By Chesley Daniels
After trailing 6-13 at halftime, Lily White 1st XV came back strongly to upset Swallows to a 26-18
defeat in their friendly preseason encounter at the Oval on Saturday.
The two sides locked horns in front of a decent local crowd at the fortress Oval, which saw some
spectacular tries being scored. Swallows dominated most of the game and could find themselves
unlucky not to upset the favourites and EPRU Grand Challenge side. Swallows’ powerful pack of
forwards were once again dominant in the scrums and overpower Blues in that department from the
word go till the end whistle.
From the onset, the clash was brutal and very physical, with both sides coming hard at each other. Whilst Swallows dominated matters upfront and put the favourites under constant pressure, it was the Blues who played to their strength and favourite game plan by keeping the ball alive and giving it air through skilful ball handling. Swallows were found wanting on defence as the Blues made the game quick and, as a result, gained momentum and metres on the attack.
Swallows took the game to the home side and kept the scoreboard ticking with a conversion try and
two penalties in the first half. A brilliant turnover in the tackle situation by veteran Ivan “Motta” Agnew deep inside Swallows half resulted in youngster Ethan Williams neatly collecting from the ruck, running a couple of metres with a kick through where he collected again and superbly offloaded to lock Diego Plaatjies to score the try of the day. Young fullback Breyton Plaatjies had his kicking boots on and slotted a monstrous 53m penalty to extend his side’s lead. Blues came back with two penalties to take matters to 13-6 in favour of Swallows at the break.
Swallows’ dominant scrum continued in the second half but was unlucky in their dominance when
they were penalized for technical reasons. Blues launched a comeback and capitalized on the visitors’
mistakes. Credit to the Blues for keeping their composure and sticking to their game plan. A yellow card to Swallows put them on the back foot as Blues scored two tries and a few penalties in the second half whilst going into the lead for the first time and also extended their lead going into the final ten minutes of the game.
Fiery and aggressive 8th man of Swallows, Jason Potgieter, scored a brilliant try from the back of the scrum, burst through a couple of defenders and ran 30m to score. Swallows were within reach of the Blues but kept on making enforced errors and unnecessary mistakes, as Blues goal kicker kept them in the lead with his deadly boot. Swallows needed to score twice during the final minutes of the second half but solid defence from Blues kept them from scoring.
In the end, full credit to Blues, who showed good composure and fighting spirit to hang on to the win.
On the other hand, Swallows should kick themselves not to build on their first-half lead and to clinch
the win in the end. Blues ended the afternoon that was played in a very good spirit, with a well-
earned and deserved 26-18 win.
The Grocott’s Mail Sport/Daniels MEDIA Man of the Match went to the unsung Swallows’ hero and prop forward, Marvin Frazer. Frazer was the spearhead and destroyer-in-chief of the Swallows’ dominant pack in the scrums and played both sides of the scrum. He was also very effective in physical battles and played hard on the field. He was also solid on defence whilst solid at the breakdowns. Swallows’ next friendly will be against Windvogel United in PE on Saturday.