Monument's Wit Bulle eased past the Candies of Pretoria Boys' High by 54-7 in their first encounter since 1998 on Saturday. However, It wasn't as easy as the scoreline suggests as Pretoria Boys' High put up a valiant effort against a much bigger and polished unit.
At half-time at Brooks Field in Pretoria, the visitors enjoyed a handsome lead of 21-0 but the coaches of Pretoria Boys' High would've given each other worried looks earlier on as Monnas scored their opening try via fullback, Alec Vermaak, within 38 seconds from the kick-off. The Candies managed to compose themselves after this early shock and put more of a fight as the match progressed.
The last time these two schools met in 1998 was during the St John's College Easter Festival with Monnas running rampant with a 61-0 victory. Their only other encounter was in 1996 when Monnas had to work quite a bit harder for a 30-27 victory against a Pretoria Boys' High side that included John Smit.
Monnas' flanker Evan Retief enjoyed the physical aspect of the encounter and also managed to complete a hat-trick of tries. Retief was on the forefront in defence and carrying the ball up for the visitors. Eightman, Tiaan Wessels, was also a monster on defence with some bone-crunching tackles stopping Pretoria Boys' High in their tracks.
In the frontrow S'fiso Magwaza playing on the loosehead side also had a solid performance. He scrummed well and managed to put in a couple of carries that got Monnas over the advantage line. He later moved to tighhead, but it seems that he has a much better impact on the other side of the scrum. Monnas' hooker, Jaco Bezuidenhout, also deserves a mention for a solid performance.
The moment of the match came in the second half after Pretoria Boys' High has spent some time on the visitors' tryline but just couldn't find a way through. It even included a tighthead at scrumtime. Monnas turned possession over at a ruck two phases down the line thank to replacement prop, Jan-Hendrik Bessinger. Their inside centre, Enrich Bulow, found a gap in the defence from within his side's own goal area and advanced to almost the 50m mark.
A pass went awry a bit, but the scrumhalf, Deon-Divan Groenewald, cleaned up and got past a couple of defenders before putting Arie van der Walt away to score a try that started in his side's own in-goal area.
Pretoria Boys' High's lock Lilitha Matsiliza had a good game amongst the front rankers. The home side had more than enough opportunities to score tries. If they face more opponents of the stature of Monnas they would become used to punching much higher than their weight class.
They have definitely done so for a couple of minutes in intervals on Saturday against Monnas. This would've been great preparation for the Candies as they will face Affies this coming Saturday in their annual clash. Affies suffered a surprise 10-18 defeat against King Edward VII on Saturday.
Monument 54 (21) - Tries: Evan Retief (3), Alec Vermaak, Tiaan Wessels, Waldo van den Berg, Brian Biachana, Arei van der Walt, Dylan du Plessis. Conversions: Vermaak (5), Conrad Sevenster (2). Pretoria Boys' High 7 (0) - Try: 21. Conversion: 15.