Tygerberg strengthened their case for inclusion in the WP Premier A League when they smashed SACS 33-0.
Any 1st XV that can hold their own against mighty Paarl Gymnasium and beat Bishops three years in succession deserves top-flight status in Cape schoolboy rugby.
Yet this is not the case for Tygerberg High, because they can’t field 14 or more teams on a day as is the case with the eight schools that make up the Premier A League. But the northern suburbs-based school, currently campaigning in the Premier B League, holds out hope that in the near future (hopefully next season) they will be mixing it with (all) the top eight teams. After watching Tygerberg dismantle A league counterparts SACS with the minimum of effort, Western Province rugby officials (charged with running Cape schools rugby) should take the necessary steps required to promote this proud rugby school.
Three years ago, Gym badly beat Tygerberg and afterwards made a call not to have to play this fixture again. Tygerberg, to their credit, took the beating in their stride and vowed to come back fitter and stronger in their next meeting. What a turnaround it was as they put body on the line to record a brave 12-10 home victory. This was followed on win a third straight win against Bishops to signal Tygerberg’s intention that they were a force to be reckoned with, and worthy of elite status.
The win over SACS was effortless. Five first-half tries backed up by an equally impressive defensive effort in the second half were the hallmarks of their victory over a SACS XV hardly deserving of its current league status based on this year’s performance and in recent years.
Tygerberg, after softening up their opponents in the opening 20 minutes, turned on the charm with first lock Basson van Eyssen crossing over the line, his neat line break inside the SACS’ 22 capitulating him to the try line whilst fending off a couple of half-hearted defenders. Seven minutes later in the 27th minute big, hard-running left wing Travis Ismaiel showed real pace and skill as he ran into a gap for the first of two tries. Fullback Dewald Claassen slotted both conversions to make it 14-0.
SACS seemed mesmerised by the occasion and could do little else but watch on as the scoreboard continued to click over. Tygerberg No 8 Jody Reyneke was the man creating all the havoc, the muscle-bound athlete carrying defenders on his back as he gave his team plenty of front-foot ball and led to the third five-pointer. It was his burst down centre field that opened up the space for right winger Neil Bruwer to pounce on before producing a delicate over-head kick which he collected to score under the posts. The odd scraps of play from SACS never amounted to any sort of structured response pegged by an inability to hold onto the ball under pressure.
Tygerberg’s fourth goal was their finest, forwards and backs combining with neat inter-passing from some distance out before being rounded off by beanpole Western Province Craven Week lock Marvin Orie. Their fifth and final try came in the last minute of a pulsating first period when another poor defensive effort from the visitors saw Ismaiel over for his brace.
SACS played with a lot more heart and commitment in the second half but were unable to string any meaningful passages of play together. The home side will feel they let themselves down by not putting more points on the board. But the way they defended as a unit to deny SACS a point would have been savoured.
‘That was our best first-half performance of the season,’ said winning coach Gavin Beresford. ‘SACS were better proposition late on in the game, but we should have kept the foot on the pedal. But I’m proud of the boys’ committed defensive effort. It was important for us not to give them any points.’
By Mike de Bruyn