Playing at home on lovely winter's morning the South African College High School (SACS) staged a dramatic second-half comeback to beat rivals Dioesan College (Bishops) by 20 points to thirteen. SACS trailed 13-nil at the interval.
Bishops were the better team in the first half as SACS struggled to hold onto the ball and got on the wrong side of the visiting English referee. Bishops moved the ball around in their usual free-flowing manner but SACS had learnt their lessons from the first-round fixture and defended with more width and aggression.
SACS did slip a number of first time tackles though and Bishops had regular forays into the SACS quarter. SACS were yellow carded for repeated infringements in the red-zone and Bishops used the opportunity to score the only try of the half. SA Schools tight-head prop Tshepo Motale crashing over. Bishops stand-in flyhalf James van Heerden, who had earlier kicked two penalties, slotted the conversion to put Bishops thirteen points clear and well in control.
SACS showed more respect for the ball in the second period and put Bishops under pressure as they went through the phases, using the pick-and-go to good effect to suck in defenders. Hooker Gino Lupini scored an opportunist try as he collected a loose ball and raced forty metres to score. Flyhalf Chris Smith converted the try and was successful with a snap drop soon after.
The SACS players were visibly growing in confidence now and the next time SACS visited the Bishops half Smith converted a penalty. The SACS supporters sniffed an upset but Bishops came again in search of the win. Vital handling errors cost Bishops as did a Van Heerden penalty miss.
With time almost up on the clock SACS were awarded a scrum near the halfway line. Centre Brendan Rodgers, who had a strong game on defence, cut the Bishops backline and set up a ruck. The forwards drove on and Rodgers had another half-break, this time near the Bishops try-line. With an overlap to the right SACS moved the ball and left-wing Ryan Johnson jinked through a stretched Bishops defence to score and send the crowd into raptures. Smith converted and the referee blew time.
The SACS supporters, who have waited almost three full seasons for a win over one of their Southern Suburbs rivals, engulfed their heroes and performed the school song and war-cry in the middle of the Memorial A Field.
This was an important win for SACS and on the day was richly deserved.
Tries: Gino Lupini, Ryan Johnson
Cons: Chris Smith 2
Try: Tshepo Motale
Con: James van Heerden
Pens: an Heerden 2
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