Strong Finish Seals It For Bosch

And down comes the heavy timber! Bishops lock Sam Rudston (with the sweatband)
is tackled by a Wynberg defender during the Platinum Blues' 60-40 victory at Hawthornden on Saturday 18 May 2019.  (photo: Madison Beley

A measured surge in the last half-hour saw Rondebosch defeat visitors SACS 27-8 in a typically closely-contested southern suburbs derby on the Tinkie Heyns field on Saturday 18 May 2019.

A gloomy morning gave way to pleasant sunshine just in time for the main game, but those spectators who were expecting open, running rugby were to remain disappointed for the most part as the two teams were forced to struggle to establish any sort of ascendancy due as much to unforced errors as too miserly defences.

An early Rondebosch offensive was easily repelled by SACS centre Robin Aspeling, who was arguably the busiest player on the field, his clearance keeping the home side just outside his 22-metre area.  The same player then pushed the hosts back to the halfway line when they were penalised for closing off a ruck.

Despite a fine drive by SACS flank Ian Paterson, Rondebosch fought back thanks to good work by lock Will McDonald.  However, a crisp movement to the left, then right couldn’t force a gap in the Young Ikeys’ defence, the hosts having to be satisfied with a penalty in midfield, which full-back Conor van Eden stroked over. (Rondebosch 3 SACS 0 - 4 minutes)

’Bosch no.8 Josh King established an attacking platform, but poor handling scuppered the move.  SACS gratefully accepted the opportunity to show their abilities, a fine up-and-under bouncing favourably, enabling the ball to be shuttled to full-back Duran Koevort, who sped in from 22 metres. (Rondebosch 3 SACS 5 - 9 minutes)

Following the kick-off home scrumhalf Ishma-eel Safodien sniped left and a try seemed likely, but wing Tiaan van Loggerenberg was forced into touch.  Rondebosch took the line-out, but knocked the ball on, giving Aspeling the chance to bring much-needed relief.

The concern caused by an injury to Bosch captain and lock Matt Gray was soon forgotten when flyhalf Kian Davis broke close to the visitors’ line.  The ball was quickly shifted to the right for replacement lock Campbell Slater to score in the corner with his first touch of the ball. Van Eden added the conversion. (Rondebosch 10 SACS 5 - 15 minutes)

SACS saw this as a challenge, their forwards battering the hosts before the ball reached left wing Thomas Doyle, who was caught by the cover defence.

Judicious use of the boot saw Aspeling maintain the pressure and the stocky centre calmly set up a five-metre line-out when referee Jonathan Kaplan called the players back for a penalty advantage.

When the Canigou Carnivores were blown up again for not releasing the ball, having stolen possession at the ensuing line-out, Aspeling was successful from the tee. (Rondebosch 10 SACS 8 - 21 minutes)

The hosts were their own worst enemies as their forwards drove upfield before going offside and a powerful 30-metre surge by hooker Troy Fisher from a stolen line-out ball yielded nothing, Aspeling pushing them back 25 metres with an excellent clearance.

Bosch returned undaunted, eventually being awarded a penalty five metres from the Young Ikeys’ tryline.  The home side took the scrum option but promptly knocked the clean feed on.  If that wasn’t galling enough when Van Eden fielded the clearance, his pass to Van Loggerenberg in a great field position was ruled forward.  The locals then knocked on another clean line-out take but got off scot-free when SACS were unable to make any headway.

Bosch drove back in turn but was penalised yet again for holding on.  Aspeling found touch 28 metres from the hosts’ tryline, but half-time was blown when his forwards knocked on line-out possession.  Half -time: Rondebosch 10 SACS 8.

A handling error from the kick-off by Aspeling allowed Davis to find touch on the halfway line at the restart.  The visitors were then awarded a penalty, but the SACS centre’s goal attempt flew wide.

Taking this as a good omen, Bosch attacked out of defence, forcing the visitors into a handling error inside their own half.  Fisher took off from the line-out before offloading to Safodien on his outside for the slightly-built no. 9 to scoot in for his third try in two weeks. (Rondebosch 15 SACS 8 - 42 minutes)

Another unforced handling error heralded several minutes of rather scrappy play as both teams desperately sought to wrest an advantage.

Unfortunately, when the Newlands side took a heel against the head, Doyle’s promising chip-and-chase saw the flyer tackled fifteen metres from the Bosch tryline.

Then, when SACS looked certain to score, having set up a five-metre line-out from a penalty, McDonald pulled off a crucial steal to provide temporary relief and, barely a minute later, a SACS knock-on, followed soon afterwards by an offside penalty, which Van Eden dispatched into touch on the halfway line, averted the danger.

Tempers flared when a Bosch player was tackled in the air, but Van Eden restored calm with a huge clearance.

The full-back then featured prominently in King’s richly-deserved first try of the season, carrying the ball upfield at pace before feeding Van Loggerenberg on his inside, the wing calmly transferring the ball to his lively no.8 on his outside. (Rondebosch 20 SACS 8 - 59 minutes)

Things were starting to fall apart for the Young Ikeys as they were ruled to have been in front of the kick-off.  It was once again Van Eden who ran at the shaky defence, the ball finding its way to flyhalf Kian Davis who crossed for the final try of the game, converted by Van Eden. (Rondebosch 27 SACS 8 - 62 minutes)

Bad became worse when the next kick-off went straight into touch, although Aspeling defused any danger and Paterson put in a telling run, which resulted in Doyle threatening the Rondebosch line.

A penalty afforded the Newlands lads the chance to launch one last attack, but even that hope evaporated when they were blown up for not releasing the ball, Van Eden successfully finding the safety of the touchline. Final score: Rondebosch 27 SACS 8.

Nick Maurer’s team were by no means disgraced by this showing, but uncertainty or a lack of self-confidence seems to grip the side whenever they are involved in promising passing movements.  Full-back Duran Koevort would be an asset to any Premier A team, with Paterson and Doyle not far behind.

Bosch has a one-week break in which they will doubtless look again at their sometimes disturbing propensity for handling and ruck errors.  They will be only too aware that the southern suburbs derby is only three weeks away.  In Conor van Eden they have an absolute gem, definitely deserving of higher recognition, but even he would happily concede that Pieter Benade’s major success with this group is its unbreakable team ethic.

*As one glance at the Man of the Match section will tell you, schools rugby in the Boland is close to my heart and the chance to see two of my favourite teams, Stellenbosch and Labori, in action on Wednesday 15 May 2019 was too much to pass up.

It never fails to surprise me how the coaches of these two sides, whom chance forces to live in the shadow of far better-known teams, never fail to put well-trained, positive sides in the field.

The game itself might not have warranted any particular comment, were it not for the closing - and decisive - scoring move of a nailbiter in which the lead changed hands three times in the last five minutes.

Much is made of the kick-pass, apparently introduced and perfected by All Blacks Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo’unga.

Well, what an eye-opener it was to see Labori flyhalf Gareth Sauls launch a pinpoint looping punt into the left-hand corner, leaving wing Neal Prinsloo with the simplest of tasks to simply catch and ground the ball, sealing a 23-20 away victory for the Vikings!

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