Jan 22, 2021

BJ’s Corner

Photo Credit: Hannes Naude / BJ Botha

Merry Christmas to everyone and a happy new year!

It was a first for South African domestic rugby, playing over this festive period where usually players would be on holiday and coaches planning for the incoming season.

However, I think overall it was very welcomed and great to see SA’s powerhouses going at each other albeit without spectators over this challenging time for everyone. 


BJ’s Carling Currie Cup review of Round 5.

DHL WESTERN PROVINCE VS TAFEL LAGER GRIQUAS

A game where the score-line does not really reflect the overall game, especially with some poor officiating at times that enabled WP to put points on the board at crucial times that should have been disallowed.

With Western Province having lost to both the Bulls and Lions in recent weeks they have had their backs against the walls and have been under pressure to perform. Griquas coming into this fixture with nothing to lose but a very well coached outfit wanting to play rugby.

Western Province showed their intent early on by going to the corners to put tries on the board. It was clinical from WP early on with a scrum penalty, to a drive in the corner to score within 8 min of the game. This would be the theme for most of the game with the WP pack putting Griquas under pressure at scrum time and driving mauls.  

There was a lot of territorial ping pong early on in the game with both sides not wanting to play in their own half. The Griquas with ball in hand looked really dangerous and created some great opportunities with some innovative set play moves, however this did not convert to points with some handling and system errors at crucial times.

Western Province stuck to their game plan with keeping it in the forwards and dominating upfront in the scrum and had it not been for this advantage I believe Griquas would’ve been in with a chance to cause an upset.

Some crucial and poor reffing decisions on two occasions also didn’t help Griquas cause which added to their woes. However, they did not give up the fight and were deservedly rewarded with a try to finish off the match, but it was a little too late for the side from Kimberley.

Scorers:

DHL Western Province 34 (17) – Tries: Bongi Mbonambi (2), Dan du Plessis, Jaco Coetzee, Chad Solomon. Conversions: Tim Swiel (3). Penalty goal: Swiel.

Tafel Lager Griquas 17 (10) – Tries: Eduan Keyter, Siba Qoma. Conversions: Tinus de Beer (2). Penalty goal: De Beer.

TOYOTA CHEETAHS VS CELL C SHARKS

It was always going to be a big ask for a young Sharks side to beat a strong Cheetahs outfit in Bloem.

Understandably the prep for the Sharks was not ideal with the scare of covid cases in the week, but they couldn’t have envisaged a worse start to the game with an inexcusable error off the kickoff to allow the Cheetahs to get on the scoreboard within 30 seconds. This would unfortunately happen again later in the game with the same consequences.

The Cheetahs pushed on from this dream start, taking the ball up directly to create momentum they created of their dominant set piece, especially in the scrum.

The Sharks evidently played some great running rugby when they had the ball in hand, however, this was few and far between with the amount of unforced errors and set-piece dominance the opposition had on them.

The Cheetah’s continued to keep the scoreboard ticking with some great kicking from Frans Steyn which added to the Sharks woes.

The Sharks did have opportunities but could not convert the pressure they put the Cheetahs under. They were rewarded penalties but instead of taking the points on offer, they went for the corner to take the Cheetahs on in their own game, which did not materialize for the Sharks and left them chasing the game at the end.

The last score of the game which allowed the Cheetahs to secure a bonus point summed up the game and would send the Sharks home back to Durban with a lot to work on.

Scorers:

Toyota Cheetahs 37 (27) – Tries: Carl Wegner, Marnus van der Merwe, Rhyno Smith, Boan Venter. Conversions: Frans Steyn (4). Penalty goals: Steyn (3).

Cell C Sharks 10 (7) – Try: Yaw Penxe. Conversion: Curwin Bosch. Penalty goal: Bosch

Brendon “BJ” Botha