There’s an old adage in rugby that an ugly win is always preferable to a pretty loss.
This will probably be the exact thoughts of the Affies’ coaches, Ruan Jacobs and Jaco Koch, after their charges were made to work extremely hard for their 19-13 win over a highly motivated King Edvard VII outfit in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The Red Army started the match like a house on fire and soon went into a 6-0 lead after two successful penalties. Affies narrowed the lead with a try from a driving maul, but for the rest of the first half, most of the play was made by the gallant home team.
The Wit Bulle never really got going and they made countless uncharacteristic handling errors. To add to their frustration, they conceded various penalties in this half.
The Reds scored the try of the match from a deft chip kick which had the Affies’ defence all at sea, and this gave the hosts a 13-5 lead at halftime.
In the second half, the gutsy home team continued denying the visitors the momentum that they craved. Affies narrowed the deficit to a single point after another well-worked driving maul, and it looked as if the Pretoria side was starting to gain some ascendancy.
When in the 47th minute, pivot Stehan Heymans missed an easy penalty, which would have given the Wit Bulle the lead, the home crowd must have started believing that the rugby gods were smiling on the Red Army.
Affies were, however, not to be denied. They grabbed the lead for the first time in the 60th minute after a slick backline move. Heymans slotted the conversion, and the Affies faithful could breathe a collective sigh of relief.
The home team deserves all the kudos for a spirited performance. Affies, in contrast, will not be happy with their showing. This may serve as a timeous warning call before they tackle the Grey College juggernaut next weekend.
It will be harsh to single out players in a fine team effort by KES. Their flyhalf, Tirhani Masondo, showed much promise, while number eight Kamohelo Molefe, was all over the park.
For the visitors, eighthman, Dieter Schubert once again proved his worth.
PHOTO: William Brown Photography
Affies 19 (5) – Tries: Hanro Venter (2), Gustav Maritz. Conversions: Heymans (2). King Edward VII 13 (13) – Tries: Kabelo Tekane. Conversion: Tirhani Masondo. Penalties: Julio Cardoso, Masondo.