By Chesley Daniels
Swallows 1st XV stunned firm favourites, Old Collegians (OC) with a dominant and classy 32-7 bonus
point win in their EPRU SEDRU Regional League local Derby fixture at the fortress Oval Sports
Ground on 15 April.
The Birds took a decent 15-7 lead at halftime. But OC went into this encounter and the Derby full of confidence and with the overwhelming favourites’ tag to win this battle, as they had defeated Swallows three times in 2022.
But boy oh boy, did they receive a huge surprise and shock from the new look Swallows outfit from the 2022 squad and set up. OC didn’t expect what came at them and it was Swallows who dominated in all facets of the game from the outset. OC was on the back foot from the kick-off and never recovered until the final whistle as the Birds flew right through and over them.
OC was purely outclassed by a dominant, defiant, and more eager Swallows side that never gave them a chance in the game.
Swallows’ full-back Jason Henson scored the first of his side’s five tries in the 12th minute of the first
half after good work by the forwards up front. OC came back as they neatly gave the ball air and
started running at their opponents but couldn’t convert the pressure into points. Swallows’ captain
Jason Potgieter led from the front and was a constant threat, and so was Siyamthanda Wambi for OC
as both launched power attacks with the ball in hand.
Henson extended his side’s lead with a penalty in the 30th minute as Swallows led 8-0. Duane Brown, the outside centre of Swallows, crossed over for his side’s second try under the poles after a brilliant break by young fly half Ethan Williams, who again proved his maturity at senior level as a skillful and classy player.
Henson converted to give the Birds a healthy 15-0 lead with two minutes remaining in the first half. OC scored a consultation try by the big powerful Wambi underneath the poles on the stroke of half time that also happens to be their only try of the match. Siyabonga Mahapi converted as Swallows went into the break with a 15-7 lead.
An intense and physical battle was the order of the day in the second half as we expected a comeback from OC. The physical battle continued with both teams ringing in the changes. Swallows’ dominance continued as OC’s defences let them down as the pressure mounted for them. Swallows upped the gear and ran the ball with so much confidence, which saw OC battling to make clear tackles that led to tries. Jason Potgieter scored the first try for Swallows in the 12th minute of the second half after collecting a loose ball and powering his way through the slacking defence from OC. Swallows led 20-7.
Minutes later, Swallows winger Luciano September scored again from another loose ball in open
play in the right-hand corner, after yet another mistake from OC on attack. The kick was unsuccessful as Swallows further extended and widened its big lead to 25-7. The body language of OC was evident in the park and they were definitely not the team of 2022. They lost focus and concentration and allowed Swallows to run riot as their poor tackling on the defence continued.
Replacement hooker Wonga Wakashe burst through a couple of defenders in the 32nd minute to put the cherry on the cake for Swallows. Henson converted 32-7. The remainder of the second half was just one-way traffic with a dominant Swallows side that continued to come hard at OC. The scores remained the same as Swallows ran in as the deserved 32-7 bonus point winners.
Swallows Head Coach Weston Du Plessis was delighted with his side’s bonus point win in the opening fixture of the competition. “The game was played in a very good spirit and obviously we’ve shown scrum dominance throughout the game. We built confidence slowly as the game progressed, especially from our defensive system that was in place. Our captain, Jason Potgieter, put us on the front foot every time he touched the ball with Ethan Williams controlling the game neatly at the back where it led to a few tries” he said.
“Our lineouts were solid with Ivan Mot Agnew showing his class in that department. Potgieter was a constant headache with the ball in hand on attack and Wonga Wakashe furthermore continued the momentum with his bulldozing runs. Our backs were itching to run the ball from anywhere on the field and we showed our attacking prowess. It was all and all a brilliant, well-rounded performance from all the players who put up their hands” Du Plessis added.
The Grocott’s Mail Sport/Daniels MEDIA Man of the Match went to Kurt Redcliff. The big guy had a
storming game both in the 1st Reserves and 1st XV and made a significant impact, especially in the 1st XV game. Strong in the scrums and solid at the rucks and breakdowns, very physical on defence, and he did the donkey work when he came on.
Swallows 1,st Reserve beat OC 17-7
SWALLOWS TRIES: Ural Austin, Neville Jonas, Penalty try