St Andrew’s continued their impressive winning run but laboured to a 17-3 win over Daniel Pienaar in Grahamstown.
The result was never in doubt, but handling errors and committed defence from DP thwarted the hosts. St Andrew’s were always favourites to claim their eighth consecutive victory, but Daniel Pienaar successfully thwarted the home side at the breakdown, while their defence repeatedly came off the line very quickly.
On a warm and clear day, St Andrew’s would have been upset with the number of dropped passes that ruined many try-scoring opportunities. Fullback Johnny Ford looked dangerous and repeatedly broke the line, but finishing let them down.
The visitors clearly wanted to keep the game tight and used their pack well with the driving maul from the lineout. They also used their one-off runners well, but apart from wing Phillip Solomons, the Daniel Pienaar backs didn’t look dangerous.
Despite St Andrew’s playing most of the game in the opposition 22, the scores were locked at 3-3 after half an hour. Just before half-time flyhalf Dale Austin chipped from a scrum and the ball bounced nicely for centre Ian Herold, who dived over after as his side led 10-3 at the break.
The St Andrew’s pack also adopted a tighter approach in the second stanza to set up the platform, with the Prior twins, lock Grant and No 8 Mark, industrious. Outside centre Geoffrey Toplis scored in the first minute after the break, but thereafter the match lacked the intensity of the opening half.
St Andrew’s have won nine of their 10 matches this season – with their only loss a one-point nail-biter to Bishops – and travel to Port Elizabeth next week to face Grey PE in a match that should determine who the top school in the Eastern Cape is this year.