While local schools rugby followers have to wait till Saturday to see who represents the Western Province/Boland area against Oakdale in the large school section of the Burger competition, the local small and medium school finalists were decided at the Malmesbury Rugby Club grounds on Wednesday.
In the late game Schoonspruit held just too much firepower for a game President side, running out 49-5 winners, while Hawston overpowered Scottsdene 41-13 in an action-packed small schools semi-final.
The early match was played at breakneck speed from the kick-off. The inevitable result was a spate of handling errors as the sides gave their all to gain an early advantage. Scrumhalf Thomas Klazen drew first blood for the ’Dene with a penalty as Hawston put themselves under added pressure through injudicious overelaboration, a fault which led to the Western Province representatives’ flank Reggie Ceasar dotting down in the corner in the 26th minute (Scottsdene 8 Hawston 0).
Shaken out of their stupor, Hawston got their act together running in three lovely tries in a six-minute burst before the much-need water break. First young left wing Logan Niemand crossed near the corner flag, followed by flank Warren Brown, who rounded off a dazzling interchange of passes, and flyhalf Steven Figaji, whose neat break saw him brush off several weak tackle attempts. Captain and inside centre Roland Swarts converted the last two to make the half-time score Hawston 19 Scottsdene 8.
Shortly after the restart Hawston’s outside centre Arno Fortuin shrugged off two despairing defenders to score close to the posts for Swarts to convert. Against the run of play Scottsdene were the next to score when flyhalf Ashwin Dube scythed through under the posts. Klazen fluffed the simple conversion, but Scottsdene were showing signs of recovery, even at 13-26 down.
Swarts almost immediately slotted a penalty for Hawston, but the anticipated points deluge never materialised. As it turned out, the south coast lads added just two tries in the last quarter, through flank Keenan Lucas and right wing Carlton Celie, the first of which Swarts goaled. Final score: Hawston 41 Scottsdene 13.
Although they weren't expected to ruffle Schoonspruit’s feathers unduly, President gave a very good account of themselves in the late match. The score may indicate otherwise, but the Goodwood team’s forwards held their own against the bigger local pack for large parts of the game.
By the 25th minute Vos de Jager’s lads had already run up a commanding 29-0 lead, but poor handling cost them dear in the latter stages and they only crossed their opponents’ line three times in the second period.
Poor handling of a kick-ahead gifted ’Spruit flyhalf Ashlon Davids an unconverted try as early as the seventh minute, before stoic defence held the hosts at bay for a short while.
Just as in Monday’s match against Hermanus, Schoonspruit suddenly hit top gear as outside centre Andy Huisamen, mobile lock Curtley Jefferies and left wing Bronwin Lemonie all tore through a hesitant defence to register five-pointers, all of which were converted by Huisamen, who added a penalty on the half-time whistle to see his side change over 29-0 up.
Ironically it was a moment of enterprising quick thinking that caught Schoonspruit unawares early in the second period. A quickly-taken tap penalty saw prolific outside centre Enver Brandt score his twentieth try of the year to put the Pressies on the board.
Once again play swung between the 22 metre lines for a while before inside centre Anzo Stubbs dived over spectacularly to put his team’s score into the thirties.
Next came the try of the day as a sweeping movement led eventually to Huisamen making the crucial line-break to send Davids in near the uprights. Huisamen’s conversion put his team in the driving seat at 41-5.
The exertions of Monday’s game against Hermanus, combined with the unseasonable heat, started to take its toll on the Malmesbury side and they could manage only one more unconverted try, by the indefatigable man of the match No.8 Ludio Williams. Final score: Schoonspruit 46 President 5.
Schoonspruit’s opponents in the Final were determined when hosts Nico Malan easily disposed of Mossel Bay’s Punt 27-7 in Humansdorp on Tuesday.
The Eastern Cape side’s hero was left wing Christiaan Nieman who notched three sparkling tries. No.8 Martin Groenewald added a fourth, while right wing Selvyn Davids slotted two conversions and a penalty. Punt’s only response was a try by flank Jean Blom, goaled by flyhalf Linden Rhode.
The finals, to be played at either HTS Drostdy or Paarl Boys’ High on Saturday 27 August, now look like this:
Small Schools Final: Hawston (Boland) vs winner of Itembelihle (Eastern Province)/Sao Bras (South Western Districts)
Medium Schools Final: Schoonspruit (Boland) vs Nico Malan (Eastern Province)
BigSchools Final: winner of HTS Drostdy (Boland)/Paarl Boys’ High (Western Province) vs Oakdale (South Western Districts)
By Tony Stoops
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