Chukker Road-based Violets RFC’s first team didn’t have an ideal start to the second round of the 2016 Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) Super League B campaign, going down 35-11 to Collegians at their former home, Lentegeur, at the weekend.
The players, from both sides, seemed to be a little rusty as they had just returned from a six-week mid-season break.
However, Violets coach Mogamat Galant was quick to note that the break was not a bad thing for the players. This, he said, was because it also gave them time to reflect on the first half of the season, among other things.
“It had more of the positive effect because, for instance, it gave the players time to recover from injuries. They were also able to gain clarity in terms of visualising their goals, and that is important because it is easy to lose track of the goals in the weeks you play. So, yes, that time to step back and reflect is important,” he said.
“On the flip side, and I don’t want to say it’s a negative thing, there was room for rustiness because of lack of action. We tried to counter this by allowing the players to go to the gym for few hours a day,” he said.
In Collegians, Violets came up against a side with an impressive home record.
They are unbeaten at Lentegeur in the league, having won four and drawing one of their five home matches.
However, Violets were aware of that and went to the game with a plan and executed it.
The encounter was evenly matched in the early stages, with the visitors winning most of the line-outs.
However, it was Collegians who broke the ice, recording the first points of the match via a penalty.
The visitors kept searching for holes in their opponents’ defence but Collegians stood firm. It was clear, in terms of ball possession, that neither of the sides were able to stamp their authority and dominate the match.
The visitors had an opportunity to dot down just before the break but fell short of the try line. Collegians went on to win 35-17.
Galant said Collegians and Violets have a history and there’s always nostalgia each time Violets returned “home” to Lentegeur.
“Sometimes it is difficult to contain the emotions but, fortunately, the players were able to put their minds firmly in the game,” he said.
He said the difference between the two sides on the day was that his players didn’t capitalise on the ball possession they had.
“We were good in set pieces and the scrum was evenly matched. Our downfall was that our forwards moved the ball wide, which was playing to Collegians’ strengths.
“We also lacked concentration in the later stages of the match, allowing them to cross the line a few more times,” he said.
Looking ahead, Galant said he was expecting an exciting end to the season.
“There are five matches left and we are targeting at least three victories from those. It is not going to be easy as we still have to play strong teams like Helderberg, St Georges and Hands&Heart.
“Those are kinds of matches that are self-motivating for the players. We are not short of talent and I am sure we can regain our winning ways. We are working on a mindset shift from complacency to total concentration, which is important for any team,” said Galant
Violets’ next game is at home against 10th placed Helderberg and Galant made it clear that his side will adopt an attacking approach.
“Helderberg used to be a formidable Super League A team and, now, are still doing well in the Super League B. So, they will come to the match with that experience, hence we will have to concentrate for the duration of the game,” said Galant.
The defeat against Collegians was Violets’ sixth of the season. Having won three matches, the side is 12th on the 15-team log with 19 points. Their three victories this season came against Macassar (20-14), Goodwood (17-8) and Strand (29-21).
Saturday’s victory saw Collegians moving to sixth position on the log with 27 points after winning five, losing three and drawing two of their 10 league matches. They are 17 points behind log leaders Pniel Villagers, who are on 44 points having played the same number of matches.
It was always going to be difficult for the Chukker Road side to get away with maximum points against the highly street-smart Collegians side in their Lentegeur fortress. The tough-tackling and hard-running Collegians have developed a reputation for making things difficult for any team that face them in front of their fanatical supporters.
Collegians coach Armien Arifdien described the day’s action as true community club rugby at its best. “There was a lot of tension down there, especially in the early stages of the match. That was expected as this was a derby,” he said.
* In other action, SK Walmer crushed Primrose RFC 41-3, in Super League A match, at Rosmead.
The visitors were soon out of the starting blocks with two tries from fullback Rameez Osman in the opening 10 minutes. They added their third try just before half-time via loose forward JR Esterhuizen. All Primrose could show was a penalty by Jason Jantjies.
In the second half, Kloof scored three tries without reply. Their forwards dominated all facets of the game with prop Gary Topkin the pick of the pack. Behind the scrum, flyhalf Yasfir Davids marshalled his backs intelligently.
* Elsewhere, Tygerberg RFC started their second half of their Super League A campaign on a winning note, beating UWC 35-17.
The impact of the six-week long break was clearly visible in the early stages of the match, as the Tygerberg players struggled to cope with the pace of their opponents.
They looked rusty and that resulted in them making a number of unnecessary mistakes in the first half and UWC capitalised by scoring four first half penalties.
The students looked sharper and more energetic as they ran the ball to their opponents.
However, the Ravensmead-based side slowly got into the game and scored the only try of the first half, taking the score-line 12-7, in favour of UWC, going to the break.
Whatever coach Ricky Petersen said to the players during the break seemed to have worked, as they came back a different side, taking the game to UWC. The students soon found themselves chasing shadows as Tygerberg attacked in waves.
– Additional reporting Weekend Argus