Jeppe Thrill The Crowd At Wynberg

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Here comes the sun !  Tygerberg full-back Tiaan Heynecke celebrates sunrise with one
of his trademark breaks against Upington in the early game on the first day of the
Wynberg 175 Rugby Festival. The Parow team won 17-14. (photo: Steven Riches)

The outstanding team on Saturday 30 April 2016, the first day of the Wynberg 175 Rugby Festival, was without a doubt Jeppe from Johannesburg, who trampled Wellington’s Hugenote  60-15 in the mid-morning match on Hawthornden.  

The clear sky which eventually replaced an overcast morning went some way to ensuring a very large crowd who were treated to plenty of creative play by all the 1st XVs, with a surprise result – Bishops 14 Windhoek High 17 – tossed in for good measure.

While time and space do not permit a full match report for each of the seven feature games, brief notes should give readers a fair reflection of each game.

Tygerberg (12) 17 Upington (11) 14    

Playing at a very dewy 8:00am wouldn’t suit most teams; it most definitely didn’t assist a Tygerberg side whose game revolves around quick recycling of what soon became a frustratingly slippery ball.

Fortunately, such are his handling skills, Tygers full-back Tiaan Henecke still managed to rouse the early birds with a trademark chip through which ended with him dotting down under the crossbar. 

Uppies no. 8 Nakki Duvenhage went over to reduce the deficit, but the Parow team’s scrumhalf Willem van der Westhuizen established a slight gap between the sides that the men from the banks of the Orange River couldn’t overcome, despite three penalties by their flyhalf Ivan Lombard.

It was left to lock Tiaan de Wit to force his way over late in the game to seal victory for Didi le Roux’s side.

Bellville (14) 21 Walvis Bay (17) 17

It has taken Bellville a while to get used to life after the lofty achievements of their 2015 squad, but they are definitely developing, albeit gradually, into a workmanlike unit, their confidence boosted to a large degree by the accurate tee-work of inside centre Dan Aspeling.

Nevertheless they still found themselves trailing at the break, despite a penalty try and a fine effort by right wing Alec Heydenrych, both of which Aspeling goaled.

In reply the Walvis boys notched three five-pointers by left wing Elton de Smit, flank Luke Jansen and hooker Zwandré Viviers, the last of which was converted by veteran full-back Chad Plato.

The second half developed into something of a stalemate and it was perhaps fitting that it fell to the stocky Aspeling to score and convert what proved to be the only try in this period.

Jeppe (48) 60 Hugenote (5) 15

The attendance of the Joburg boys had been eagerly anticipated for some weeks.  After all, it is not very often that an English school in the Northvaal region of the country is ranked anywhere near the Top Ten in the South African schools rugby pantheon.  Would they live up to the hype ? 

The lads in the black and white hooped jerseys answered that question in stunning style with a complete all-round performance that must have sent shudders through Bishops, their opponents on Monday.

Their high-tempo style had their comparatively inexperienced Wellington opponents resorting to a desperate damage-limitation exercise from the outset.

SA Schools no. 8 Hacjivah Dayimani led the assault with three tries typical of a marauder whose confidence is nearing its peak, while he found more than willing allies in right wing Moemisie Mosheledi and full-back Tyrone Green, both of whom scored twice.

Fellow international, outside centre Wandisile Simelane, contributed a try of his own in addition to five conversions, the score only having been kept within bounds by the up-country visitors clearing their bench early in the second half.

In response lively Hugenote flank Michael Goodall continued his excellent run of form to notch all three of Lance Sendin’s sides’ tries, the last coming from a break inside his own half in which he easily outpaced the cover defence.

The match marked a pleasant return to Cape Town for Jeppe coach Janse van der Ryst, who cut his teeth a few decades ago at President in Goodwood and has subsequently travelled extensively, including a spell in Upington, all in pursuit of his love for the schoolboy game.

Rondebosch (17) 38 KES (5) 12

Mark Lindenberg’s team got the Premier A involvement in the event off to a very successful start, successfully consigning memories of the controversial 10-10 draw against these opponents at the 2015 KES Easter Festival to ancient history with a spirited victory.

The most prominent figures in the Bosch backline have tended to be try-machine full-back Mike Mavovana, perky right wing Amani Minani and kicker Sam Cragg, but outside centre DJ Falconer joined that list with an accomplished three-try haul.

The usual suspects didn’t shirk their responsibilities, either, the first two notching tries and the last converting four of the six five-pointers, the other one of which coming from busy hooker Suhaib Ajmoodien.

This is a side that is so well aware of its own strengths that playing to them, while still producing highly attractive rugby, has become ingrained in its collective psyche. 

The degree of the local team’s dominance can be seen in the fact that KES’s only score in the second half came from a penalty try, converted by the replacement flyhalf, Ryan Clark.

Bishops (7) 14 Windhoek High (0) 17

Despite the relative discrepancy between the reputations of the two teams involved in this game, it did build to something of a hectic climax, the deadlock being broken close to the final whistle by a well-measured drop goal by the Namibians’ full back Delron Brand.

With one eye on the game against Jeppe on Monday, the Platinum Blues’ starting line-up featured only five 1st XV regulars.

Everything seemed to be going according to plan when prop Clyde de Beer stormed over for the only try of the first half, which inside centre Rob Lancefield converted.

Windhoek hadn’t travelled all the way to the Mother City to play second fiddle to anyone, first equalizing when flank JD Nel dotted down, then going ahead via lock Reinar Augustyn. 

As the situation grew increasingly uncomfortable, Bishops cleared the cavalry from the bench, but could only manage a Lubelo Scott try, which replacement scrum half Harry Makin goaled to draw the teams level going into those nail-biting final minutes.

Wynberg (17) 38 St John’s (Jhb) (12) 12

The festival hosts took a while to get into anything like an advanced gear, something which was not helped by the temporary loss of pivot Dom Coetzer to injury, although his replacement, Omar Anthony, made full use of his game-time to slot a penalty.

First-half tries by right wing Abdul Armien and flank Cameron Bowes laid the foundation for the tenuous lead at the break, the rest of the points coming from the tee.

Their second half rejuvenation owed much to quicksilver full back Labib Kannemeyer, the 2015 scrumhalf who started the season at outside centre before moving to his current berth.  His two tries were just reward for his at times outrageous twists and turns. 

The fifth came from lock Yanga Ngcayisa, who is increasingly using his powerful build to devastating effect.

SACS (19) 27 Maritzburg College (13) 20

The final game was a hard-fought affair in which the Newlands outfit often went out of their way to undermine their own cause, repeated backchatting costing them around 40 metres in total.

Scrumhalf Lucky Dlepu dotted down twice, the first and crucial last tries of the game, between which left wing Michael Ravenscroft and flyhalf David Hayes added themselves to the list of scorers.

Cheered on by their junior age-group schoolmates, College tried their utmost, but their two tries, by inside centre Kevin Walsh and no. 8 Craig Glover, were never going to be enough, even with a ten-point contribution from the kicking tee by talented flyhalf Ruben van Blerk.

A long day it was indeed and one to be repeated on Monday, much to everyone’s delight !