By CHESLEY DANIELS
Trying Stars 1st XV kick off their Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) Grand Challenge Group C fixture campaign with a comprehensive 39-7 bonus-point win over Kwaru from Gheberha on Saturday at the Wetzel Park Sports Ground in Alexandria.
Stars came from a Super 14 Competition where they failed to make it to the playoffs, while Kwaru were also involved in preseason fixtures and events. Both teams were hungry, but with almost half-capacity rugby, they battled in front of the large crowd in Alexandria.
Stars dominated the line outs and used their speedy backline to crack the Kwaru defence on attack. The scrums were evenly matched as both teams struggled a bit at the set piece, each team settling to win their own scrums. Stars played their favourite style by speeding up the game and running at every opportunity. That yielded dividends as the heavier forwards of Kwaru got tired and scoring opportunities became easier.
There were plenty of handling errors as both teams were impatient and over-eager at times.
Stars scored first, but Kwaru replied immediately from the kick-off as a bad communication lapse resulted in a favourable bounce for the home side. Stars’ skilful backs ran with great confidence thanks to some hard work done in front by their mobile forwards, who laid a perfect foundation. The first half was pure dominance from the home side as they entered a healthy 22-7 lead at the changeover.
The second half saw the home side add 17 unanswered points, running riot over a helpless and tired Kwaru side. Despite the humidity, the home side continued to entertain their faithful fans with salubrious running rugby.
The Grocott’s Mail Sport Man of the Match went to Sipho Bloko, who was fantastic at eighth man and enjoyed a great game.
Trying Stars Points
Tries: Garth Oosthuizen (x2), Flinn Cannon (x2), Melikhaya Koopman, Sipho Bloko, Kelvano King
Conversions: Kelvano King, Brendan Coetzer
Stars Head coach Alan Cannon was very impressed with his side’s dominant win but is not entirely happy with a few things that went wrong in the game. He believes the scores should be much bigger and pointed out the missed opportunities.
“There were many handling errors, and we gave away a try due to bad communication errors from the boys. I am happy with how we contested upfront in the scrums and the lineouts, where we dominated. We should work to be more clinical and take the chances afforded to us. We will have to work harder at training, and this week we will play away to rectify that,” he said.