Item slay the Lambs in Grahamstown
Theo Pieterse’s Itembelihle township team played the Lambs XV, a touring team from England chosen from some 20 different schools. It is an organisation started in 2006 along Barbarian lines. Pieterse reports from a match played as part of the 125th birthday celebrations of Kingswood College.
Itembelihle keeps on improving with every game they play, and more and more new players turn up at practices every week!
We travelled to Kingswood to play the Lambs XV. When I saw this team I knew it was going to be David vs Goliath, for they were, man for man, bigger than us, and I realised that the only way to beat them would be by speeding up the game and getting my backs to run at them. We lived off scraps and turnover ball as the referee allowed them to scrum us off the ball and penalised us heavily there.
We kicked off and they went on to the offensive immediately, running over my boys. They set up phases but knocked the ball on inside our 22. From the scrum they simply pushed us off the ball and attacked. Flank Akhona Sonti turned the ball over and we attacked. N
Now we set up phases with big Phumelela du Preez taking us forward, running at them. We got to their 22 and were awarded a penalty. Inside centre Lotto Kete stepped up and converted. 3-0.
From the kick-off they put us under pressure. They won the ball back and let their big forwards run at us, but we kept them at bay. Then after a ruck on our 22 their inside centre ran a great line to score a converted try under the posts.
We kicked off and trapped them inside their own half with good defence. We managed to turn the ball over and attack. No.8 Kwi Tshaka was stopped about ten metres from their line after a good run. Then Kete ran a beautiful line, attacking their close-in defenders who were all watching the ball in the ruck. He sneaked past them after receiving a pop pass from scrumhalf Makweila Mnyungula and scored under the poles, a try which he converted himself. 10-7.
From the kick off they won the ball back and came at us and desperate defence kept them out. My players now had to receive medical attention. Centre Kete, prop Ntundushe and scrumhalf Mnyungula all went down injured but got up and limped on.
The Lambs kept on setting up phases but knocked the ball on in our 22. From the resulting scrum we were penalised and their No.8 was driven over for an unconverted try. 12-10 to the Lambs.
From the kick-off, they attacked relentlessly and their centre cut through, only to be stopped inside our half. We counter-rucked well and turned the ball over and attacked down the blindside. Quick hands got the ball into outside centre Shoun Oniwe’s hands and he rounded the defence for a converted try under the poles. Half-time and we led 17-12.
They kicked off in the second half and we attacked them. Du Preez took us forward again and then the ball was spun wide with wing Sbu Mbatyoti setting off on a brilliant run, side stepping the opponents and, when stopped, he offloaded to Tshaka who popped the ball to Mnyungula who played Kete and we nearly scored.
They conceded a penalty at the ruck and Kete converted. (20-12) The Lambs now came back at us. We struggled in the lineouts and they took possession and attacked us. They received a penalty and kicked for touch and then drove us but we managed to stop them (worked on stopping a maul the whole week long) They then started a pick and go and scored a converted try. (20-19).
We kicked off again and managed to keep them in their half, a clever grubber by their centre nearly had their wing scoring but he knocked the ball on. From the scrum (one we won) Tshaka picked up and went blind, he fed wing Sanele Jack who beat a few defenders before he was stopped. Prop Popo Ntundushe and hooker Langa Dlanywa then took us forward but we lost the ball in their 22 and they immediately attacked. Flank Simamkele Gqala then cut in and intercepted the ball when they tried a long pass, and scored under the poles for Mnyungula to convert. (Kete was off injured again.) 27-19.
But the Lambs were not finished and came at us again setting up phases and eventually their wing fell over for an unconverted try. (27-24)
We then attacked them as they tired and the game ended in their half as my boys threw their arms into the air and celebrated. This was a great victory for an Itembelihle side that is improving with every outing after playing great rugby at Grey ending with a 26-12 victory over a talented Woodridge side.
The guys who stood out for us were flank Sonti, lock du Preez, scrumhalf Mnyungula, centre Kete and wing Mbatyoti. The sad thing is that we don’t have any fixtures till the 27 April when we meet Mary Waters High.
By Theo Pieterse