Mopanie win Steinhoff Koshuis Rugby championship

SIMPHIWE NHLABATHI 

Huis Mopanie clinched the 2015 Steinhoff KoshuisRugby (res rugby) Championship title on 13 April. The competition, which consists of the residences that won their respective universities’ res league the preceding year, saw Mopanie cap off an unbeaten season against the University of the Free State’s Vishuis.

Mopanie dominated the opening stages of the match, taking the game to Vishuis and not holding back. They took an early lead through fly-half Dean Alberts with a well taken penalty. The lead was short-lived as Barend Bornman of Vishuis broke through Mopanie’s defence and offloaded the ball to Loek van der Merwe who scored the first try of the match.

 Vishuis extended their lead in the 24th minute when a maul from the five metre line rolled all the way over the line, with Nelius van Heerden being awarded the try. Henco Posthumus secured the conversion.

A few minutes later Mopanie cut the deficit to three points with a scrappy line-out providing the way for Stephan Smith to make a clever break through the Vishuis defence and score an easy try. Alberts had his kicking boots on and slotted another kick home, this time a conversion. Mopanie took the lead later in the half with Paul Kruger crossing the try line after a rolling maul, with Alberts scoring the conversion and a penalty to extend their lead to seven points at the break.

Vishuis came into the second half with the intention to win, dominating both territory and possession in the opening ten minutes. They finally got the breakthrough when Posthumus scored a try and converted it, taking a one point lead.

Alberts handed the lead back to Mopanie a few minutes later with another display of his kicking prowess. Posthumus matched Alberts with the boot when he scored a near-50 metre penalty to hand the Vishuis men another one point lead.

All eyes were on Alberts when he regained the lead by scoring his fourth penalty of the match two minutes later. The result was set in stone when Charl van der Merwe grabbed the win with a try after the final hooter had sounded. Mopanie won the final 29-23.

Alberts, who is also the Sports HK of Mopanie, said, “To play against a team [as good] as Vishuis is never easy and it is mentally tough and hard. [It’s] even harder to go and play [against them] in Bloemfontein. We played the final just like all of our games. We played [the] game plan that we practiced every day and just had to trust each other.” Alberts added that they “motivate each other and learn from one another. Hard work always pays off.”

 

Image: Saspa

 

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