Bishops made it a first-round clean sweep over their traditional southern suburbs rivals with a comfortable 38-10 win over arch rivals Rondebosch.
Following up on wins over SACS (46-17) and Wynberg (38-20), visiting Bishops came into this eagerly awaited derby determined to play rugby at full pace and to confirm their status as the third best XV in the land, and they never disappointed as they outclassed a game Bosch side with a brand of 15-man rugby they have become famous for.
From the moment they opened their account in the second minute with a soft try, to the very end, there was only one team in it as the Bishops boys set about controlling every aspect of play on a day when the packed crowd in attendance would have had no qualms as to who the best team was.
Credit to Bosch for never giving up, but they will concede they were totally outgunned by their neighbours, who were too sharp, too quick and too skilled for them. And while the home side showed commitment and passion for the cause, their handling and first-time tackling played a big part in nullifying any real threat of putting pressure on the visitors tryline, only on a couple of occasions getting anywhere near to threaten with a score but did manage to dot down late in the second-half to bring a touch of respectability to the final outcome.
But Bishops, when they are in full flow, are an awesome unit, the interplay between backs and forwards breathtaking in open play, the slickness among backs in spreading the ball and creating angles from which to attack from, a sign of a team confident in their own abilities. Credit must go to the coaching staff led by Dave Mallett, a shrewd coach and one who always gives his players licence to thrill when in possession of the ball, always keen to bury the kicking game in favour of spreading it the length of the field no matter from where.
‘We came here to play our brand of rugby and we achieved it,’ said Mallet. ‘The boys were responded to the occasion in front of a packed crowd with a brand of complete rugby for which they can be proud of.’
Outgoing Bosch coach Shaun Friedenthal was gracious in defeat: ‘We gave it our best shot, but Bishops were far too good for us. We weren’t in it in the first half but had some promising moments in the second 35 minutes, but too many silly handling errors and not being able to get any phases rounded off dented our hopes.’
Bishops needed only a couple of minutes to put their first points on the board as a harmless kick downfield to relief pressure ended in a try as Bosch left winger Keenin Kleinsmith failed in his attempt to control the bouncing and quick to pounce was nippy right winger Liam Peterson for his first of two tries. Fullback Timothy Swiel had his kicking boots on as he landed the conversion and the four to follow and a penalty in a perfect kicking display for a haul of 15 points.
Bishops got their second try in the 17th minute, some solid play from the forwards in retaining possession and gaining yards towards the try-line through several driving mauls ending with scrumhalf Guy Whitfield diving over from the back of one. Bosch’s only points of the half came via a penalty from the boot of Kleinsmith in an opening 35 minutes where handling among forwards hovering in the backline in a bid to break the stout defensive efforts of the visitors never coming close to paying off.
Bishops turned on the charm in the second period and nailed home three wonderful tries to one against, the ball retention skills ands angled running something to behold. The third try was the work of talented flyhalf Dillyn Leyds, a linebreak and in-step opening a path towards goal for centre Paul Kuiper on hand to finish off under the poles. Peterson then went over for his second five-pointer in the 24th minute after a solid run into space by fullback Swiel before some reward went the way of a superior pack of forwards when loosehead prop Willem Gresse crossed over just on full time, to round off a rousing victory. Bosch, although outclassed, did themselves proud with a consolation try scored by Nicholas Roebeck.
By Mike de Bruyn (Weekend Argus)