The Week That Was – 19 March 2017

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Only in March and the Noordvaal Region shows exactly why schoolboy rugby is preferred by many when they watch rugby. Major excitement, close games and big surprises are experienced every weekend. The other provinces will be all action in a weeks time.

In The Central Region, everybody was watching the Goudveld vs Waterkloof fixture with interest. But unfortunately, Goudveld was given a proper rugby lesson in the second half after only trailing with 19-14 at interval. Goudveld lost their regular flyhalf Ruben Liebenberg during warming up exercises and their backline was definately not at its best missing Liebenberg's influence. Although Goudveld's forwards gave a good account of themselves Waterkloof's back line took advantage of the poor defence at the back. The other matches went according to expectations. The name of Fichardt Park deserves some mention. Almost under the radar, they are busy building an impressive record this year winning all three their fixtures this year.

In the Eastern Cape region, the favourites had all an easy weekend with Kingswood who only managed to put Muir away in the second half. Selborne scored an easy win of 24-3 against Hudson Park.

In KZN the most influential factor was the wind making it almost impossible to play an attacking game. At the Kingspark stadium points were scarce and when scored done by forwards driving off five-meter line outs. Both tries were scored after penalties against DHS resulted in the 5m lineouts. DHS was also reduced to 14 players after a red card was received after 20 minutes in the first half. This battle was eventual won by the never say die attitude of Hilton's defenders. The score at half time was 0-0 and Hilton "surprisingly" winning 10-6. A full match report can be read here (Click) Michaelhouse clearly showed their intentions to forget 2016 and shifted up a gear in the second half after trailing 0-10. Their willingness to run from every corner of the pitch gave Westville two chances to score after interceptions. Michaelhouse winning 24-18. Kearsney showed their class winning 45-3 against a struggling Northwood. A full match report can be read here (Click)

In the Noordvaal region, the season is already providing red hot action and some major surprises. In the TUKS series, the biggest surprise must be the victory of EG Jansen against Garsfontein with 34-28. With EG Jansen's flyhalf Ruben Breytell declining SARU's invitation he showed why he was invited in the first place scoring 24 of EG Jansen's total of 34, scoring a hat trick in tries in the process. Although Garsies is still struggling in the 1st phases of the game one can not write them off in this competition as this match was still up for grabs at the end with Garsies camping on EG Jansen's try line. In the other lessor of a surprise, Eldoraigne got the better of Monnas with 27-22. Both teams struggled with their handling but the forwards of Eldoraigne ensured a steady flow of quality ball to their backline with the star of the day, outside centre Riaan Burger scoring 17 points. With minutes to go the score was tied at 22 (19-7 at halftime) each after two quick tries from Monnas. Riaan Burger scored the final try giving his team a deserved victory. Menlopark ensured its place in the quarter finals beating Kempton Park 18-11 in a fixture marred by mistakes from both sides. Nelspruit struggled against an average Florida side winning 29-22 and Middelburg HTS beating the wooden spoon winning team from Klerksdorp 59-10.

In the PUK Prestige series, Marais Viljoen demolished Jeugland with 52-0 and must be a favourite to win this series. Driehoek narrowing defeating Potch Gimmies 42-40 in search for a place in the playoffs. Riebeeckrand and Alberton are still unbeaten in the NWU Vaal Sport series. In the PUK Inter-Provincial series, Frikkie Meyer is continuing their good form beating Centurion 8-3. Their victories becoming expected rather than a surprise. Oos Moot is still struggling and this week lost against Ben Vorster 34-8 Their champion's hopes disappearing at an alarming rate.

Jeppe beat Saints narrowly with 26-23 after beating Kempton Park 22-17 earlier this week. Jeppe is playing with a very young team and must look at their fixture list as they play Helpmekaar again on Tuesday next week. Too many games will result in losses not deserved. St Alban's beating St David's 17-14 and what makes the performance of St David's even more impressive is that it was their first game of the season. St Albans only managed to score the winning points in the dying minutes of the game. It must, however, be said that St Alban's was playing with 14 men from the 5th minute of the first half after receiving a red card.

The most talked about fixture was between Affies and Helpmekaar. Affies managed to beat Helpies 31-19 it a hard but exciting fixture. Helpies missed Mark Snyman but I am not sure if he would have been able to help Helpies to a win. The combination of hard working forwards and brilliant backs proved too much for Helpies BUT it must be said that the score does flatter Affies. Apart from their no 8 Affies does not possess the same quality of forwards than of previous years and will have them commit more to the tight phases. Currently, their forwards in the backline are just in the way of their backline causing havoc. Helpmekaar losing the shackles of a dream team will only improve and be hard to beat the rest of the year. A full match report can be read here (click).

In the Western Cape region Paul Roos played a warm-up match against Swartland beating them 56-7. But all eyes were on the Stellenberg vs Paarl Gim fixture. Stellenberg showing that none of the premier A teams they face this year can expect to win without a major battle. A full match report can be read here (Click). Boland Landbou hosted various schools in their popcorn event. Sides played only 15 minutes a side with no kicks for points allowed. Although it will be foolish to make predictions on the various team's performances Boland Landbou's 1stXV team issued early warnings to the hopefuls on their way to a number 1 spot in South Africa. A big pack of forwards providing quality ball to their exciting backline. A recipe for disaster, that is for the opposing teams.