Playing at home after a fixture switch due to construction work taking place at SACS, Diocesan College (Bishops) outlasted The South African College High School (SACS) in a tightly contested war of attrition to win by 19-7 (halftime 5-7).
Bishops started the better of the two sides and played with more variety throughout the match. They dominating possession for long periods and looked more fluid in attack. SACS had the first chance to take the lead though but wing Matthew Hayes, kicking with a strong north wind, pulled his attempt left of the uprights.
The teams were both guilty of errors as nerves seemed to get the better of the boys. The ferocious nature of the two defences and the way they attacked the breakdown also meant the match struggled to get going.
The game came to light in the last ten minutes of the half. Bishops were all over SACS for what seemed like an eternity. SACS defended for all they had and twice turned Bishops over. Once they tried to tap and run but knocked on leading to more pressure. The next time they missed touch and allowed Bishops again to counter. Bishops had a huge overlap which they spurned and it seemed SACS would come away unscathed but Bishops came again and eventually flank David Nivison got over in the corner. Flyhalf Jordan Meyer was unsuccessful with the conversion from out wide.
SACS had a final throw of the dice before the interval and they tapped another penalty. Fullback Ross Letcher has a nice break which got SACS close to the Bishops line. After a succession of penalties SACS prop Joshua Barrett launched himself at the line to score. Hayes converted and SACS took a slender 7-5 lead into half-time.
SACS were unable to take that momentum into the second half and were under the cosh again for the first ten minutes. Once again though resolute defence saw them come away with no damage done on the scoreboard. SACS began an attack from deep and flyhalf Dean Reich burst through the Bishops defence. It looked for all money that he would make a crucial score but Bishop’s scrumhalf William Rose came out of his blind spot and tackled him a metre short of the tryline. It was a crucial moment in the context of a low scoring match.
Eighteen minutes into the second half it was Bishops though who took the lead. SACS were stringing together phases around the halfway line. They were turned over at ruck time and Bishops started a counter-attack. They probed and got momentum before swinging the ball wide to powerful left-wing Bingo Ivanisevic. He was tackled but managed to free his hands and offload to fullback Liam Kloosman who scored. Meyer converted and Bishops were back in the lead.
SACS were once again roused into action and they launched onto the attack. SACS swamped the Bishops line for a five-minute period but were guilty of being a little to one dimensional. They had numerous opportunities to reclaim the lead but like SACS had done earlier, Bishops defended their line with pride and passion. A massive defensive effort which ultimately won them the match!
Bishops used the wind to pin SACS back and then have one final attack which saw flyhalf Jordan Meyer scythe through a tiring SACS defence. He was tackled just short of the tryline but popped the ball up to No. Isaiah Wharton who crashed over. Meyer converted and it was game over. Bishops deservedly winning a fiercely contested derby encounter.
Tries: David Nivison, Liam Kloosman, Isaiah Wharton
Conversions: Jordan Meyer (2)
Try: Joshua Barrett
Conversion: Matthew Hayes
- Liam Kloosman 14. Michael Roche 13. Harry Newman 12. Victor Allan 11. Bingo Ivanisevic 10. Jordan Meyer 9. William Rose 8. Isaiah Wharton 7. David Nivison 6. Justin Muller (c) 5. Tim Sharples 4. Ano Mtombeni 3. Oliver MacRobert 2. Jeff Malherbe 1. Alex Castle
- Ross Letcher 14. Matthew Hayes 13. Ben Mazzullo 12. Fabrice Nahimana 11. Luke McMeeking 10. Dean Reich 9. Thurston Cloete 8. Lukhanyo Gqokoma 7. Nicholas Boden 6. Craig Bylin (c) 5. Jean Minnaar 4. Storm Balchin 3. Joshua Barrett 2. Anathi Kailpa 1. Ethan Burger
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