Paarl Boys High managed to keep their bogey side, Boland Landbou, scoreless in the second half to win a dogged encounter 19-12 in chilly, damp conditions at Brug Street on Saturday.
The hosts started out brightly enough, even if it did take three kicks at goal for fullback Rhyno Smith to open the scoring. Then, midway through the first period lively right wing Anele Manengele finished off one of the game’s very few full backline movements with the only try of the match in the corner. Smith’s conversion put Boishaai up 10-0.
Within two minutes Boland Landbou were cruelly denied a certain try when centre Johan Slabber exploited an overlap to dive over midway out, only for a desperate defender to dislodge the ball from his hands in mid-air.
While this might have broken the spirit of lesser teams, the resilient Windmeul Warriors immediately put the disappointment behind them as flyhalf Jan Frylinck coolly slotted a beautiful dropped goal, followed by three comparatively easy penalties to give the visitors a 12-10 lead come the change-over.
Both backlines tended, perhaps Boishaai slightly more so, to over-elaborate in the second period, flyhalf Andreas Nel in particular being guilty of lateral running, an inexcusable error on the small field. It took, of all people, prop Ignus Nagel’s appearance at centre to restore calm to the Strepies’ backline on several occasions.
Realising that their backs were making little headway in the tricky conditions, the home pack started to drive effectively in the loose, threatening the visitors’ line on several occasions, only for astute kicking by Frylinck and his halfback partner Philip Molnar to drive them back again.
While it might not have been pretty rugby, it at least proved the adage that your opponents can't score points against you when they're stuck inside their own half. Fortunately for the anxious and very warmly-wrapped local supporters, Rhyno Smith landed all three of his penalty attempts in this session to ensure a hard-fought 19-12 victory.
The Streeptruie will be only too happy to put behind them a rather disjointed performance, which in some parts bore a frightening similarity to last week’s Interschools debacle.
The frightening part certainly doesn't stop there – for either side – when you consider their immediate commitments.
Next week Boishaai visit HTS Drostdy – whose recent return to form is evident in the narrow margin of their defeats: 24-26 to Paarl Gym and 21-23 to Paul Roos, both away from home – in what amounts to the WP/Boland Die Burger big school semi-final. Should they win that, then it’s back to Brug Street on 27 August for a second visit from Oakdale, whose 33-3 demolition of Framesby last Saturday shows that they're more than capable of avenging their 39-33 defeat in Paarl three weeks ago!
Boland Landbou complete their 2011 campaign with a visit to Riversdale for their Interschools showdown with said Oakdale this week. They lost inspirational captain Nicolai Lubbe on Friday when he went down with German measles; a wider outbreak of the illness would be just about all they need.
In conclusion: it was cold, but no matter how harsh the weather, nothing could detract from the marvellous good-natured rivalry between the impeccably-mannered young gentlemen of these two proud schools, both on the stands and on the various fields.
Ultimately everybody was a winner on the day, especially rugby.
By Tony Stoops
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