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.