalized near their line, Gym had Martins to thank for stealing possession from a rolling maul, allowing Boshoff to find touch. Half time : Paarl Gym 35 Outeniqua 7.

The opening stages of the second half saw the Quaggas putting together another multi-phased attack, which Gym promptly defused.  When Du Toit and Van Niekerk started another of their telling moves, Outeniqua stole back possession, giving left wing Ishaad Snyman room to make headway down the touchline.

Kameel set up an attacking line-out, but two penalties in quick succession saw the visitors beating a lengthy retreat, courtesy of Boshoff’s boot. 

However, the lads from George weren’t to be denied this time and it was no. 8 Lance Lamprecht who rounded off several attacking phases by getting the vital touchdown that started their commendable recovery. Duvenage added the conversion. (Paarl Gym 35 Outeniqua 14 – 44 minutes) 

Gym duly pushed the Quaggas back to their 22 metre area before a wicked bounce from sublime chip by Boshoff denied them a sixth try. 

The visitors responded in traditional style, playing the ball wide at speed where Duvenage found Coetzee, whose return pass gave his captain a clear run-in for a try he converted himself. (Paarl Gym 35 Outeniqua 21 – 49 minutes) 

The Quaggas cleared their lines from the deep kick-off as the hosts briefly seemed to lose their concentration.  Taking advantage of this hesitancy, replacement lock Byron Booysen took the ball through a gap before offloading to Kiewitz, who gratefully accepted the chance to register his second five-pointer.  Duvenage’s boot reduced the deficit to just seven points. (Paarl Gym 35 Outeniqua 28 – 52 minutes)

Gym’s response was reassuringly immediate.  A five-metre line-out was cleanly taken by Martins, whose pass to Ludick was quickly transferred to captain and scrumhalf Zak Burger, whose try was converted by the pivot. (Paarl Gym 42 Outeniqua 28 – 54 minutes)

Booysen was making the most of his time on the field, though, and soon broke wide on the left before to send Snyman over.  Duvenage’s success with the tee continued. (Paarl Gym 42 Outeniqua 35 – 57 minutes)

More impressive grafting by Martins resulted in a quick Gym riposte, flank Janus Swart stretching the lead back to twelve points. (Paarl Gym 47 Outeniqua 35 – 60 minutes)

As so often is the case when play reaches fever pitch, mistakes proved costly for both sides in their desperation to score before a trade-mark Burger chip-and-chase, followed by quick off-load, gave right wing Jan Jordaan the space to dot down right on the touchline. (Paarl Gym 52 Outeniqua 35 – 64 minutes)

The fact that Boshoff failed to add the extra two points for a second consecutive time was remarkable in its own right: by the final whistle he had both racked up his 85th conversion of the season and claimed top-scorer spot in the Western Cape !

Not that such details bothered the Quaggas as Man of the Match Lamprecht put in a powerful drive to cross the line for Duvenage to convert. (Paarl Gym 52 Outeniqua 42 – 66 minutes)

A measure of desperation crept into the Outeniqua side as time ran out with an extravagant pass ending up harmlessly in touch and, when another penalty allowed Boshoff to set up an attacking line-out, it fell to flank Bryan Buitendag to register his side’s ninth try. The game ended with Boshoff’s seventh conversion.  Final score : Paarl Gym 59 Outeniqua 42.

The sad thing about the visitors’ frenetic efforts to get something out of the game is regrettably all too easy to understand. 

The immediate future of rugby in this bastion of the sport does not look very promising.  Their 2nd and 3rd XVs both leaked 60 points, while the Under 16s were totally outclassed 95-0.  To compound their bleak future, just four players in Saturday’s starting line-up will be available again in 2017.

Likewise, Ludick, Martins and tighthead François Staples, deputising for injured identical twin Adriaan, are the only Gimmies who will don the 1st XV jersey next campaign. 

One can only look forward to the combination coaching supremos Pieter Rossouw and Helmut Lehmann can assemble over the next six months.  This year’s team has never failed to provide its supporters with a galaxy of highlights about which to enthuse, most especially 120 wonderful tries.