Rondebosch Came From Behind To Beat Bishops


Rondebosch put in a massive second-half effort to claim a 15-20 victory against the old foe Bishops in very windy conditions on Saturday 11 June at the Piley Rees in the Supa Quick Premier Interschools featured match. (Halftime: Bishops 15-00 Rondebosch)

The home side headed into the 198th encounter between these two schools as the firm favourite but with three consecutive losses ahead of this match an exciting encounter was to be expected and it lived up to expectation.

Bishops made massive strides from the very first kick-off, but it was the calmness and discipline of the Rondebosch players that allowed them to edge their neighbours in the end, despite Rondebosch not scoring any points in the first half.

Like the age-old adage in sport goes it was a game of two halves, where Bishops dominated the opening stanza and with what could be assumed some inspiring words from Rondebosch head coach Joel Carew must have gotten through to his players as a second-half performance from Rondebosch was the telling difference in the end.

Three second-half unanswered tries along with two late second-half Bishops yellow cards shifted the momentum well and truly away from Bishops as their discipline or rather lack thereof in critical moments, caused them to let a 15-point lead slip away and lose this exciting and very tough match in the end.

The home side came out firing on all cylinders, a sensational period of attack-upon-attack in the opening 10 minutes saw them cross the try line for two quick tries courtesy of speedster Jack Ryan. Pivotal and notable in both of these five-pointers was loose forward Olo Sopotela, the talented flanker showed great skill and pace to outsmart the Rondebosch defence on numerous occasions.

Ryan's opening try was converted, handing Bishops an early 07-00 lead in the fourth minute, and almost immediately thereafter Ryan added his second try, this time, however, flyhalf Shaywan Blankenberg missed the conversion from virtually against the touchline, 12-00.

Selected at left wing ahead of this game but shifted to the side of the scrum, Bishops' Rupert Holmes, whose work rate was second to none in the opening 20 minutes, made some telling runs and put in big hits on defence. Holmes along with his captain Nicholas Steinhagen and Aidan Norris carried the ball well in very windy conditions.

For Rondebosch, Jamie Ricketts was instrumental with the ball in hand, as he tested the Bishops' defenders for the greater part of the first half, despite the visiting side not scoring any points.

Despite making good metres and gaining valuable territory the Rondebosch side just could not open their scoring account. They did, however, come very close to crossing the Bishops' try line a few times towards the end of the opening half.

A massive tackling effort from Max Cary in the 22nd minute denied Ryan du Rand while on the stroke of halftime, a final pass from Michael Taylor not going to the hands of Nichollas Molyneux left Rondebosch with no points as the first half came to an end, Bishops firmly in the driving seat as the players headed down the tunnel for the halftime break, 15-00.

Things just did not seem to go the way of Rondebosch in the opening parts of the second half when Bishops' outside centre Gilermo Mentoe chased down Rondebosch left-winger and Western Province sprinter Juma Amissi for nearly 60 metres. Mentoe tackled Amissi at the shoelaces bringing the Rondebosch flyer down just inches from the Bishops' try line.

This passage of play did however set up the first try for Rondebosch, Jacques Jooste crashing over the try line with three Bishops defenders trying to stop him. Jooste would miss his own try's conversion attempt, 15-5. Hooker, vice-captain and Supa Quick Man of the Match Jonathan Birhange along with fellow front ranker Mikele Clementi put in massive efforts both with the ball in hand and on defence.

Jooste's try set in motion a valiant fight back from Rondebosch and a definite shift in momentum could be seen in the visiting side, despite looking rather lacklustre in the opening half. Birhange would get the second try and with Jooste's conversion going over making it a three-point game, 15-12.

The Rondebosch players headed into the final 20 minutes with this massive confidence boost as the strong Cape wind was pumping firmly behind their backs. A few minutes after Birhange's try, Jooste slotted a penalty attempt, levelling matters, 15-all, with 12 minutes remaining.

Adding to the home side's woes, the big shift in momentum in the Cape derby came in the 66th and 67th minutes when the two earlier heroes - Cary (66th minute) and Mentoe (67th minute) - were sent to the sin bin by referee Aimee Barrett-Theron reducing the Bishops side to 13-men for the remainder of the match.

Ricketts finally got rewarded for all his efforts, when he scored the try that handed Rondebosch the lead for the first time and with two minutes remaining, the winning try in the end. Jooste missed the conversion, 15-20.

The never-give-up attitude from the Rondebosch boys helped them secure an emphatic and memorable 15-20 victory over Bishops in their own backyard.

Bishops: 15 Wayden Moses, 14 Jack Ryan, 13 Gilermo Mentoe, 12 Nic Allison, 11 Ayanda Bonoyi, 10 Shaywan Blankenberg, 9 Haashim Pead, 8 Nicholas Steinhagen (c), 7 Olo Sopotela, 6 Rupert Holmes, 5 Sean Craig, 4 Aidan Norris, 3 Luca Broggian, 2 Max Cary, 1 Fayyaad Domingo Replacements: 16 Richard Horton, 17 Trento Lambrechts, 18 , 19 Tapiwa Nkumanda, 20 Shariq Davids, 21 Zimvo Joxo, 22 Michael Richardson, 23 Dylan Krause

Rondebosch: 15 Michael Taylor, 14 Nichollas Molyneux, 13 Maissa Gningue, 12 Jamie Ricketts, 11 Juma Amissi, 10 Jacques Jooste, 9 Warrick Jones, 8 Ryan du Rand, 7 Gareth Blackmore (c), 6 Daniel Sweetlove, 5 Michal Hofmeyr, 4 Polite Phiri, 3 Mikele Clementi, 2 Jonathan Birhange, 1 Joseph Mwandira Replacements: 16 Thomas van Wyk, 17 Nic Swier, 18 Justin Amos, 19 Matthew Malherbe, 20 Liam Clavaux, 21 David van Zyl, 22 Jude Simon, 23 Jordan Neill

Supa Quick Man of the Match: Jonathan Birhange (Rondebosch)

Bishops: Tries: Jack Ryan (2), Conversion: Shaywan Blankenberg. Penalty: Shaywan Blankenberg.
Rondebosch Boys' High: Tries: Jacques Jooste, Jonathan Birhange, Jamie Ricketts. Conversion: Jaques Jooste. Penalty: Jaques Jooste.