Four games in the SLA season and Hamilton SP-RFC are the front-runners after a convincing home win against newcomers Union-Milnerton RFC this past Saturday.
Hammies are currently on 17 league points with three wins and a draw, two points ahead of second placed Maties. The Students have a game in hand…..
From yet another long weekend break, Niekkie Viljoen had to juggle with his selection options as several key players were out injured while others were unavailable because they were representing WP against Boland and the WP Academy team in Georgia respectively.
Team Captain, Brendon Groenewald was also not available for the outing against Uni-Mil. Coach, Niekkie once again went for a 5/2 split giving newcomer, Grant Muller a debut start at Hooker. The former WP u/19 and current “Seccies” Captain, Lohan Louw got a deserved call-up to sit bench as the replacement Lock. Bomba Bakeni (Prop) returned after a short illness to replace Tight-Head Prop, Wesley Cloete who was getting a second team start. Luke van der Smit (Flank) returned from his holiday to fill the bench while there was also a welcome return after an injury filled 2016 for the WP 7’s flyer, Iewan Bartels.
Uni-Mil RFC had a dream start to the game by scoring a brilliant try within 42 seconds from the kick-off. Seven minutes later Hammies took the lead with a converted try from tap penalty 5 meters out when outside Centre, Jason Kriel dotted down. The following 20 minutes saw five tries, two injuries, brilliant handling/passing/running rugby and Hamilton’s take a deserved 29-12 halftime lead. Both Centre Kobus Loubser and number eight, Patrick O’Brien were injured and replaced by Morne Smal and Luke van der Smit. Further tries by Wingers, Iewan Bartels and Brandon Asher-Wood while Lock, Jade Kriel from a set piece lineout and replacement Centre, Morne Smal scored from a turnover ball on our own 10 meter line in the first half. Captain on the day, Shane Vallender added two conversions.
In the second half Hamilton SP-RFC started showing glimpses of what they are capable of by scoring a further five tries. The first came within two minutes of the restart when winger, Brandon Asher-Wood scored his sixth try of the season from a brilliant executed backline move. Jason Kriel got his second of the game after 58 minutes before MOTM, Loose Head Prop, Steven Robbeson scored from several drives and rucks in the opponents 22. Replacement Flanker, Luke van der Smit was next to add his name to the score-sheet with a terrific break and strong. Flyhalf, Siya Alam scored Hammies tenth and final try on the day with another terrific backline move with breath-taking hands to score a converted try. Fullback, Shane Vallender converted six of the ten tries.
A late try by Uni-Mil RFC with Hamilton’s down to 13 players due to two yellow cards closed the score that gave them a bonus point. In the end it was the lethal finishing that saw Hamilton SP-RFC run out comfortable 62 – 24 winners.
Backline Coach, Koos Eksteen is definitely making an impact on the Hamilton’s backline as they have scored 17 of the 24 tries thus far this season. We will be on the road for the next three fixtures away at Primrose, Belhar and UWC for the month of May.