Boishaai Gets Out Of Jail For Free Against Affies

Boishaai vs Affies 2017


For the second time, this season Affies have been found wanting at the end of a schoolboy rugby match worthy of remembering, again against a Wineland's opponent. As controversy erupted on social media regarding the last few moves of play in the Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool versus Paarl Boys’ High clash, it is well worth remembering that a rugby match consists of every minute of play, not just the last minute, and whether your own opinion leaned towards the Shakespearian moment being in favour of Affies, or in favour of Boishaai, is a matter of personal opinion, but years from now the score will be in the record books as a win for the boys in blue and etched in our minds as an epic clash of school badge passions. Sort of reminds me of that 2013 classic clash between Waterkloof and Affies. As I sat in the stands as a neutral schoolboy rugby fan(atic) I watched Affies sneak a win,wayyyy after the final hooter should have sounded. Let’s review what went down on the Burger Field in Houghton on Monday.

With Boishaai being unbeaten since 2014 in South Africa and Affies only losing one match this year against Boishaai’s local rivals Paarl Gimnasium, this was set to be a clash of titanic proportions, as it was the final game of the 22nd annual St. John’s College Easter Rugby Festival. With Affies being slightly taller and heavier both sides started with mostly under 18’s as these traditional boys’ schools have such depth that there is limited space for younger players in their starting line-ups.

Affies played with high intensity from the kick-off and earned an early penalty, but failed to get points as Boishaai turned the ball over on the 5m line. Affies had another opportunity in the Boishaai red zone and their hooker and captain, Johan van Zyl, scored as his pack drove a little less than a quarter of the field. The try was converted by Regardt Roets, which is one of only two under 17’s in the Affies starting line-up. Although the Witbulle of Affies had the upper hand in the lineouts, Boishaai managed to get two heels against the head with their dominant scrum. Henry Chamberlain managed to slot a drop goal for the men from Paarl to take the score to 7-3. Just 4 minutes later Boishaai got a kickable penalty but Chamberlain kicked the ball into the right hand upright and play continued. The missed penalty didn’t change anything in the type of rugby Boishaai played and their loose forwards kept on gaining penalties at the breakdowns. Three minutes before the end of the half the Witbulle conceded their fifth penalty which Chamberlain converted. At half time it was a one-point game with Affies still in the lead but Boishaai having the lion’s share of possession.

The second half had a very tough start and Boishaai kept on conceding penalties. Their poor discipline lead to an opportunity for Affies to expand their lead, but the post got in the way of Roets’ kick and once again play continued. Just three and a half minutes later Wihan Bezuidenhout was sent to the naughty chair for a high tackle on fullback Abner van Reenen and Seon Mouton seized the opportunity to give Boishaai a two-point lead. Affies kicked away most of their possession, but still managed to make turnovers and steal blue lineouts. Their second visit to the opposition half lead to a brilliant grubber from Roets which ended in touch four meters into the Boishaai red zone. Not to be outdone, winger Thakir Abrahams, in an inspired moment, took a risk and took a quick throw in and beautiful interplay between him and Abner van Reenen, ended in a try for Abrahams in the left corner. This would only expand their lead to 14-7 as Mouton missed the conversion. 

Affies immediately lashed back and forced a penalty at the breakdown against Vian Fourie, which was easily converted by Roets as it was right in front of the posts. At 14-10, Boishaai in the lead, and with three minutes to go there was still hope for Affies as Seon Mouton of Boishaai had a shocker of a kick-off, kicking the ball out on the full. A forward pass from Roets to Goedhals relieved the pressure on Boishaai, but an unsuccessful kick by van Reenen gave the Witbulle another shot. Another penalty against Vian Fourie gave Affies the opportunity to set up their unstoppable driving maul. Affies started driving down Burger Field and both centres, Charles Goedhals and Zach Briel joined, mauling on another twenty meters, looking like they were on their way to the neighbouring school KES when the captain broke free and ended up ten meters from the try line.

Almost every player had a run at the line, but nobody could break through the defence of Boishaai, not even the deadly Affies driving maul. As was the case with so many of the previous matches at the festival, the ball carriers fell short of doing a basic look-see for space and failed to execute once they accidentally stumbled into that space, and the Affies backline was no exception to this basic flaw in our schoolboy rugby skills (Nick Mallet take note please).  Affies had to play across the field twice, killing space in the process, before a small gap opened up for Goedhals. He was tackled short, after he was almost tripped by an opposition player, but his arm reached with the ball. The crowd was going wild and many Affies supporters ran on the field to celebrate only to find out that Goedhals couldn’t reach far enough. Although Abner van Reenen seemingly attempted to trip Goedhals (sies Abner), it’s controversial as he was too late and didn’t have an influence on the Affies inside centre.


All the power and size of Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool just wasn’t enough to break the winning streak of Paarl Boys’ High. The Witbulle from Pretoria tested the defence of Boishaai a good couple of times and it was probably the closest Boishaai got to losing since 2014. Every second of this battle was entertaining, Affies was the biggest and one of the strongest teams on the festival. Boishaai, being one of the deadliest teams on counter attack in world schoolboy rugby, their flankers contesting at almost every ruck, and their speedsters set off at the slightest whiff of a ball.

Boishaai knew that they weren’t going to be able to go through Affies, so they found a way to catch them unguarded, but that wasn’t easy for them as Affies remained in their structure by either kicking for touch or slowing the ball down to reset their defensive lines.

The first opportunity Boishaai had to catch Affies napping, they scored in the left corner and expanded their lead.Affies didn’t play poorly at all, but their discipline cost them dearly, as they conceded more penalties than Boishaai, as well as conceding a yellow card at a very crucial stage of the match.

The creativity of the Boishaai backline is what gave them the victory. Chamberlain had the vision to kick a drop goal and Abrahams had the guts to take the quick throw that started the play that lead to his amazing try.

Boishaai won it, barely, but they won it, and got out of jail through the slightest of Houdini’s.