By CHESLEY DANIELS
Grahamstown Brumbies Rugby Club travelled to Kirkwood on Saturday in a friendly encounter. Brumbies 1st XV ran out 24-22 winners, while Kirkwood 1st Reserves won 27-0.
The 1st XV encounter provided some exciting and competitive running rugby. The game was very tough and intense, with both sides confronting each other with their physicality. The home side went into the game as favourites and was full of confidence after their upset 44-33 win over Gardens in Uitenhage in a friendly encounter two weeks ago. But Saturday proved a different ball game with the young, exciting Brumbies side turning up with only one thing on their minds, to win and did so in grand style. The first half was a very close contest and evenly matched, with Brumbies dominating the lineouts and their young, speedy backs providing some exciting spark on attack. Young speedster and winger Nicklon Williams and Sheldon Nelson scored in the first half for Brumbies, as they took a narrow 12-10 lead at the break.
The second half saw Kirkwood launching a comeback and playing a more structural game plan. Brumbies also had a lot of scoring opportunities and couldn’t finish off. They also opted to kick for the corners instead of taking the kickable penalties for the post. When taking the game upfront, Kirkwood forwards put in some good yards and disrupted the Brumbies upfront. Brumbies then spread the ball out wide and proved very dangerous and effective on attack. Further tries in the second half came from Chadwil Jegels and Nolan Soyes. In the end, Brumbies could have scored more points, but enforced errors prevented them from scoring, as they ran out deserved 24-22 winners.
Brumbies Head Coach Ricardo Abrahams was very impressed with his side’s win away from home and pointed out that the score was deceiving. “There were kickable penalties that we kick to corners for lineouts, and we also missed a lot of scoring opportunities. The finishing we need to focus on when we are in the opposition’s 22m area, few rewards for us when we are there, although we scored four tries. We can improve in all areas and looking forward to the season with the young squad in the Club.” He said.