Don’t look back in anger!

In the process of winning their maiden Noordvaal premier title (The Virsekerbeker Cup), Menlopark put behind them the title of 1st XV year chokers as well. A Pretoria high school filled with plenty of talented rugby players that achieved so much at junior A-team age-group level and yet unexplainably (well there were a few theories doing the rounds) seemed to fall apart when they became 1st XV seniors. The Parkies 2019 1st XV season seemed to be following a similar pattern of underachievement. Yet somehow during the month of August 2019 they turned a corner and peaked just at the right time to end on the highest possible note. Congrats to the team and coach Dean van der Watt who claimed his third title with this age-group, having lead them to titles as u15A’s and u16’s.

Well done Menlopark!

Almost a year ago to this day, this blog appeared on the site, spelling possible disaster for Menlo in 2019 and beyond.

 

12 Comments

  1. Just to think that only 8 points difference, basically one try and conversion in the game against Monument, made them to go through to the semi finals and eventually winning the cup. It it was not for that 8 points they would not be in the semis and their season would have looked much different.That is how close the Virseker beker cup was this year.

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  2. It was a fantastic final. Helpmekaar had an excellent first half, but Menlo were just too explosive and fast in the second.

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  3. Ben Voster played a smart and skillful game to win their thriller against Eldoraigne. BV’s athleticism, commitment and skillful variation of their play against a heavier pack was astute. But Eldoraigne could have won this one too, and deserve credit for their fight back and heart, coming so so close.
    Some of the moments that stood out for me…
    *the long range try when the BV defender (might have been the left wing) tackled his opponent, then immediately ripped the ball out his hands to sprint down the left touchline for 50-60 meters and score. Fantastic awareness, opportunism, skill, pace and stamina.
    * the upper body strength of the BV flanker with his powerful fend-offs – also supremely fit.
    * the lock (the smaller of the two) who made such destructive, crash-tackles (totally legal) to literally stop attacking moves in their tracks.
    * the hooker who chased a kick for 50-60 meters, out sprinting the backs to score a fantastic try.

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  4. The u15 Cup final – Helpmekaar vs. Monument was interesting and tense. Helpies played with pace, focus and commitment, Monnas came back twice but were basically chasing from the start. I noticed at this level that some ‘star’ players on both sides tried to do too much on their own, ignoring better placed team mates …they’re still young but it shows that teams mustn’t only rely on their ‘stars’, it goes to their heads and they forget they need their team mates.

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  5. I managed to see the last quarter of the Noordheuwel v. HTS Middelburg u16 final. Noordheuwel had their chances to win this, despite the good running and passing skills of HTSM’s backs. Some of the NH backs looked very powerful, I wonder if the 12 should have played in the pack though – maybe loosie?

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  6. Wow Beet thanks for bringing this up again!

    This was the second part of my response to the blog a year ago under the heading “this article is more an advertisement for vultures to prey on Menlo”:

    “If you don’t change things will stay the same … maybe some change is necessary.

    Believe me there is an action plan … it already started!

    The school and kids are more important than any egos!

    All the best to Menlo rugby management you have my support!

    To the Menlo RugbyBoys … the best are yet to come!!”

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  7. @Kaya 85: The BV back you’ve mentioned is Christiaan Smith, headboy of 2019. He went to the SA u18 7’s trials as a wildcard and played himself into that team. Unfortunately, a week before the u18’s tournament in Windhoek he tore a hamstring in BV’s very first game of the season against Centurion, so he was out for most of the season.

    Got back into the team after the July school holidays at exactly the right time – his centre partner, who played a significant role in beating Eldoraigne during the league phase, suffered a season ending injury during Craven week. Smith scored 3 tries in the final, a huge contribution.

    Great player, great person.

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  8. @Kaya 85: would have loved to been there, sounds like you had a nice time.
    I suspect I would have felt like a kid in a candy store…so many exciting games at the same time, what to watch? :-D
    Obviously I wouldn’t miss the Vossie game, and Helpies/ Menlo….but I was also very interested in Pieties / Ligbron game…..and some mouth watering junior games
    Must have been wonderful :-D

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