Twice a year, the Southern Suburbs seem to come to a halt as locals flock to watch two of the Western Cape’s greatest rivals – Rondebosch Boys High School and Diocesan College (Bishops) – take each other on. There is an importance to this fixture for both schools and often times a season is considered incomplete if both matches of this derby are not won. The importance of the day – for both schoolboy and parent – is often times made ever clearer my the tension which lingers in the air throughout the day. This past Saturday was the 176th time that the two schools – only a couple hundred metres apart – met each other on the rugby field and Bishops found themselves comfortable winners at the end of it.
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Look at the score and still believe that Rondebosch could have won the match. They had the majority of possession and territory but Bishops – as Bishops can – would suddenly score tries, most of them spectacular. There is something bewildering about the way they play. They have no numbers, as is their wont in the pious belief that it is a team game, and forwards look and play like backs so that it is hard to know who is doing what but if you don’t get them early they can mesmerize you.
Their first try looked so easy. They had a scrum on their left near the half-way line and passed to the right where Keenan Jacobs had an overlap. Challenged he chipped with his left foot and won the race for the ball, scoring just before the dead-ball line on the southern end of the ground. Inside centre Cornel Smit converted from far out. 7-0 after 6 minutes.
Rondebosch attacked and powerful Zain Davids got close from a line-out but Bishops ran from behind their goal-line and got a long way out of trouble.
Rondebosch camped in Bishops territory but in their own 22 Bishops won a Rondebosch line-out on their right and went left. Fullback Jesse Wilensky, a brilliant substitute for the Bishops captain Gerard Pieterse, had a long run before giving to left wing André Manuel who scored. 14-0 after 21 minutes.
Rondebosch made headway with pick-‘n-go but were penalised three metres from the Bishops line. Bishops tapped and ran.
An intercept try is always exciting, heart-breaking though it is for the team conceding it. There were two intercept tries in this match.
Rondebosch were in the Bishops half and their backs were moving left when suddenly Keenan Jacobs intercepted and raced away, swerving around a defender to score a brilliant try, 21-0, which was the half-time score.
Rondebosch were certainly trying to score tries and were enterprising; they just lacked the vision and skilful execution of their opponents.
Early in the second half Rondebosch had a penalty in front of the posts and opted for a line-out. In fact neither team aimed a penalty at posts in this match.
Rondebosch were hot on the attack, five metres from the Bishops line when burly flank Mervano da Silva broke away with the ball. On and on he ran till he was tackled by Riley Louw and Amani Minani near the Rondebosch line but André Manuel was on hand to take a pop pass and give it to Keenan Jacobs who scored his third try of the match. 28-0.
From the kick-off fullback Jesse Willensky went on a long run down the left. Hemmed in he passed inside to centre Justin Heunis who scored. The conversion was just away. 33-0 after 42 minutes.
Bishops won a tighthead five metres from the Rondebosch line and battered at the line till prop William Day scored. 40-0.
Bishops came back on the attack with flank Mervano da Silva and eighthman Saud Abrahams prominent to give Keenan Jacobs his fourth try. 47-0.
Rondebosch were well inside the Bishops 22 but it was a Bishops line-out. The throw went over the top and Zain Davids grabbed it and headed for the line. Tackled he offloaded perfectly to Jamie King on his inside and the replacement flank scored at the posts. Scrumhalf Mark Thompson converted. 47-7 with 11 minutes to play.
Anything loosehead William Day can do, tighthead JP Smith can do. He took a pass from a tackle/ruck and ran some 20 metres to score as two defenders tries to stop him. 52-7.
Rondebosch, trying to the end, had the last say when substitute flank Sean Botha intercepted an inside pass just inside the Bishops half and raced through empty acres to score at the posts. Riley Louw converted.
There were just two minutes to play and that ended the scoring at 52-14.
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You stay classy,