The unofficial national championship game in Bloemfontein lived up to its top billing. On path to winning the tightly contested thriller 28-26, Grey College of Bloemfontein had to change leads with Paul Roos of Stellenbosch no fewer than 8 times.
Early on scoreboard blows are traded as a long shot at goal by Paul Roos (PRG) kicker Kade Wolhuter (10) is replied to by his opposite number Zander du Plessis making it 3-3 after 9 min.
Another holding penalty is kickable but PRG go for the corner this time. A messy lineout results in a maul turnover to Grey.
Grey applies the pressure. By this stage they are the team dominating the ball in hand play, forcing PRG into the 40’s tackle count. The upped tempo results in an offsides penalty and Grey accepts the offer to lead 6-3.
Almost immediately after the kickoff PRG get back on level terms at 6-6 after close to 20min played on the clock.
A good carry by PRG prop Robbie Rodgers (1) after some nifty play down the left touch, as part of a useful ball retention patch eventually ends with a high tackle penalty and the lead is handed back to PRG at 9-6.
Soon after the kickoff, a hand in the ruck means Grey have a chance to balance out the score. They however opt for the lineout but cannot capitalise on their good field position.
Wolhuter’s radar is working perfectly. He gives PRG a 12-6 lead after 28min.
PRG produces an exciting offensive initiated by captain Matthew Cordy (8) and helped by a beaut of an offload by Mink Scharink (3) and then an impro pass by Remy Engelbrecht (15).
From one end to the other, just like that Grey are back in the redzone, via a Greyt kick-chase which ends in an unforced error by PRG. Grey cannot take advantage at first from the setpiece but their willingness to attack with ball in hand, allows them to put the hammer down after a quick tap penalty. It concludes with Werner Gouws (8) doing ever so well to get his arm over a tackle and cross the white chalk for the unconverted opening try of the match just before the break.
The half ends with big Grey wing Marcelle Muller (11) being forced into touch after a threatening carry up the left.
12- 11 to PRG at halftime.
The first real bit of second half excitement is engineered by Grey’s Ross Braude (9) off the blindside of an angled Grey scrum. The nippy scrummy takes off and chips deep ahead into his opposition 22. PRG escapes via an eighth penalty their way.
Following a series of turnovers either way, Grey flyhalf du Plessis once again tests PRG stand-in wing Aiden Salie, who barely stands up to the challenge. Overenthusiasm on their opponents’ goal-line means penalty number 9 against Grey.
A superb carry by lock George Cronje (4) is the main impetus for Grey’s go-forward. The home side swing the ball wide to the right and good hands allows wing Lesley Botha (14) to finish in the right corner. A good conversion and Grey hits the front at 18-12.
PRG strikes back with venom. They give Grey grief on the home team’s tryline. Penalty 11 to PRG, leads to a lineout and the dangerman from short range, Dutch international Mink Scharink is on hand with teammates in support to power over. A good kick and PRG leads 19-18 after 53 min.
With kickoffs generally proving to be a nightmare for the receiving team to retain and consolidate possession from, Grey soon have the ball back and have a bash, only to be undone by a turnover. The navy blues however don’t surrender the field position and their relentlessly pressure culminates in a short pass to George Cronje who cruises in. 25-19 to Grey after 58 min.
Grey takes the ball back into their 22 before kicking directly out. A rolling maul followed by a jink run by Wolhuter takes PRG right to the line. Here another penalty, tap and go, backed by effective pick and go play sees Robbie Rodgers cross the line. 26-25 to PRG.
In the 64th minute, a PRG player is trapped in a not rolling away position at a ruck. A straight kick for du Plessis puts Grey up 28-26 in the classic.
A forward pass by Grey near the halfway line with a minute left to play presents PRG with a final chance to have a say on the scoreboard.
With time almost up, PRG attack after their scrum and get to the 22 but the tackled ball ends in an unplayable situation and the referee brings a memorable match to an end.
Grey wins, remains unbeaten and claims the national number –1 ranking for the first time since 2014.
It’s Paul Roos’ first defeat of the season, denying them the right to be the national number-1 team or from going down in history as the first unbeaten team from the Stellenbosch school in over two decades.
Remarkably Grey win every single rugby match on the day.
2018 STARTING LINE-UPS
|GREY COLLEGE 2018||PAUL ROOS 2018|
|1||Jan-Henrik Wessels||1||Robbie Rodgers|
|2||Andre-Hugo Venter||2||Jan Corrick van der Walt|
|3||Roux Duvenhage||3||Mink Scharink|
|4||George Cronje||4||Joahnn Bouwer|
|5||Danwich Beukes||5||Daniel Swart|
|6||Raynardo Gouveia||6||Jarod Cairns|
|7||WJ Steenkamp||7||Herman Heins|
|8||Werner Gouws||8||Matthew Cody|
|9||Ross Braude||9||Xander Botha|
|10||Zander du Plessis||10||Kade Wolhuter|
|11||Lesley Botha||11||Tiaan Pretorius|
|12||Franco Smith||12||Ruben Labuschagne|
|13||Ian Small-Smith||13||Regan van der Westhuizen|
|14||Marcelle Muller||14||Aiden Salie|
|15||Richard Kriel||15||Remy Engelbrecht|
|AWAY – SA SCHOOLS||AWAY – SA SCHOOLS|
|3||Herman Agenbag||2||JJ Kotze|
|7||De Wet Marais||3||Hanru Jacobs|
|13||Wyclef Vlitoor||10||Juan Mostert|
INTERSCHOOLS RUGBY SCORES
GREY COLLEGE – unbeaten teams since 1950
POINTS ACCUMULATION ROAD TO THE TOP OF THE 2018 RANKINGS