By Dries Badenhorst – Curro Durbanville’s u19A team made a positive start to their 2017 campaign when they convincingly beat Northpine High School 50 – 0, this past Saturday.
The Game took place at Brackenfell Rugby Club and formed part of Brackenfell’s successful Rugby Festival.
I have been next to the rugby fields of Curro Durbanville for the past three years and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of rugby that these u19’s produced. Especially if you consider that it was the 1st game of the season.
I am not proclaiming that the team is world beaters – in fact they will never be with the limited player resources that they have to their disposal. What I am saying is that with only 22 players in their entire squad, it was satisfying to see how a few boys can pull together and play their hearts out, with skill and accuracy, so early in the season. Credit must go to their coaches, Dewald Kruger and Janus Benade, for what they’ve achieved with such a small group and in such a short space of time.
The foundation for the victory was laid by the dominance that Curro enforced in the first phases. Bladyn Cambell (prop), Micheal Traut (hooker) and Kevin Barnard (prop) destroyed the gearbox of the Northpine scrum as they forced them to reverse gear – scrum after scrum. These three players were also prominent in general play and can, as a unit, feel very happy with their performances. The lineouts followed a similar pattern.
Jordan Siems (lock), Kyle van Greunen (flank), Nicholas Cameron (flank) and Joshua Sadie (eighth man) were brilliant in general play on both defence and attack. It was not just the regularity of crossing the advantage line that impressed me, it was also the way they linked and offloaded to the backline. In saying that, I thought that they lost a bit of their structure when it came to protecting their possession at the breakdowns. It was only at this segment of the match that Northpine managed to contest and turn over possession.
The frustration, caused by wave after wave of attack and scraps of possession, grew steadily in the Northpine team and led to numerous penalties. Their discipline imploded completely and eventually led to the referee taking action with the yellow card.
Curro’s backline was full of running with captain, Johan Coetzen, and Israel Israfeel breaking the line and creating opportunities with regularity. Johan, whom still played as a loose forward last year, was particularly impressive in his new position and more than looked the part. Israfeel improved on his skills of last year when he tended to go dead with the ball, every time he got it. He not only offloaded to support regularly, but also distributed the ball magnificently off first phase moves. His defence was also brilliant.
Theo van Eeden and Tristan Brink, whom came off the bench late in the second half had a massive impact. TB crushed all thoughts of relief that Northpine’s forwards might have had when he replaced one of the props. One wonders how good this young man will be if he can reach the fitness levels required to play a full match.
Theo was a beast on defence and attack. He put in some bone crunching tackles and also managed to cross the advantage line with ease. But like TB, he still lacks the fitness to compete for an entire match.
On the negative I thought that the halfbacks were a bit predictable. Neither Brandan Botha nor Marno Stander really varied their play. They were industrious at best but lacked a bit of imagination on attack. Although they did nothing wrong, they just did not provide that X Factor that I expected with so much possession and in such an unstructured match. The blind side was never really attacked and thus led to lost opportunities for the wings, Hanre Steynberg and Kealen Laymar.
I also thought that Migual Andrade, whom linked nicely into the backline, missed too many opportunities to offload to support in open spaces. He is however a talented rugby player whom can play in any of the seven backline positions. I think it will be a good thing if he can be given time in one position and have the opportunity to specialise.
Saying all this, it was the first match and I am sure that all these issues will be addressed and improved on as the season progress.
I think the coaches will be happy with the performance. It is always nice to start a season with a victory. I do however know that both Dewald and Janus will view this victory in the context of the match and the opposition. They are both competitive coaches whom strive for that perfect game.