Collegians extend unbeaten run at home

Collegians fullback Abubakr Jappie clears the ball under pressure during his side's 35-11 victory against Violets.

Collegians RFC recorded their fifth victory of the 2016 Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) Super League B season, beating Violets 35-11 at home on Saturday.

That victory saw the Lentegeur-based side 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 Violets 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.

The fans, however, were not really sure what to expect as that game was the team’s first after a six-week long mid-season break. The break could have done them some good, in terms of the much needed rest.

However, it could have also had some negative effect, in terms of rustiness and lack of match fitness.

To their credit, the Collegians players were sharper and more energetic. Inspired by their vocal supporters, the Lentegeur side caused all sorts of problems for their opponents.

The visitors refused to budge and responded with serious counter-attacks but the Collegians defence stood firm and they were, in the end, deserved winners.

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.

Ariefdien also noted that the pre-season break did have some effect in their play.

“It was a long break but we tried play friendly matches to keep the players in shape and match-fit. All the players delivered and the game was played in a good spirit,” he said.

He said the difference between the two sides on the day was that Collegians’ backs proved to be quicker and faster.

“We realised that Violets’ forwards were bigger and more dominant, so we had to make sure we used our smaller and quicker backs. They didn’t have any answers for that and I think that’s where the game was won,” he said.

Looking ahead, Ariefdien said there was still a lot to play for before the end of the season.

Their next game is away in Paarl against 8th placed Young Peoples. Statistically, there’s not much that separates the two sides as Young Peoples trail Collegians by five points, having won five and lost six of their 11 league matches.

Ariefdien said they were well aware of what You Peoples are capable of, especially in front of their home supporters.

“We are on a high right now and we need to keep things that way, which means we have to take each game as it comes.

“So, our next mission is to beat Young Peoples, we know their game revolves around their quick and fast backline. So we need share the ball and take things as they come,” he said.

Following successful pre-season training, the Lentegeur side had a dream start to the season. They won their first two matches – beating Hamlets 31-29 and Goodwood 49-18 – before drawing their third match 24-24 against Kraaifontein. That draw seemed to take them off the rails a little bit as they lost 9-0 away against Bellville in their next match.

But, to their credit, Collegians bounced back to beat St George’s 14-13 in a tightly-contested match before losing 23-10 against Villager.

They went on to beat Hands &Heart 25-21 in their last match before the break.

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).

Violets’ next game is at home against 10th placed Helderberg and Mogamat 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.

* 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 to 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