One year on, the wheel has turned ! Crowned Team of the Festival at the last TSRF, Pietersburg
(in white, pictured playing Tygerberg in 2016) found Rondebosch to be a different kettle of
fish on Saturday at Brackenfell. (photo courtesy of Brakkies Sport Fotos)
The opening round of the traditional schools rugby festivals on Saturday 1 April 2017 saw some impressive wins for most of the local top flight sides. In fact, only Outeniqua and Stellenberg tasted defeat, both in the fiery cauldron of the North-South showdown.
Pride of place must go to Boland Landbou, who took their points for tally for the season to 148 in just two games by crushing EG Jansen 65-21 in Tshwane. After a deliberately subsonic Newlands Day run, the Farmers ran in another ten tries, eight of them coming from what is already looking like an ominously efficient backline.
Neighbours Paarl Gym also continued their impressive opening form, the 46-17 hiding they handed Garsfontein helping balance out the defeats suffered by Outeniqua (30-49 to Menlopark) and Stellenberg (33-36 vs Waterkloof) at the same event. Although it took two late tries to bring the Jade Brigade to their knees, the Quaggas’ scoreline does give some cause for worry.
It was a good day for the large southern suburbs outfits, in particular for Bishops, who won their eagerly-awaited annual derby against St Andrew’s in Grahamstown, 29-21. If they can reprise this performance when they play Kingswood on Monday, smiles of relief will soon be returning to the Piley Rees and its lush surrounds.
Neighbours Rondebosch had little difficulty in dispatching last year’s top TSRF side, Pietersburg, 50-3 at Brackenfell. Halfbacks Robbie Davis and polished pivot van der Bijl Blake ensured a steady stream of quality possession to the backline, but the forwards will certainly be starting their training camp this weekend with a few questions to answer.
The opportunities squandered will have given coach Mark Lindenberg much to think about. There might not have been that many of them, but even that number needs to be seriously reduced before they hit Jo’burg. Hooker Suhaib Ajmoodien’s presence at the heart of the action was a big plus on the day.
In the preceding game SACS ignited the afterburners from the very start to trounce Ermelo’s Ligbron 60-14. One hardly needs to be told that Jordy Hop was at his creative best, which lanky speedster Aaron Zeederberg on the right wing used to full advantage to score two fine tries, but it was the largely untried pack that starred on the day.
Such was the example set by their only experienced player, flank Tom Robinson, that he won the Man of the Match accolade (awarded by the match officials) without even getting on the scorecard.
In both these cases, it was the commitment to exhilarating flowing rugby that delighted the appreciative crowd. Cautious heads may warn that you can only play as well as your opponents let you, but optimists will happily retort that entertaining rugby is ultimately an indelible part of the southern suburbs mindset.
Oakdale set out their stall on home turf in Riversdale with a rousing 50-7 win against what had been billed as a dangerous Kempton Park side in the feature game under floodlights at their Mutual and Federal Agri festival.
Even HTS Drostdy added their name to the list of successful locals with a 29-17 victory over Marais Viljoen up in Worcester.
The local fraternity had much to enthuse about at Oakdale as many sides turned in sterling performances.
Notable victors were Hermanus (31-7 vs perennial banana-peels Sentraal from Bloemfontein), Durbanville (34-10 vs Oosterlig) and Oudtshoorn’s Langenhoven Gym (24-19 vs Landboudal), while the most closely-fought match of the day saw Clanwilliam’s finest, Augsburg Gym, come out on top 40-36 against Driehoek.
There were sobering setbacks as well, not least the 62-6 battering handed to Dirkie Uys by the Invitation XV and Montagu’s clinical 52-10 annihilation of a Monument Park side that had, a week earlier, beaten Vredendal in the latter’s back yard.
Bellville (21-31 vs Potch Gym), Hugenote (8-16 to Bethlehem’s Voortrekker), (Strand (5-17 to Upington) and Montana (7-24 to Bredasdorp) will all have been scrabbling for a turn at the drawing board ahead of Monday’s games.
There were a few eye-openers at the Tony Stoops Rugby Festival at Brackenfell, not least the sublime 25-10 win by tiny Porterville against local second-tier side De Kuilen. A very large pack laid the foundation for a great Bulls win, with flyhalf Denzil Douries turning in another master-class, which included his second dropped goal in as many weeks.
Few expected Tygerberg to cruise past Worcester Gym as easily as they did (30-8) and hosts Brackenfell had to defend resourcefully to douse a fiery late rally by Oudtshoorn to win 24-21. Captain and no. 8 Sean-D van Binsbergen was in irrepressible form and found willing allies in flyhalf Quan Eymann, two-try wing Marcquin Titus and steady full-back Raven Smit.
Tradition has it that this event showcases some of the less glamorous schools in the Western Cape and several teams gratefully took the opportunity to show their mettle.
Malmesbury’s Schoonspruit, under veteran coach Vos de Jager, recorded an excellent 38-19 result against Humansdorp Secondary, with young flyhalf Alberto Damon turning on the charm once again.
Relative unknowns Groenberg, who laid waste to powerful neighbours Overberg in a friendly two weeks ago, gave Aliwal North a 38-17 lesson. The Grabouw side’s backline makes this team a real treat to watch.
Vredenburg may have made an encouraging start to their campaign by seeing off Alexander Road from Port Elizabeth 27-13, but Klein Nederburg found the going (and the glare !) tough against the bright orange jerseys of the Windy City’s Otto du Plessis, losing 20-23.
It was great to see how the strides made in recent seasons by HTS Bellville are starting to translate into results. Last week they trounced Fairbairn College 58-5; on Saturday they dispatched Langenhoven High 28-12.
The programme for Day Two is available in the Fixtures section of this website, the highlights looking like being Brackenfell vs Pietersburg, Schoonspruit vs Robertson and Otto du Plessis vs HTS Bellville.