Jeppe scored two tries in the dying minutes to notch up a 27-6 win over their neighbours, St Benedict’s, on Saturday.
But the game was a lot closer than that for much of the time.
Although the big Jeppe pack dominated in the possession stakes, the team looked over-eager and they made too many mistakes to establish any kind of rhythm. They did score a good first-half try by left wing Sifiso Shabangu, following a full backline move, and another through flanker Kyran Odendaal, after a powerful forward drive, but they left at least two other certain scoring opportunities on the table through handling errors.
St Benedict’s fullback Kyle Hilton kicked two penalties to make it 10-6 to Jeppe at half-time and that was the way it stayed until the 32nd minute when scrumhalf Devin McDermid slotted a penalty to make it 13-10.
In between, St Benedict’s began to win some ball, and at one stage it looked like a breakaway try and an unlikely victory was on the cards for them.
But it was not to be, and Jeppe played their best rugby in the last five minutes of the game. They widened the gap when prop Bonni Syathula gathered a loose ball on the blindside of a ruck and ran 20m down the touchline to score. McDermid converted.
Jeppe went on the attack from the ensuing kick-off and flank Louis Meyer went over next to the posts for another try converted by McDermid. That gave the final scoreline of 27-6 a decidedly lopsided look.
Jeppe coach, Reg Hammond, admitted that he was a relieved man.
‘This team has shown a frustrating tendency to battle against sides that we should be putting away. I think the occasion of a local derby, and the final home game of the season, got the better of them and we never played well,’ he told keo.co.za. ‘Luckily we didn’t leak points and managed to stamp some authority in the end.’