The South African College High School (SACS) travelled out to Durbanville on Saturday well aware of the challenge that lay before them against a talented and well coached Stellenberg team. It was always going to be a challenging morning and the visitors had to dig deep for their 38-23 victory.
It was highly entertaining game in which the lead changed seven times. SACS started well and built some good passages of play to earn two penalties and go six points clear. Stellenberg struck back with a drop goal from flyhalf Armand de Ridder after fifteen minutes. Having had secured a penalty advantage when SACS collapsed a maul Stelleneberg decided to take the drop goal instead. Stellenberg scored directly from the kickoff to take an 8-6 lead. They broke through the SACS chase line and spun the ball wide for captain Malan Roode to score a lovely long-range try.
Five minutes later SACS gathered an errant chip from Stellenberg and went back onto the attack. Centre Richard Rodgers crashing over after a couple of phases to see SACS back in the lead at 13-8. Stellenberg scored a brilliant set-piece try on the half-hourwhen they executed a move from a lineout and went through the heart of the SACS defence. Two deft offloads later and Roode was in for his second, which was converted by fullback Tiaan Swanepoel.
SACS took the lead 16-15 again on the stroke of halt-time when Shane Fourie converted his third penalty.
Playing into a stiff breeze in the second half SACS were up against it and had to deal with early pressure from the hosts. Swanepoel using his massive boot to play for territory as well as regularly striking booming up-and-unders to test the visitors resolve. When SACS eventually got out of their half they secured another penalty which Fourie converted.
Stellenberg stole a SACS lineout soon after and took advantage of some poor first time tackling to retake the lead. Swanepoel scoring but failing to converted his own try. As SACS were forced to run the ball back into the wind they conceded another penalty which Swanepoel was successful with to see Stellenberg take the lead for the last time, 23-19.
With ten minutes to go SACS had a lineout inside the Stellenberg quarter which they won and mauled over to take a slender one point lead. SACS worked their way back up field and hooker Travis Raa charged down an attempted box-kick which SACS secured and drove over for a match clinching score. To add to the hosts heartbreak wing Damian Rawstorne produced a moment of brilliance on the final hooter to see SACS extend their lead even further.
The final score flattered SACS as it was a hard fought contest but having weathered a determined onslaught SACS deserve credit for their maturity and composure in trying circumstances.
Tries: Malan Roode (2) Tiaan Swanepoel
Drop Goal: Armand de Ridder
Tries: Devon Barnard (2), Richard Rodgers, Damian Rawstorne
Conversions: Shane Fourie (3)
Penalties: Fourie (4)