Big guns fire in quarterfinals
Polished performances by Brakpan, College Rovers, Despatch and Rustenburg Impala saw them qualify for Saturday’s Community Cup semifinals.
Polished performances by pre-tournament favourites Brakpan, College Rovers, Despatch and Rustenburg Impala saw them qualify for Saturday’s semifinals of the inaugural Community Cup, being played at Outeniqua Park in George.
Despatch will face Impala and Rovers will play Brakpan to determine the finalist for the tournament showdown on Easter Monday.
In Thursday’s quarterfinal action, the eight top sides from the pool phase took to the field to determine the pecking order of South African club rugby. All matches proved very competitive with some late tries in two matches giving those results a lopsided appearance.
In the opening match of the day, Brakpan outplayed Roodepoort to the tune of 39-13 thanks to two tries in the last two minutes of the match.
More accurate goal kicking proved the difference in the next two matches, where Despatch won 33-25 against Pretoria Police and College Rovers edged out Durbanville-Bellville 27-17.
In the last match of the day, home side Evergreens conceded four tries in the last 10 minutes to go down 10-50 to Rustenburg Impala.
Brakpan 39-13 Roodepoort
Two tries in the last two minutes of their clash against Roodepoort perhaps flatter Brakpan, but no-one will deny that they were worthy winners of this match against their Gauteng neighbours.
The East Rand side showed more enterprise and willingness with the ball in hand and thanks to a stellar effort a very effective loose trio, outplayed their West Rand opponents. Roodepoort played well in spurts, but could not sustain their efforts.
They opened the scoring through fullback Steve Griffiths, but a second effort was pulled to the left shortly thereafter.
Brakpan’s forward pack was getting the ascendency though and it was just a matter of time before their efforts were going to be rewarded.
This came after half an hour of play when the pack generated good momentum and livewire flank Wikus van der Berg scored.
A try just before the break extended Brakpan’s lead. This was extended by a Charl Niewenhuis penalty, but then Roodepoort struck.
First a great run by Jesse Geyer opened up the Brakpan defence, with Nicky Kritzinger scoring, and two minutes later Bryan Godfrey crossed the line following a strong run.
This only activated the Brakpan backline and wing Armand Steynvaart was worked over the corner.
Trailing 13-22 with minutes to play, Roodepoort tried to run from all over, but only succeeded to pass the ball to Jaco Lotter, who raced away to score the try that confirmed the result.
Tries: Van der Berg, Strydom, Steynvaart, Botes, Lotter
Cons: Niewenhuis 4
Pens: Niewenhuys 2
Tries: Kritzinger, Godfrey
Despatch 33-25 Pretoria Police
It was two traditional heavyweights in this competition and the match proved why. This result could have gone either way, but the Eastern Cape side showed more nerve and composure in the last 20 minutes when there was all to play for in a tight match.
Despatch started like a house on fire and scored early through big lock Ashley Viviers after a great run by wing Baldwin McBean opened up the Police defence.
A feature of this clash was the strong play by the wings on both sides. Police left wing Michel Nienaber was lively all day and a strong run by him gave his side field advantage and they exploited that nicely when Hendrik van der Nest raced through to score under the poles.
Another feature was the brutal defence on both sides with big hits complimenting the defensive attitudes.
Despite their best efforts, the Pretoria side could not seal off their try-line completely and wing Elcardo Mintoor scored in the corner when Despatch’s efforts on attack were rewarded.
Police started the second half better. Dillon Laubscher kicked a penalty to close the deficit and when Pieter Strydom scored after a great turnover by flank Louis van Biljon, they took the lead for the first time in the match.
It was short-lived however as Despatch worked the ball upfield with good interplay between backs and forwards, with prop Dewald Barnard finishing off the move with a powerful burst to the line.
Police again showed some grit and attacked well, but Despatch held out. A yellow card to Despatch gave Laubscher a change to trim the lead to one point with 20 minutes to play.
That was extended to six again when Despatch flank Bobby Dyer finished off more good play by his industrious teammates.
Police did not take all their chances when presented and twice decided to go for attacking line-outs and not kick for poles. Despatch did not and whilst flyhalf Ryan Brown managed to hit the uprights with a penalty attempt, halfback partner Marlon Lewis had no such problem with his snatch dropped goal.
This gave the Eastern Cape side more confidence and when Police frantically tried to close down the attacking space of their opponents, it gave Brown two chances to take the game away from Police. He did just that.
A try two minutes from time by Sibongile Njomba gave Police a last chance, but Despatch snuffed that out with dogged defence.
Tries: Viviers, Mintoor, Barnard, Dyer
Cons: Brown 2
Pens: Brown 2
For Pretoria Police:
Tries: Van der Nest, Strydom, Njomba
Cons: Laubscher 2
Pens: Laubscher 2
College Rovers 27-17 Durbanville-Bellville
The tournament favourites from Durban confirmed that reputation with a hard-fought win over the Western Province champions, who will regret one or two poor options that could have swung the match towards them.
It was clear though that whoever wants to win this inaugural tournament will have to beat the Rovers.
The match started well for the Cape side who scored early via flank Gerrit Bekker and the conversion by Raynor Becker gave them a 7-0 lead.
This was cancelled out shortly afterwards when the Durbanites struck back through a wonderfully worked try by fullback Chris Jordaan, who weaved his way past a couple of defenders.
A head clash that saw both Wandile Mjekevu and Van Heerden Rust stretchered off slowed down both teams and some unforced errors on both sides thwarted points scoring opportunities.
Durbell flank Marius White did score just before the break and a successful conversion had his side in the lead when half-time was called.
The second half was a ding dong affair with both sides attacking well from all over the field.
A great break and try by midfielder Sergio Torrens proved to be the difference. After this, Durbell took numerous wrong options on defence, while Rovers stayed calm, with Chris Micklewood kicking two penalties to confirm their superiority.
For College Rovers:
Tries: Jordaan, Torrens
Pens: Micklewood 3, Dannhauser 2
Tries: Theron, White
Cons: Becker 2
Rustenburg Impala 50-10 Evergreens
There was much expectation and support from the local Pacaltsdorp community for their Evergreens side, but hats off to the Rustenburg side who stuck with their gameplan and strengths.
An early score by Evergreens had the crowd and band going, but Impala slowly but surely worked their way back into the match.
Their veteran flyhalf, Naas Olivier, kicked superbly to the poles and for touch and this rallied his teammates.
The second half proved a bridge too far for the willing home side.
Impala used their gameplan effectively and finished off their chances. Olivier kept directing play by changing the angle of attack and his educated tactical boot, while Evergreens were looking for the glamorous options too often.
This overly ambitions play did not show on the scoreboard and instead allowed Rustenburg to score a couple of break-away tries, which effectively killed off the George side.
The last quarter of the match created great excitement to the home crowd, as their team attacked from all angles, but basic errors proved to be the difference as the Northwest team scored three tries from the resulting turnovers.
For Rustenburg Impala:
Tries: Ries, Williams, Apollis, Du Plessis 2, Esterhuyse
Cons: Olivier 4
Pens: Olivier 4
The schedule for Saturday, March 30:
Match 45 – Evergreens v Pretoria Police (kick-off: 12.45)
Match 46 – Roodepoort v Durbanville-Bellville (kick-off: 08.45)
Match 47 – Rustenburg Impala v Despatch (Cup Semifinal 1; kick-off: 14.45)
Match 48 – Brakpan v College Rovers (Cup Semifinal 2; kick-off: 10.45)