On an overcast cool afternoon in Sea Point our Hamilton 1st XV took on St George’s on Saturday. Our mission was to ensure that we kept the Hammies machine rolling applying pressure on the rest of the SLA sides as we set our sights on winning the Grand Challenge.
The selectors had opted to rest a number of players like Pierre Cronje and Jano Van Zyl which has enabled us to give some valuable game time to some younger players.
Jody Burch made a welcomed return to the starting lineup after having been on “Paternity Leave” It was he that set the tone from the outset with some of his trademark bullocking runs. We raced to a 14 -0 lead after 10 minutes as he created great momentum breaching the defense and then linking with the backs as we cut loose from deep.
The ease in which we had scored proved to be our achilles heel in the first half as we looked to offload and rush our passes rather than play a more disciplined approach. This style allowed St Georges to get in-between us, intercepting and turning over our possession.
Jody injured his knee after 20 minutes, it looked serious but we are hoping for the best after his X-rays and Scans on Monday. Gareth Rowe took over the Captaincy a job that he has revelled in the past 2 weeks and sparked the team back to life as he lead from the front.
His Man of the Match performance started with him scoring the first of his 3 tries as he took a late pass off Niel Cleghorn to cross untouched under the uprights. His support lines were magnificent and he deserved to score another brace and claim his first hat trick in Hamilton colours.
We managed to clinch our bonus point try just on half time as we lead 26-0 at the break.
We addressed area’s of concern, refocused and then under the direction of pivot Shane Vallender produced a scintillating period of rugby as we decimated the St Georges defense with and awesome display of 15 man rugby.
We ran the ball from all corners with forwards and backs combining as one notching up 61 points in the second half to eventually end up 87-10 winners.
With debutant Wes Cloete settling in well at Tight Head and Henk Franken and Michael Badenhorst functioning in the line outs we secured great first phase possession. Dustin Jinka revelled behind his dominant pack. This was Dustin’s first start since returning from Sweden and his decision making and speed to the breakdown allowed the team to capitalise on every opportunity.
Morgan Newman insured that the St Georges attacks were stifled with a couple of his trademark thunderous hits which lifted his teammates to do the same. St Georges did manage to score 2 consolation tries but hats off to them they never stopped trying and played with a lot of heart.
Our back 3 of Angelo Nelson , Earl Lewis and Iewan Bartels took full advantage of the ball that came their way and all scored a brace.
Another great Team performance 13 tries and 5 points in the bag and valuable game time for some of our younger and bench players.
Well done Buggers, next up Helderberg before we start focussing on the the supposed bigger sides in the league.
We won’t be taking any SLA game lightly as we know upsets are frequent and teams are able to produce match winning performances as they all want a big scalp during the season.
Gareth Rowe x 3 , Niel Cleghorn x 2 , Angelo Nelson x 2 , Earl Lewis x 2, Iewan Bartels x 2 , Monty Dumond x 2
Shane Vallender x 9 , Monty Dumond x 2
By Anton Moolman