Monnas win ‘Wit Bulle’ battle

Monument beat Affies 42-38 on Saturday to claim the bragging rights as the top side in Gauteng this year.

The Krugersdorp school have now won this fixture twice in a row and have not lost to Affies since 2003 (the sides drew in 2008). The results silence criticism that Monument’s Beeld Trophy and NuPower Tuks titles are worthless in the absence of Affies’ participation in those competitions.

The foundation for Saturday’s victory was laid in the forwards where the Monnas pack stood its ground, particularly in the lineouts where locks Paul Willemse and Ruan Venter did well to disrupt the much-vaunted Affies unit.

Both sides played their characteristic open running rugby, which made for an attractive game with nine tries in all.

Monnas scored through right wing Deon Fitchett, lock Paul Willemse, fullback Shaun Conradie, centre Jaco Viljoen and hooker Rikus van Niekerk. Captain and flyhalf Marais Schmidt had a great day with the boot, kicking three penalties and four conversions.

His Affies counterpart, Warren Gilbert, was as effective. He slotted four penalties and three conversions. The Affies tries were scored by fullback Tiaan Putter (two), wing WJ Strydom and hooker Pepler Stander.

Eyebrows were raised last week at the inclusion of 10 Monument players in the Golden Lions preliminary Craven Week squad, including six in the forwards. Saturday’s performance against a side that will make up most of the Blue Bulls team showed why this is the case.

Monument coach Wynand Moolman told keo.co.za that while their forwards more than matched Affies up front, he was pleased with the performance of their backs.

‘Our backline really clicked for the first time this year and we moved the ball well, keeping the big Affies pack on the move, that’s what did it for us in the end,’ he said.