Eymann Magic Sets Up Brakkies’ Win

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It’s easy when you’ve got the skills !  Rondebosch no. 8 Hylton Goatley gets his pass
away despite the efforts of Wynberg flyhalf Dom Coetzer (10) during Saturday’s
match at Hawthornden.  The visitors won 23-17. (photo: Robert Gad)

After trailing 12-19 at the change-over, Brackenfell put in a determined late surge to beat visitors Hugenote 32-26 on Saturday 13 August 2016.

This was an extraordinary game in that the hosts quickly ran up a 12-0 lead, put on a frankly comical performance for the middle part of proceedings, but then got their act together in the last twenty minutes to rack up twenty unanswered points and secure victory.

The drizzle which started putting a damper on proceedings during the main game could hardly be blamed for the sequence of poor option-taking and rather ordinary support play that, but for the timely intervention of brilliant of Craven Week flyhalf Quan Eymann, might have cost the hosts the game.

The match started inauspiciously for the visitors when their kick-off fell short of the ten-metre mark, but their defence was resolute as the Brakkies swung the ball to the left. 

However, when scrumhalf Branden de Kock set up an attacking line-out from a penalty, Eymann first took a half gap, then was on hand to execute a perfect scissors movement with left wing Siya Ntuntwana, who crashed over midway out.  De Kock added the conversion. (Brackenfell 7 Hugenote 0 – 4 minutes)

The hosts went straight back onto the attack after the restart, full-back Keith Chiwara breaking the line, but putting a grubber frustratingly into touch. Blackies lock Ethan Haas looked to have eased the pressure with a superb line-out take, but a poor clearance left the visitors very much on the back foot.

The hosts missed a golden scoring opportunity when they attacked from a tap penalty, but knocked on in a promising position. Hugenote centre Jaymian Steyn relieved the pressure with a fine run down the midfield, but disaster struck just after flyhalf Renaldo Fransman had gained a favourable touch when Hugenote lost a player to a yellow card for overzealous rucking.

With the momentum firmly back in their favour, Brackenfell mauled the ball over the line from eight metres out, tighthead Henrico Smit being credited with the touchdown. (Brackenfell 12 Hugenote 0 – 13 minutes)

At this point the home team’s excellent cohesive play went out of the window. First they conceded a penalty which came back off the bar.  Then, when a clearance to the halfway line followed by some neat stepping by De Kock brought brief respite, the Hugenote danger men – props Kayden and Cohen Kiewit and hooker Stephan Theron – decided that it was high time they made their presence felt.

Nevertheless, the hosts ran the ball out of defence, thanks largely to Trojan work by no. 8 Sean-D van Binsbergen, but were forced into touch.  Hugenote politely declined a double opportunity to attack, first throwing in skew at a line-out and then knocking on a few phases after regaining possession.

This poor Hugenote handling went unpunished as they received a penalty for an off-the-ball incident, but Fransman’s attempt at opening their account fell well short.

Some scrappy play ensued before Blackies scrumhalf Ezra Adams sniped through a gap and made thirty metres before the hosts scrambled the ball out close to their line.  Haas’s clean take saw the Wellington big men exerting enormous pressure in response to which Brackenfell transgressed once too often, resulting in referee Wihan Swart, who had an impressive outing, awarding the visitors a penalty try, which Fransman goaled. (Brackenfell 12 Hugenote 7 – 25 minutes)

Hugenote took the bit by the teeth from the kick-off, but the hosts punished an aimless kick-ahead, launching a promising attack of their own, featuring fine interpassing, before a handling error put a stop to their progress. 

At this stage the Brakkies also had a player yellow-carded, with the visitors quick to seize the initiative, driving a rolling maul over the line for Theron to level matters.  (Brackenfell 12 Hugenote 12 – 30 minutes)

Reinvigorated, the Blackies put their hosts under sustained pressure and, when Corné Kannemeyer’s team conceded a penalty in the danger zone, loosehead Kayden Kiewit stormed over the line to give his team the lead, which Fransman increased from the tee. (Brackenfell 12 Hugenote 19 – 32 minutes)

Although the Brakkies seemed determined to atone in the dying stages of the half, Hugenote flank Michael Goodall managed to flykick a dangerous loose ball to safety.  Unfazed by this setback, Eymann made 45 metres from a quickly-taken tap penalty, but the whistle went for the break with the hosts held up short of the line. Half time : Brackenfell 12 Hugenote 19.

A fine clearance from the kick-off by Blackies left wing Curtley Brown took play back to the half-way line, but as Hugenote attacked, tempers briefly flared with one visiting player receiving a red card for foul play.

Steyn broke through the Brackenfell midfield, with the hosts conceding a knock-on shortly afterwards, at which point the visiting front row worked their combined magic.  The ball found its way out to Goodall, who broke through two tackles on his way to scoring his fifteenth try of the season. Fransman added the conversion from the touchline. (Brackenfell 12 Hugenote 26 – 43 minutes)

It was all Hugenote at this stage, a fine touch driving Brackenfell back from the kick-off, setting the stage for sturdy no. 8 Nashwell Marthinus to gain fifteen metres.  By way of response, De Kock stepped his way past several defenders, only to run out of support.

The signs of a local revival became even more evident when a rolling maul by the Brakkies forwards from a tap penalty saw no. 8 Sean-D van Binsbergen take the ball at first receiver on the blind side to crash over and bring the eerily-quiet crowd to life by.  (Brackenfell 17 Hugenote 26 – 48 minutes) 

Realising that something special was required, Eymann finally displayed his attacking potential to devastating effect.  Gaining possession just inside the Hugenote half, he broke, chipped the ball ahead, collected it on the bounce and crossed at the posts for a brilliant five-pointer.  (Brackenfell 22 Hugenote 26 – 52 minutes)

Powered by two lengthy Fransman touch kicks, Hugenote put the Brakkies on the back foot, although the locals did show some inventiveness on their own before poor handling cost them possession.

Out of nowhere Man of the Match Eymann made his presence felt again, launching a speculative kick-ahead, before outpacing the defence to pick it up and score near the posts, for De Kock to convert.  (Brackenfell 29 Hugenote 26 – 60 minutes)

Brackenfell lost the ball into touch as they tried to reinforce their supremacy, but more impressive foraging by Van Binsbergen provided De Kock with a gilt-edged opportunity to increase the hosts’ lead with a crisp drop goal. (Brackenfell 32 Hugenote 26 – 64 minutes)

Perhaps what happened next illustrates Hugenote’s luck on the day.  Presented with a penalty in midfield 22 metres out, the kicker couldn’t decide which touchline to aim for to set up an attacking line-out.  When he made his decision, he failed to find touch, allowing the Brakkies to relieve the danger.

The Wellington boys weren’t finished and pressed hard, aided in part by a wayward Brackenfell touchfinder that went into touch in goal. 

Back on the attack, the visitors knocked on, giving the Brakkies the chance to clear for touch.  To add insult to injury Hugenote couldn’t take their own line-out, allowing De Kock to put the ball out to end the game.  Final score : Brackenfell 32 Hugenote 26.

The result must have been particularly galling for the visitors.  Towards the end of last term they squandered a comfortable lead to lose at home against a DF Malan team that had conceded a hundred points a week earlier.  This outing bore unsettling similarities, but, against Brackenfell, they at least had their three Craven Week representatives.

With in-form Swartland travelling to Murrayfield for Interschools 2016 next Saturday, the Blackies are going to have to do a lot of soul-searching, not least about their latter stage profligacy.

Brackenfell may have an extra week to prepare for the arrival of Tygerberg, but the coaching staff will have its work cut out trying to determine why, but for the contributions of their loose forwards and one or two of their backs, this was, at best, an unsatisfactorily patchy performance.

In closing, my apologies to anyone who thought Drostdy were at home to Daniel Pienaar yesterday, when the match was actually played in Uitenhage. 

If you’re still hungry for schoolboy rugby and have a calculator handy, Paarl Gym are at this stage still scheduled to visit Durbanville on Wednesday afternoon.

Please note that the Paarl Boys’ High – Drostdy game at Brug Street on Saturday 20 August 2016 will be played early – around 10:15 – so that the grounds will be ready to host the final leg of the Schoolboy International series later in the day. 

Get there early and you can catch four top-class games !