Monument advanced to the Beeld Trophy semi-finals after beating Kempton Park 28-8 in Krugersdorp on Saturday.
They were made to work hard for the victory, though, and had to do some resolute defending at times, particularly in the second half when Kempton camped on their goal line for long periods.
Kempton Park, who were runners up in the Valke league, are coached by former Monument coach Schalk van der Merwe and his influence was clear in the side’s scrummaging. They took three tightheads in the game and never allowed the home side to mount attacks from this phase of the game.
The opposite happened on the lineouts. Monument’s excellent lock pairing of James Meechum and Ruan Venter dominated there, and together with eighthman Ruan Steenkamp, they seemed capable of winning the ball on the Kempton Park throw in at will.
For all the possession they got, Monnas never really found their attacking rhythm, and although they were comfortable winners in the end, it was their good defence that won this one for them.
Monument were first on the scoreboard when centre Burger Odendaal latched on to a Kempton handling error to go over in the corner for an unconverted try. Kempton hit back through a penalty by centre Wian Lamprecht soon afterwards.
It stayed that way for most of the first half until Monument flyhalf Marais Schmidt slotted two penalties to put his side 11-3 up at the break.
Monument went further ahead early in the second half when centre Jako Viljoen took advantage of another lineout won against the throw and weaved his way through for a try, converted by Schmidt.
Kempton then began to win a lot of the ball, including taking two tightheads, and they launched a series of attacks that were shut out by the Monument defence. They eventually managed to get through when left winger Corne de Villiers went over in the corner to make it 18-8.
Any idea of a comeback was quashed when Schmidt goaled another penalty to take it to 21-8 and the hosts had the last say when winger Chad de Klerk dotted down under the posts at the end of a good backline move.
The Monument coaches, while happy to have gone through, were not altogether satisfied with the performance.
‘It was a dour game,’ coach Schalk Reynders told keo.co.za. ‘It’s been a long season and signs of fatigue are starting to show. We didn’t help matters by having two very hard practices during the week. The spirit is great, though, and we are eagerly waiting to hear who our semi-final opponents will be.’
They will hear early next week who they will meet in the semi-finals next Saturday. It will be the winner of the Nelspruit vs Centurion clash. The Blue Bulls are on top of the rotating venue roster this year, so if Centurion win, the game will be in Midrand, and if Nelspruit go through they will play in Krugersdorp.
By Gauteng correspondent