Hosts, The South African College High School (SACS), outscored visitors Stellenberg High four tries to three but ultimately lost the match 22-25 (half-time: 12-11). It was an important match for both teams who have been battling for form but ultimately it was Stellenberg who held their nerve and came up trumps.
SACS started well and put phases together inside the Stellenberg half. They were rewarded with a penalty shot at goal which wing Matthew Hayes missed. Stellenberg went onto the attack soon after and also received a penalty, which they converted via flyhalf Nivan Petersen to take a three-point lead.
On twelve minutes SACS scored a lovely try. Lock Jordan Thomas started it with a pick and go. He found his lock partner Storm Balchin in support. Balchin made good metres and the ball went wide to hooker Anathi Kalipa, who orchestrated some beautiful interplay before finishing off himself. Hayes missed the conversion.
Hayes has a break himself soon after but it lead to nothing. Big Stellenberg lock Tyrone Rose did what the SACS locks had done earlier and unlocked the opposition defence. He cut through from deep from the resulting pressure Stellenberg converted another penalty on twenty-two minutes to take a one-point lead.
SACS had two good opportunities soon after. Fullback Ross Letcher making a great break only for the resulting ruck ball to be kicked away and an overlap that was spurned on the outside which ultimately led to turnover ball for Stellenberg. Stellenberg almost scored in the corner from that turnover ball. Only a wonderful cover tackle from centre Fabrice Nahimana saved SACS.
SACS bungled the lineout and from the ensuing scrum Stellenberg played a few phases before burly tight-head Vleis Dippenaar crashed over, much to the delight of the visiting fans! Petersen missed he conversion. On the stroke of half-time SACS scored via an intercept from wing Matthew Hayes. He converted from right in front to give SACS a slender half-time lead.
Stellenberg started the second half well and SACS were forced to soak up early pressure. It was SACS though who scored first via flank Nicholas Boden to extend their lead to 17-11. SACS received a yellow card midway through the second half. Stellenberg capitalised and their hooker Justin Cupido, who was arguably the man of the match, scored via a maul on twenty-two minutes. Petersen converted to give the visitors a one-point lead with just over ten minutes to go.
Big SACS prop Ethan Burger stripped a Stellenberg player in contact and popped the ball over the top to left-wing Cameron Abegglen who raced clear to score. SACS were again unsuccessful with the conversion and they led 22-18 with less than ten minutes to go.
The game was on a knife-edge now and both teams were trying to be positive but both were guilty of errors. The SACS lineout in particular started to creak and SACS were under all sort of pressure. A rushed clearance with two minutes to go gifted Stellenberg a final throw of the dice. They duly seized the opportunity and scored a wonderful counter-attack try via left-wing Irwin Meyer. Petersen nailed the conversion to give Stellenberg a crucial win which they celebrated in style.
Tries: Anathi Kalipa, Nicholas Boden, Cameron Abegglen, Matthew Hayes
Tries: Vleis Dippenaar, Justin Cupido, Irwin Meyer
Conversions: Nivan Petersen (2)
Penalties: Petersen (2)
Referee: Nathan Barry (WP Refs)
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