Hat-trick for Monnas

Monument are the Golden Lions Macro Schools league champions after beating Florida 52-13 in the final on Tuesday.

This is the third title in a row for the Krugersdorp school, and the 21st time in 26 years that they have won the league. Their last loss in a final was back in 2008, when Florida beat them.

Tuesday’s win was sweet revenge for the 13-12 loss Monnas suffered at the hands of Florida when they met in a league game back in May.

And the win could not have been more emphatic. Monument outscored their opponents by six tries to one and apart from a nervous first 20 minutes, during which the big Florida pack were on top, there was really just one side in it.

The score was 17-10 to Monument at half time and the turning point came just two minutes into the second half when Monnas eighthman Ruan Steenkamp chased a long kick ahead and put in a huge tackle on the Florida fullback, dislodging the ball, which was snapped up by centre Burger Oodendaal who ran 50m to score. From then on it was a procession of Monument tries, and sound tactical kicking with the wind at his back by flyhalf Marais Schmidt that strangled Florida out of the game.

The Monument locks, Ruan Venter and James Meecham, were outstanding in the forward phases, as were Steenkamp and flanker Tiaan McDonald. They supplied a steady stream of first phase and loose ball and in the end Florida could not plug all the gaps.

The Monument tries were scored by fullback Michael Bean, hooker Rikus van Niekerk, centres Burger Odendaal and Jaco Viljoen, Schmidt and replacement fullback Danie Davel. Schmidt kicked four penalties and five conversions.

Florida scrumhalf Viaan van der Watt was all energy and eightman Fabian Booysen is a strong-hearted player, but they were fighting for a lost cause.

Van der Watt got Florida’s try, converted by flyhalf Jean Vos, who also kicked a penalty.

Monument coach Wynand Moolman said the win meant a lot to the players who were smarting after their earlier loss to Florida.

‘They are our neighbours, and there is a lot of needle between the schools,’ he told Keo.co.za. ‘I think our performance showed we had prepared well for the game and the boys stuck to the game plan. We were definitely fitter than them and it showed.’

Florida now meet Hoerskool Middelburg in play-off game in search of a quarter-final spot in the Beeld Trophy, while Monument go straight through to the quarters, which will be played on 7 August.

By Gauteng correspondent