‘We believed we could win it’

Paarl Gym coach Christoff Lotter says his side beat Paarl Boys’ 22-19 because they stuck to the game plan.

Having experienced a roller-coaster ride of a season, Paarl Gym were determined not to let staunch rivals Boishaai beat them in front of a capacity crowd.

‘As expected, it was a tough encounter,’ Lotter said. ‘We’ve been unfortunate this year and had bad luck in most of our losses. The guys played well and more importantly, they had the belief that they could beat Boishaai – it was important for their confidence.’

Paarl Gym went into this derby as the underdogs having played 21 games this year, winning 14 and losing seven, while Boishaai had played 18 matches and lost just one.

The match was tightly contested and the scores reflected the intensity of this derby as the teams went into the break with Boishaai leading 9-8.

‘We made a jittery start; it was tough out there but everything changed when fullback Handre Pollard kicked a 43m drop goal,’ said Lotter. ‘We gave the ball away too easily. But at half-time, I told the players if they could string two phases together then we would win the game. And as I said before, whoever wants to win this derby the most, wins it – and we played out of our skin to win it.

‘I was really concerned at how we lost the ball, but I’m delighted at the way the players responded by sticking to what I told them,’ Lotter added. ‘After Boishaai scored their first try, we got stuck into them – we didn’t allow them to play at all and played our way back into the game by rectifying our mistakes.’

Pollard was the catalyst for his side’s victory, kicking 12 points.

By Soyiso Maliti