South Western Districts were very impressive in their 40 – 14 triumph over Eastern Province on day four at the Coca-Cola Craven Week.
There was a bizarre selection by EP with their lock Stephan Ebersohn playing at tighthead prop! Eastern Province also struggling with the loss of their skipper CJ Velleman after the impressive openside flank tore his AC joint against Free State on Tuesday.
There was a scrappy, nervy start tot he match as neither side protected the ball effectively at the breakdown, with SWD captain Geor Malan having a field day at the breakdown early on.
The match burst into life after EP wing Keanu Vers intercepted a pass and speed away towards the corner only for some brilliant cover defence from Dewald Human to force him into touch. Anru Botha was spotted by the referee’s assistant for punching and was lucky to get away with only a yellow card.
SWD made their numerical advantage count almost immediately as Duhan van der Merwe arrived at a ruck to play scrumhalf and burst round the blindside. His size and speed was too much for a weak tackle effort from Luciano Daniels. Van der Merwe in for the opening try. Dewald Human added the conversion to take a seven point lead.
Eastern Province showed some attacking flair from their backs, but were just unable to protect the ball in contact. From a turnover the ball went out to SWD fullback Hennie Barnard and his chip kick was chased by Duhan van der Merwe. The flying wing again with too much speed for the EP cover defence to contend with and he was in for the try.
SWD enjoying a 14 – 0 lead at the half-time break.
SWD made a fantastic start to the second half following a great passage of play, taking them through several phases. From the strike zone Dewald Human drifted a little and then delivered an excellent flat pass to lock Donovan van den Berg who was steaming in on the angle and in for the try.
Eastern Province began to fight back after some great work by the forwards to drive them towards the SWD 22m line. A short pass to No.8 Martin Groenewald work to great effect as he crashed into a wall of defenders, but kept the momentum going forward. A pick and go from prop Erich de Jager did the trick and the big lad was in for the try. Ernst Stapelberg added the conversion and it was 7 points to 21 after 45 minutes.
After finding their way into the EP 22m line SWD made the most of an attacking opportunity once again. Brendon Haas went on a charging crash-ball run and the hooker drove over the line for try.
SWD were at it again as Dewald Human broke down the blindside and stepped past a tackler before off-loading to Douw Schoeman. The strong centre was dragged to ground just short of the line and the first man to arrive was flank Benjamin Jansen van Vuuren, attacked round the fringe with a stretch to score a try. Human continued his perfect afternoon making it five conversions from five and a lead of 28 points.
EP were desperate for some points and some reward for all their hard work and took a quick tap from a penalty inside the SWD 22m. Replacement flank Johann van Niekerk picked up from the base and was able to force his way over the line from close range for a try.
SWD continued to look very dangerous in open play and as they recycled the ball quickly there was time for Remu Malan to find some space and put JP Coetzee into a gap to score a well orchestrated try. The final act of the match was the conversion attempt from Dewald Human, who missed his kick for the first time in the match.
Full time: EP 14 – 40 SWD
Man of the Match: Eastern Province’s flyhalf Ernst Stapelberg was quality kicking out of hand and carrying the ball up strongly. SWD centre Douw Schoeman had a very strong outing in the midfield, straightening the line efficiently. Fullback Hennie Barnard also had a very productive afternoon joining the line to great reward on occasion, while flyhalf Dewald Human controlled proceedings brilliant from 10. However, the size, speed and pace of Duhan van der Merwe caught the attention and his brace of tries wins him the man of the match award.
Tries: Erich de Jager, Johann van Niekerk
Cons: Ernst Stapelberg 2
Yellow card: Anru Botha (punching)
Tries: Duhan van der Merwe 2, Donovan van den Berg, Brendon Haas, Benjamin Jansen van Vuuren, JP Coetzee
Cons: Dewald Human 5
Eastern Province: 15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 Dylan Vermaak, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Luan Nieuwoudt (Vice Captain), 11 Keanu Vers, 10 Ernst Stapelberg, 9 Luciano Daniels, 8 Martin Groenewald, 7 Morney Moos, 6 Bathandwa Cafu, 5 Anru Botha, 4 Elandre van der Merwe, 3 Stephan Ebersohn, 2 Justin Antonie, 1 Kaden Prince.
Replacements: 16 Arno Lotter, 17 Jody Bambie, 18 Erich de Jager, 19 Johann van Niekerk, 20 Matthew Alborough, 21 Siya Lawu, 22 Renald King.
South Western Districts: 15 Hennie Barnard, 14 Lorenzo Gordon, 13 Gene Willemse, 12 Douw Schoeman, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Dewald Human, 9 Remu Malan, 8 Dian Koen, 7 Benjamin Jansen van Vuuren, 6 Geor Malan, 5 Eduard Zandberg, 4 Donovan van den Berg, 3 Stefan Grundlingh, 2 Brendon Haas, 1 Nemo Roelofse.
Replacements: 16 Marne Botha, 17 Juandre Digue, 18 Anton Smit, 19 Daniel Maree, 20 Maurice White, 21 Jayden Onkers, 22 JP Coetzee.
Source: School Sports News