By CHANEEZ SIAS
The sunny skies of Saturday 5 May witnessed massive support at the Oval as spectators were eager to see the Brumbies side go head to head with Gardens from Uitenhage in their Grand Challenge Cup fixture. After both the second and first reserve matches saw Gardens victorious, by 10-13 and 15-33 respectively, the 1st XV sides took to the field.
The first half saw both teams throw away good opportunities early on. Neither team were able to make solid ground in the opening 15 minutes, as they failed to implement their passing game to full effect. The visiting side, however, managed to capitalise on the Brumbies’ mistakes and poor defence, running in four tries (three of which were converted), and two penalties. By contrast, the home side only managed to secure two penalties through the boot of Vincent Mains. This meant that the Brumbies went into half time trailing by 32-6.
After a much needed team talk, the Brumbies side came back onto the field with a renewed confidence and better team cohesion. Gardens maintained their fantastic team work, however the Brumbies more consistent defence made it more difficult for the visitors to cross the try line like they had in the first half.
Eventually, the Brumbies managed to secure three tries, only one of which were converted. However, it was too little too late for the home side. Gardens managed to score four tries of their own in the second half, with three conversions, taking the visitors out to a commanding lead. This left the home side reeling at the end of a colossal 58-23 defeat.
Despite their improvement in their general play in the second half, the Brumbies were outshone by a better team on the day. Gardens looked dominant throughout the day, and managed to take home three wins from three.