Late Durbanville Rally Sinks Bosvarke

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Two-try hero ! Boland Landbou centre Durin Nasson breaks through a Bishops tackle on his way to the
try-line in Saturday’s match at the Piley Rees.  The visitors won 47-19. (photo: Cobus Prinsloo)

It required a determined effort in the last twenty minutes from hosts Durbanville to help them beat a lively Worcester Gym side 24-19 on Saturday 23 July 2016.

The fluctuating weather – early icy drizzle, followed by bright sunshine and a sudden rainy squall, courtesy of a black south-easter – closely reflected the fortunes of the visiting side in a game in which they weathered early pressure, piled it on in turn and finally got washed away by a sustained closing effort by the locals.

The game started with a bang, the home side’s kick-off resulting in a poor clearance which quickly found its way to Durbies’ flyhalf Jean Aucamp (who was sadly forced to leave the field early in proceedings with concussion), who scythed through the defence to score after just forty seconds, giving centre Reynier van Rooyen a simple conversion. (Durbanville 7 Worcester Gym 0 – 1 minute)

A deep restart afforded Van Rooyen the time to drive the visitors back with a 40 metre touchfinder, after which the hosts, having stolen line-out possession, threatened again, but knocked on close to the tryline.  Gym could finally breathe more easily when the home loose-forwards were trapped offside at the resultant scrum.

Impressive Gym flyhalf Curtley Deelman duly broke out of defence, assisted by no. 8 and captain Charl Schoeman and left wing Lukhanyo Magele, but poor handling stopped the move in its tracks.

Deelman then almost effected an interception, only for home no. 8 and captain Muller van der Westhuizen to hold onto the ball at the crucial moment, although the visitors did turn over possession and set up a line-out eleven metres from the hosts’ tryline.

This attack came to naught as the Bosvarke forwards were penalised for side entry at a ruck, giving Van Rooyen the opportunity to clear play up to the half-way line.

Van der Westhuizen put in another telling run, but was ultimately dispossessed when he found himself without any support. 

Deelman put his side on the attack with a perfectly-weighted chip into the Durbanville 22 metre area and it came as no surprise when a free kick saw outside centre Lundi Msenge run back at a great angle to dot down untouched.  Deelman levelled the scores from the tee. (Durbanville 7 Worcester Gym 7 – 18 minutes)

Galvanized by this setback, the hosts pressed hard, but first a forward pass and then a line-out steal by Schoeman kept them at bay.  The Bosvarke maintained their attractive attacking style, the reward being a Deelman penalty when Durbanville were trapped offside. (Durbanville 7 Worcester Gym 10 – 25 minutes)

The home team also decided to give the ball air, but found the visitors’ tackling to be uncompromising.  While the quick Worcester backs were proving quite a handful, causing some consternation amongst the home defence, their forwards – in particular imposing lock Daniel den Berg – were ensuring plenty of turn-over ball, allowing Deelman to dictate play intelligently.

A movement starting twelve metres inside the hosts’ half saw Gym right wing Rivaldo Morgan threaten, but his side had to be satisfied with another Deelman penalty. (Durbanville 7 Worcester Gym 13 – 32 minutes)

Powerful driving by the lanky Van der Westhuizen put the home team on the front foot as half-time approached and Van Rooyen accepted the chance to reduce his side’s scoreboard deficit with the final kick of the half when the visitors were penalized for offside at a ruck. Half-time Durbanville 10 Worcester Gym 13.

The Bosvarke started the second period just as their hosts had the first, taking the ball up to within six metres of the tryline, but took the safer option – Deelman’s tee-kicking – when they were awarded a penalty. (Durbanville 10 Worcester Gym 16 – 37 minutes)

The emergence of the sun really sparked life into the diminutive quicksilver visiting threequarters, but the beleaguered home defence managed to ride out the pressure, aided in part by several of his team-mates being adjudged off-side following another sublime Msenge break.

Deelman missed a shot at goal and Morgan tested the home defences before both teams were subjected to a lecture as tempers started to fray briefly. 

This lull obviously had the desired effect on the Durbies as they finally managed to take the lead shortly afterwards.

A Van Rooyen penalty, awarded for hands-in at a ruck, rebounded from the upright with local hooker Jaco du Plessis reacting quickest to grab the ball and crash over next to the posts.  Van Rooyen’s conversion was a formality. (Durbanville 17 Worcester Gym 16 - 49 minutes)

The next Deelman-inspired offensive was calmly dealt with by full-back John Mentoor as the balance of play finally started to swing in Durbanville’s favour.  This shift was further underlined when slick interpassing between Du Plessis and tighthead prop Daniël de Lange saw them gain sixty metres.

Local hearts were then cruelly broken when a Durbies penalty right in front of the poles was turned over for overzealous play, which also cost the hosts a yellow card.

As the rain suddenly descended again, play became a little sloppy, but only until Mentoor surged through a heavy-footed visiting defence to score a vital try, which Van Rooyen calmly goaled.  (Durbanville 24 Worcester Gym 16 - 60 minutes)

Man of the Match Deelman continued probing for holes in the Durbanville defence, but found Du Plessis well-placed in a cover-defensive role.  However, play was called back for an earlier infringement, which allowed Deelman to narrow the hosts’ lead to five points. (Durbanville 24 Worcester Gym 19 - 63 minutes)

The tiny pivot was caught in possession in defence as the rain put a damper on Gym’s spirited backline-driven game, but Durbanville were unable to make anything of this advantage and the last few minutes ticked away disappointingly uneventfully.  Final score : Durbanville 24 Worcester Gym 19.

The Bosvarke’s refreshing game-plan relied on some very attractive running by the backline, very reminiscent of Outeniqua teams of recent years.  This did mean that their forwards, remained somewhat anonymous, although Schoeman and Van den Berg worked like Trojans throughout.  Given a dry day and better option-taking, they could well have come out on top.

The home team can largely thank their pack, especially the loose trio of Van der Westhuizen, Gideon Ludick and Duo Lureman, for keeping them in the game with their tireless work in the tight and tight-loose phases.  The early loss of Aucamp had a major impact on the fluency of their backline, but one needs to allow for just such eventualities.

Contrary to what I suggested in a recent article, rugby is apparently flourishing at Durbanville, this charming city-school-in-the-countryside now being able to field as many as twelve teams.  While the 1st XV has put together a nice little winning run, blotted only by a large defeat at Bishops, since early May, the success of their junior sides on Saturday certainly bodes well for the immediate future. 

Only a few hardy souls braved the icy temperatures to watch this fixture, but they were, for the most part, treated to a highly entertaining seventy minutes between two of the top second-tier sides in the Western Cape.