Schoolboy rugby at its best

According to Penryn’s head of rugby, Graeme Stewart, “the thinking behind the event is to provide the local players an opportunity to play competitive rugby in a world-class stadium and to garner support for the Steval Pumas.”

The first match was the “Out of town” derby between Hoërskool Barberton and Hoërskool Sybrand Van Niekerk from Sabie. From the tempo of the match, it was evident that it is still early in the season for both sides.

Barberton soon found their rhythm, however, and their strong outside backs were too much for the Sybrand defenders, with multiple tries scored in the outside channels. Sybrand managed two consolidation tries, leaving the final score at 42-12 in favour of Barberton.

The second match was the White River derby between Uplands College and Hoërskool Rob Ferreira. The latter team went into the match as the favourites, and quickly built up a 12-point lead in the first half.

The Uplands team appeared shell-shocked in the first half and had no answer for the Rob attack. Going into the second half, Rob Ferreira again appeared to have the upper hand, but credit must go to Uplands for never giving up. Their fighting spirit led to two late tries in the second half with their kicker staying cool-headed and slotting both conversions for the win. The Uplands man of the match was Edward Gibbons.

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Uplands College’s Vincent Gelderbloem said it was a tightly contested game as everyone thought it would be. “Rob Ferreira dominated both possession and territory for the majority of the match which forced us to defend for long periods of time.

“Uplands scored two tries, one from winger Joshua San Giorgio and the second by prop Samkele Lubede, both converted by full back Tony Ferreira. Rob scored two tries and converted one,” he said. Uplands won 14-12.

In the Nelspruit derby, between Penryn College and Hoërskool Bergvlam, conditions became difficult as the dew began to settle. Penryn has had the edge over Bergvlam the last couple of seasons, but Bergvlam were keen to prove a point this time.

The team from Penryn are a young squad, and the experience of playing under lights at Mbombela Stadium appeared to distract some of the players, which was not conducive to team play. Penryn managed to keep ahead of Bergvlam on the score board and showed good defence in keeping the passionate Bergvlam players at bay.

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Going into the final seconds of the match, Penryn were up 19-17 and only had to kick the ball out to win the match, but the clearing kick was charged down by a Bergvlam player and lock Dylan Sjoblom pounced on the ball to score the winning try, which was successfully converted with the score ending up at 24-19 to Bergvlam.

“We look forward to seeing the young Penryn squad develop as a team this season,” Stewart said. He added his thanks to the sponsors of the event. “Penryn looks forward to continuing this as an annual event, and there are plans to expand it even further,” he said.

Philippa Francis

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