The Steinhoff International FNB Rhodes Internal Rugby League got off to an explosive start on Friday night at Great Field with three cracking games unfolding – one of which was called off early after tensions spilled over.
Referee Chesley Daniels brought the game between Dream and Troopers to a halt in the 29th minute of the second half after having clashed with Troopers players and staff. When the fixture was called off, Dream were 10-0 ahead after two unconverted tries.
In the other 6 pm kick-off, Heathens got their title defence off to a solid start – beating Phoenix 13-5 through tries from Nic Butler and Jason Potgieter, with Duane Brown nailing one conversion. (Under tournament rules, conversions are worth three points.)
The Hill were scheduled to face Makhulu Blues at 7:15 pm, but the game did not take place due to the latter’s failure to field a team. Daniels, who serves as the Appointing Officer of EP Referees confirmed that The Hill were awarded a 32-0 victory by default.
In the other late kick-off, GTN beat Founders 39-29 in an enthralling spectacle for the supporters – who had, by this time, turned up in numbers.
On Tuesday, Troopers and Founders will each have a chance to redeem themselves as they clash at 6 pm, while GTN will face Makhulu Blues at the same time. In the 7:15 pm games, Dream face off against Heathens and Phoenix face The Hill.
After an action-packed first round of fixtures, the competing teams will look to put on a seemingly entertaining spectacle for round two. Despite the games falling in the middle of an academic week, they will hope that they can once again bring in a large crowd to cheer them on.