Jeppe defeated KES 17-13 for the first time in eight years at Collard field in Kensington on Saturday.
After an error-riddled first half KES held a slender 6-5 lead at the break. Industrious KES scrumhalf Ruan van Rensburg kicked a monster 52m penalty in the first minute, after which Jeppe dominated the half but battled to turn their surplus of territory and possession into points.
Jeppe eventually broke the deadlock and got the first try of the game after skillful centre Ricci Matteucci produced a sublime offload, threading his pass through two defenders to winger Sifiso Sibangu who crashed over in the corner. Devan McDermid, who had a mixed bag with his goal kicking, missed the conversion to give the hosts a 5-3 lead after 21 minutes.
KES replied as Van Rensburg calmly stepped up and thumped the penalty through the uprights for a 6-5 lead at half-time.
The second half started much the same as the first with some scrappy play until Jeppe produced the all important score from a 22m restart. After seven phases winger Shabangu strolled over after another well timed pass from Matteucci. This time McDermid nailed a vital touchline conversion to give the hosts a 12-6 lead after 10 minutes in the second half.
KES’ decision-making was poor and twice in the space of six minutes the visitors chose to tap and go in favour of easy kicking opportunities for poles. This effectively cost the visitors the game. Jeppe managed to turn the ball over and played the game in the opposition’s half, a tactic that paid dividends when they crossed the tryline for what turned out to be the match-winning score.
The ball was spread quickly through the hands from a turned over line-out and the hosts fullback Chumi Matsiliza found himself in space. He glided through the KES backs and wrong footed the final line of defence to saunter through and score under the poles. McDermit added the conversion to give the home side a 17-6 lead with 15 minutes to play.
KES struck back immediately when livewire right winger Burt Fraser thundered over the whitewash after a series of attacks close to the host’s goal line with 10 minutes to play. Van Rensburg duly slotted the conversion to leave the score at 17-13 and with the game delicately poised it seemed the momentum had swung the way of the visitors and put them within a try of snatching an unlikely victory.
A pulsating final few minutes ensued as KES attacked vigorously from deep inside their own half, but it was all in vein as simple handling errors and a stoic defensive effort from the hosts, in particular loose forwards Arno Vosloo and Kyran Odendaal, denied the visitors victory.
Pandemonium erupted at the sound of the final whistle and the Jeppe players were engulfed by their delirious fans.
For the visitors, prop Gey Domingo dominated his opposite number and was a stand-out among the pack while right winger Burt Fraser showed some neat touches with limited opportunities.
The Jeppe side can thank two-try hero Shabangu for their victory, while the Man of the Match for the Kensington outfit was No 8 Vosloo who had a terrific game in attack and defence.
In another massive schoolboy derby game between traditional rivals Michaelhouse and Hilton, play was abandoned after 30 minutes after a freak thunder storm and a torrential downpour that made the game unplayable. Hilton were leading 7-0 at the time.
Finally, St Andrews produced a shock win at the Graeme Rugby day by defeating Glenwood 20-7.
Jeppe 17 KES 13
Nu-Power Tuks series
Nelspruit 23 Marais Viljoen 17
Jeugland 28 KHS 23
Florida 14 Waterkloof 9
EG Jansen 47 Centurion 14
Eldoraigne 29 Ermelo 12
Middelburg HTS 20 Pietersburg 6
Monnas 30 Kempton Park 17
Transvalia 34 Merensky 14
Michaelhouse 0 Hilton 7 (match abandoned due to bad weather)
Brandwag 48 Cambridge 8
Hudson Park 15 Nico Malan 14
Dale 14 Framesby 7
Selborne 25 Marlow 10
Grey 17 Kingswood 5
St Andrews 20 Glenwood 7
Queen’s 20 Graeme14
Free State/Northern Cape
Grey College vs Duineveld 6
Diamantveld 17 Paarl Gym 21
By Gareth Wright