Joni and Poleman star in 3rds win

Hammies 3rds were made to work hard for a bonus point win at home on Saturday. Newly promoted Uni Mil made the short trip down the West Coast road and arrived with plenty of intent. Cooler but near perfect weather for rugby suited both sides. 

The opening quarter was a start stop affair with both teams exchanging penalties to lock up the opening quarter 3 -3. Uni Mil had the better of the scrums early on sending the Hammies pack a strong message of intent. Hammies countered the scrum pressure with some great line out work. In a positional switch, hooker Jacob Modipa found Andries Engelbrecht with ease and Hammies were able to build some phases and pressure from good line out possession.

Uni Mil defended with purpose and met the Hammies runners on the advantage line for most of the match only tiring in the final 10 minutes. They also attacked the breakdown well, making life difficult for Scrum Half Anthony ‘Skoene’ Small.
Skoene was forced to deal with some sloppy rucking and untidy possession at times as Uni Mil kept putting in the tackles and flooding the breakdown where Hammies were caught napping. He still managed a fine 1st half performance which included some excellent support running off the first clean line break from lock Nico Etzebeth to score under the poles. Jonathan Halliday came on at 9 to make his well deserved debut for the 3rds early in the 2nd half.

Outside the No 9’s, flyhalf Tyren Lee had a good day out. Forced to cope with some static ball, he was still able to put in a few sniping runs and crisp passing to allow Centre Tristian who also had a good day and bagged a double. Tristian’s first try was a simple run in after sustained team pressure, the 2nd try however was a thing of beauty. Sub Raymond Finkle was full of running  and made a superb line break and off load to Tristan who still had plenty to do running over 50 metres to beat the cover.

Dan Mckenzie made a good read and inserted himself into proceedings after a quietish first half. Dan  cut back against the defence to crash over on the angle and score near the posts to seal the bonus point.

Mike Joni continued his fine form with another forward of the match performance. Mike was once again great on great defense and make a number of strong runs in mid field which gave Hammies the much needed momentum.

Hammies final effort was probably the pick as Uni Mil began to tire, centre Jason Poleman who threatened all day finally made the clean break as was able to score after a superb bit of footwork left the solid Uni defence in tatters.

Hammies bench added plenty of energy and coaches Gav and Dave will be pleased to see the impact from Blake Reyneke, Raymond Finkle in particular. Former team captain Daniel Pikker making his was back onto the park for a first run out of the season much to delight of his adoring fan club up in pub!

All in all it was a solid win with some fine individual performances. Overall though, the coaches wont be thrilled with a few aspects of the teams play and there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Full Time: Hammies 36 Uni Mil 9

Hammies will be a away at Primrose next Saturday.

By Barry Herbert {Manager 3rd XV}