To Oakdale And Groenberg The Spoils


Will he, won’t he ?  Schoonspruit right wing Marno Barends (left) attempts to brush off
a would-be Humansdorp Secondary tackler on day one of TSRF 2017.  The lads
in maroon ran out 38-19 winners. (photo courtesy of Axnshots)

It was hardly surprising that two of the unbeaten sides were deemed to be the Teams of the Festival in Riversdale and Brackenfell, but, at least in the latter case. Unknowns Groenberg captured everyone’s  imagination along with the floating trophy.

Life consists of a series of ups and downs.  While the rough and the smooth eventually tend to cancel each other out, this process generally occurs over an extended period of time. 

Sport is no different.  Although successful spells might, in exceptional instances, last years, the average schoolboy rugby side would expect to have its good and bad days in the course of a particular season.

Festivals tend to stir things up a bit, especially the Mutual and Federal Agri Festival at Oakdale and the Spur Tony Stoops Rugby Festival at Brackenfell, both of which include regular attendees, who on occasion toss up sides which buck their usual trend.  The fact that each team plays three games in five days adds further variables such as having an off-day and the need to give everyone in the squad an equitable amount of game time.

If you think these contentions are just another way to fill a couple of lines, look at the following results from Riversdale and think again. 

Augsburg Gym, a perennially highly competitive side, crashed 10-45 to Voortrekker of Bethlehem, a team that squeezed past a very average Hugenote outfit 16-8.  Another consistent production line, Montagu, having crushed Monument Park 52-10, found themselves on the wrong end of a 53-10 scoreline against Bellville.

But how about this one: Moorreesburg’s Dirkie Uys, after been demolished 62-6 by a makeshift Invitation team on day one and having lost 17-24 to Monument Park on Monday, pulled a 44-3 rabbit out of the hat on the final morning, albeit against a struggling Montana side!

Makes one think of Grahamstown : all four seasons in the course of a single day!

Nevertheless, several Western Cape teams emerged from the week with their reputations intact. 

Hosts Oakdale went into glide mode after mauling Kempton Park, whom many were touting as potentially their toughest opposition, 50-7, on the Saturday; Hermanus put their surprise defeat against Hugenote in Wellington a week before the festival behind them, coming through with a most impressive 100% record at the expense of Sentraal (Bloem), Die Brandwag (EP) and Upington, and Vredendal accounted for three rather ordinary fellow-Bolanders.

Delightful as this festival is in every way, it needs to be stated again that the hosts continue to shoot themselves in their hooves by playing the killer whale in a fishpond.  They need to be subjected to more searching examinations early in the season, but won’t be attracting suitable candidates anytime soon: in 2018 the first weekend of a short (twelve-day) April holiday is Easter, meaning that all the festivals happen over the same period.

Brackenfell, who hosted the Spur Tony Stoops Rugby Festival for the first time, also found themselves winning all three games, but, in retrospect, their opening effort – a 24-21 win in the face of a strong closing effort by Oudtshoorn, who promptly lost their next two games – did constitute a very shaky start.  The 33-22 triumph over Pietersburg might well have been a cracker, but hitherto-competitive Pionier basically imploded in the festival finale, indiscipline contributing to the massive 67-12 scoreline.

Fellow WP Premier B-side Tygerberg also made a clean sweep after a cautious start to the season, only really showing their true mettle in their impressive 32-8 win over Pietersburg.  No. 8 Edja de Meyer established himself as a player to watch with some fine performances.

Humansdorp’s Nico Malan may have had the distinction of winning each of their games by two-point margins (19-17 vs Pionier, 24-22 vs Bellville South and 26-24 vs Schoonspruit), but, at least in the last two cases, these results say a great deal more about the extraordinary tenacity of their opposition. 

Athol Ontong’s Paulus Joubert side also made it three out of three, but even he would concede that debutants Groenberg from Grabouw deserved the Team of the Festival accolade,  Coached by Anton Esau, the Apple-Pickers took Aliwal North apart 38-17, downed a spluttering Worcester Gym side 18-14 and routed Oudtshoorn 31-0.  Their stunning attacking flair ensured that their exploits will remain in the festival’s collective memory for quite a while.

The less than stellar performances of such household names as winless Worcester Gym and Oudtshoorn, who could only sneak past modest Aliwal North 24-22, might well be causing a case of the jitters among their respective provinces’ selectors.

The general standard of play at TSRF 2017 was most certainly greatly enhanced by the constant presence of a selection panel who spent every minute running its shrewd gaze over the available talent with a view to selecting a Rhinos team to tour Scotland in September.

And so, after an intense twelve-day opening burst, in which various venues from Lutzville, Porterville, Paul Roos, Brackenfell (twice – sleeping will, Stokkies) and Oakdale to Graaff-Reinet, George and Mossel Bay hosted well over a hundred 1st XV games, the baton is passed to Botha’s Hill and Johannesburg for the Easter showdowns before it’s time for business as usual with the start of the second school term.

Below are the festival selections from Oakdale and Brackenfell, but, believe me, the list of the real winners includes every single participant.

2017 Mutual and Federal Agri XV 
15. Andrew Kota (Welkom Gym)   
14. Pieter van Zyl (Voortrekker EFS)  
13. De-an Ackermann (Diamantveld)    
12. Jay-Cee Nel (Oakdale) 
11. Rudi Pretorius (Windhoek Gym)  
10. JP Viviers (Augsburg Gym)  
9. Lian du Toit (Oakdale)
8. Nakkie Duvenhage (Upington) 
7. Michael-John Otto (Hermanus) 
6. le Roux Pepler        
5. Dániel van den Berg (Oakdale)      
4. Xavier Haupt (Bellville)                
3. Francois Klopper (Voortrekker EFS)  
2. Dillen Minnaar (Welkom Gym)  
1. Dian Bleuler (Oakdale) 


Best Back                                                                
Andrew Kota (Welkom Gym

Best Forward                                                               
le Roux Pepler (Oakdale) 

Best Team of the Festival                                           


2017 TSRF Best of the Fest XV
15. Chantin Jonas (Groenberg)
14. Keegan Williams (Bellville South)
13. Jacques Lindeque (Pionier)
12. Leandro Prins (Groenberg)
11. Di-han van Zyl (Nico Malan)
10. Quan Eymann (Brackenfell)   
9. Kevin Slow (Nico Malan)
8. Sean-D van Binsbergen (Brackenfell)
7. Tiaan de Witt (Tygerberg)  
6. Henry du Toit (Nico Malan)
5. Chris du Toit (York)
4. Jean-Louis de Lange (Brackenfell)
3. Robin West (Oudtshoorn)
2. Sixolile Pini (Victoria Park)
1. François Henning (Oudtshoorn)


Best Back
Keegan Williams (Bellville South

Best Forward
Robin West (Oudtshoorn)

Best Player
Raven Smith (Brackenfell)

Best Team of the Festival 

To close with, some stats for those who crave them.  This site will have recorded just over 150 games by the time all the results come in; 426 players have made it onto the list via the scoresheets received, the most prolific of whom has notched 76 points.

Read some more interesting articles @ www.stoopstats