(Photo Credit: Jorina Raath/Speedshots.co.za)
It is that time of the year where the final battle lines will be drawn and many arguments regarding rankings are settled. The Wildeklawer Festival starts tonight with Diamantveld playing Stellenberg with the final game on Saturday when Diamantveld plays Waterkloof. The excitement in overdrive.
Fixtures: 02 May 2019
18:40 Noord Kaap 34-33 Helpmekaar
Noord Kaap is having a great year. They lost only to Fichardt Park (10-15) and Selborne (10-29) in seven games but it must be said that their opponents were not even remotely in the same class as Helpmekaar and Helpmekaar, apart from their loss against Affies is still unbeaten. Helpmekaar should win with relative ease.
Noord Kaap starting the match like a house on fire and scored a very early try to take the lead, 7-0 after just 3 minutes and again after 12 minutes to stretch Noord Kaap's lead to 14-5. Both tries were long distance tries with Helpmekaar dominating possession and territory but Noord Kaap running with every opportunity. Two further tries also against play saw Helpmekaar limping with Noord Kaap in the lead with 29-12 at half time.
What was said at halftime we will never know but Helpmekaar came out in the second half dominating everything with a much more aggressive attitude. With Noord Kaap leading 29-26 after 10 minutes in the second half, both sides attacked at every opportunity resulting in the spectators spending most of this period on their feet. Helpmekaar thought they scored the winning try with 3 minutes left on the clock but fate had one last trick to play on Helpmekaar. Noord Kaap scored after the siren sounded leaving Helpmekaar with a 1 point loss repeating the history. One of the most exciting matches I attended in a very long time.
Noord Kaap: Tries: Fredericks, van Wyk (2), Molete, du Plessis Conversions: du Plessis (3) Penalty: du Plessis
Helpmekaar: Tries: Bezuidenhout, du Toit, Marx (2), Weideman Conversions: Botes (3)
17:20 Affies 38-22 Drostdy HTS
Affies are struggling with injuries and lost against KES last weekend 29-23 and the weekend before against Paarl Gim 19-46 but unfortunately for them, nobody will underestimate them. Drostdy HTS is struggling in 2019 losing 4 from 10 games and unfortunately for them, the class of Affies should be more than enough to ensure a win but if Affies do not sort their problems at 10 and in the loose this could again become a long afternoon for Affies.
Affies must and will. No doubt, but .............
Although Affies dominated the first 10 minutes of the match it was Drostdy HTS who took the early lead via a penalty. The teams evenly matched in the first half with Affies leading 19-10 at the break. Drostdy at this stage playing a very conservative and structured game stopping most of the Affies attacks with disciplined defence. Anybody's game at that stage.
The second half will rather be remembered for the mistakes than anything else but Affies' talent gave them "easy" win with Drosdy's effort maybe not justly reflected on the scoreboard. Affies winning 38-22.
Affies: Tries: Oosthuizen (3), Ludwig, Jansen van Rensburg, Barkhuizen Conversion: Muller (4)
Drostdy HTS: Tries: Gelant (2), Jansen Conversion: Mostert (2) Penalty: Mostert
16:00 Paarl Boishaai 55-07 Glenwood
Paarl Boishaai only lost to Paul Roos (0-5) at the Newlands "popcorn" day and drew against Helpmekaar (20-20) in the ten games they played this year. Their opposition at the St John's festival did not help to judge their real potential but Glenwood is not the team they had in 2018 and therefore Boishaai should win this.
Although Boishaai's pack of forwards is also not that big they still are bigger than that of Glenwood. The big difference is between the attitude and aggressiveness of the two packs. And that will be the difference on the day, and it could become a big difference.
During the last three matches, not much of a contest was expected but Glenwood struggled more than expected against Boishaai. Boishaai scored with regular intervals to lead 36-00 at the end of the first half. At this stage, I can not decide if Glenwood is that bad or Boishaai that good.
The second half Boishaai was content to defend their first-half lead resulting in Glenwood looking better with the ball in hand but unfortunately unable to put a point on the scoreboard. Glenwood's first points in the match came after minutes of play reducing Boishaai's lead to 43-07. Unfortunately the third complete blowout of the day.
Boishaai: Tries: Nel, Rousseau, Meadon, Farmer, Osch (2), Lombard, Nel Conversions: Meadon (6) Penalty: Meadon
Glenwood: Try: van Wyk Conversion: Hendrikse
14:40 Outeniqua 7-64 Grey College
Grey Grey and Grey again
Although Grey was in control from the start Outeniqua kept in reach on the scoreboard with the score 10-7 after 15 minutes in the first half and then the flood gates opened. The half time score was 29-07 with Grey just gone into second gear and stayed there for the rest of the game to win 64-7. The match stopped with 10 minutes still left on the clock.
Grey College: Tries: Cronje, Knoetze (2), Odendaal (2), Jonker, Venter, Sokoyi, Brits Conversion: Oliver (6), du Plessis, Knoetze, Brits Penalty: Oliver
Outeniqua: Try: Michaels Conversion: Thorne
13:20 Boland Landbou 33-42 Monnas
A very well balanced Boland Landbou side doing their best to hide their shortcomings in playing a fast game suiting their mobile boys. They played 10 games already, lost 2 and drew 2 with their loss against Helpmekaar at the Noord Suid tournament (17-64) the most memorable and talked about. But anybody taking the result against Helpmekaar as a yardstick of Boland Landbou's abilities is set for some big surprises.
Monnas is one if not the most talented teams in 2019, but some would question this statement if the two losses against Paarl Gim (29-43) and Boishaai (31-35) is taken into account.
Monnas should and must win this but I will never underestimate Oloff Bergh and his team.
Although Boland Landbou scored their first try almost from the kick off it was evident that Monnas is the dominant side using their big forwards to run at the Boland Lanbou defenders winning several meters at a time. Boland Landbou came back in the latter part of the first half but rock-solid defence by Monnas kept Boland from scoring. The pressure, however, resulted in Boland Landbou scoring a try just before halftime that reduced the lead of Monnas to 14-12.
Two quick tries within the five minutes of the second half gave Monnas a 28-12 lead and set the pattern for the rest of the match with Monnas attacking and desperate defence from Boland Landbou just saving several tries. During the last fifteen minutes, the game lost most of its structure giving Boland Landbou an opportunity to play with the ball in hand. This resulted in Boland scoring the last 21 points of the match.
Monnas: Tries: van Wyk (3), Collins, Goodman Wentink Conversion: Wentink (6)
Boland Landbou: Tries: Moodie (2), Olivier, Wiggins, Swartz Conversion: Snyman (4)
12:00 Transvalia 7-73 Paarl Gim
Not difficult at all and it will definately not be Transvalia.
And it was only Paarl Gim with the games stopped with 15 minutes still left on the clock.
Paarl Gim: Tries: Jacobs, James, Curwin (4), Nel, Du Toit, van Niekerk, Compion(2) Conversions: Smal (9)
Transvalia: Try: Ehlers Conversion: Christie
10:40 Oakdale 7-31 Garsfontein
Oakdale won 5 from 8 in 2019 but this team is not the team of previous years losing 25-51 to Paarl Gim and 10-21 to Stellenberg. Garsfontein only played 6 games in 2019 losing only to Grey College 30-53 and possesses a well-balanced team with big, brutal forwards and very slick backs. They are maybe one of the teams in South Africa best suited to play a 15 man game able to meet most challenges up front or at the back.
Garsfontein should, must and will but Oakdale will not lie down and show their white meat.
A tight affair in the first 20 minutes will Garsfontein maybe having the upper hand, just. With 15 minutes left on the clock Garsfontein lead by 14-0 but Oakdale only behind on the scoreboard and definitely not on the field yet. The halftime score of 14-7 to Garsfontein a fair reflection of the first half.
One can be excused to write the second half off as boring but the two teams gave their all with Garsfontein scoring whenever the opportunity presented itself. Garsfontein a deserved winner with 31-7 but Oakdale's effort maybe, definitely deserving more points on the scoreboard.
Oakdale: Tries: Victor, Stephens Conversion: vd Linde (2)
Garsfontein: Tries: Johnson, Strydom(2), Zenha, Roets Conversion: Basson (3)
09:20 Welkom Gim 20-39 Waterkloof
Welkom Gim already played 10 games only losing to Grey College (0-29) and drew against Framesby (25-25) at Kearsney. Waterkloof played 8 and lost 3 but there is a new wind blowing at Waterkloof and it will be exciting to see how this team develops in 2019.
Taking the history into account Waterkloof should win this but the exciting Welkom Gim will test them and in 2019 Welkom Gim must be the favourite to win this one. Waterkloof needs to make it slow and keep the ball away from the backs of Welkom Gim otherwise it could also become ugly.
Waterkloof scored the first try within seconds after kickoff with the rest of the first half an arm wrestle with the two sides maybe too obsessed to attack at all cost than rather than to deserve the opportunity to attack first. Half time score had Welkom Gim ahead with 1 point 13-12.
Welkom Gim's refusal to kick the ball to safely exit from their 22 cost them two tries in which Waterkloof managed to extend their lead in the second half to 29-20 with 15 minutes to go. The last part of the second half belonged to Waterkloof and although they only scored 10 points in this period the win was well deserved especially for their effort in the second half.
Welkom Gim: Tries: Banzi, Steyn Conversion: Andrews (2) Penalty: Andrews (2)
Waterkloof: Tries: Pretorius (2), Roelofse, Melamed, de Kock, Fleidl Conversions: Trollip (3) Penalty: de Kock
08:00 Framesby 29-21 Menlopark
Framesby played 10 lost 1 and drew against Welkom Gim (25-25) at the Kearsney festival. Their only loss was against Selborne (17-20) also at the Kearsney festival in a game that they should have won but ..........
Menlopark lost 3 of the 6 games they played in 2019 BUT they lost to Grey College (28-59), Paarl Gim (23-38) and Monnas (8-30) which shows that they are still a force in schoolboy rugby to not underestimate.
Framesby does have a better record in 2019 but I still think Menlopark will push them until the final whistle and could just surprise me too.
Framesby was in control of the match from the first minute with Menlopark only able to score their first points with 6 minutes left on the clock to narrow the gap to 07-26 which was the score at the end of the first half.
Menlopark looked a lot better in the second half spending a lot of time in the Framesby half but unfortunately over elaboration by the Menlo players lead to many errors costing them definite scoring opportunities. As the half continued Menlopark slowly took control of the game scoring their 3rd try to narrow the gap to 21-29 with 15 minutes left on the clock.
Framesby the deserved winners but if Menlopark did not butcher a lot of try-scoring opportunities the result could have been different.
Framesby: Tries: Grobler, Liebenberg Conversions: Liebenberg (2) Penalty: Liebenberg (5)
Menlopark: Tries: Oosthuizen(2), NSuku Conversions: Deysel (3)
Fixtures: 01 May 2019
19:00 Stellenberg 22-19 Diamantveld
Stellenberg is definately one of the brightest stars among the schools that are becoming a definite threat to the "established" rugby powers in South Africa, with a top-class festival without their name on the schools attending is not that top class. Stellenberg already played ten games this season winning 6 and losing 4 with the loss at the Newlands Popcorn day against SACS an oopsie. Their losses against Affies (21-27), Helpmekaar (08-10) and Outeniqua (10-15) could have gone either way.
Hosts Diamantveld is not experiencing a good season according to their normal standards winning 5 from 9 but suffering big defeats at the hands of Goudeveld (12-21), EG Jansen (10-35), Affies (25-52) and Oakdale (17-29).
Stellenberg should win this with relative ease BUT Helpmekaar will admit that it is not that easy beating Diamantveld at the Wildeklawer after their 24-25 loss to Diamantveld in 2018 which was one of the biggest upsets of 2018 shattering Helpmekaar's dreams for 2018.
Stellenberg showed their intent early on in the match but Diamantveld answered every attack from Stellenberg with committed and aggressive defence forcing Stellenberg into making errors. Diamantveld scored a long distance try when Stellenberg made such an error while on the attack almost in the 22 of Diamantveld to take the early with 7-0. With six minutes on the left on the clock, Stellenberg scored the equaliser finding more and more cracks in the Diamantveld's rock solid defence.
Initially, in the second half, Stellenberg took control of the game extending their lead to 15-7. However with 20 minutes to go Diamantveld started to get their hand on the ball and reduced the Stellenberg lead to just 1 point with thirteen minutes to go. Excitement followed with both sides throwing everything they had at each other in the last minutes of the game. Stellenberg scored the winning try with seconds left on the clock but Diamantveld scored a final try seconds later to lose 19-22.
Diamantveld: Tries: Mathewson, Steiman, Greyling Conversion: Mathewson, Harding
Stellenberg: Tries: Hadlow, Manual, Mesengana Conversions: Petersen (2) Penalty: Petersen