Wynberg take the Grand Slam
In what can only be described as atrocious conditions Wynberg Boys' High School finished off one of the most successful seasons in their history with a hard-fought 8-7 win over traditional rivals and hosts SACS.
The game was played in a mud bath, with intermittent strong gusts of wind and rain. About ten minutes into the match it was almost impossible to discern which players were playing for which team as they were covered in mud. Despite the conditions a good crowd turn out for the late kick-off and the teams produced an entertaining contest, understandably lacking much rhythm given the state of the field and the ball.
SACS got off to a dream start when scrumhalf and captain Cameron Calder took a quick tap free-kick at the back of a scrum and raced through to score within the first five minutes. Flyhalf Chris Smith kicked the conversion and SACS playing with a strong wind at their backs had the lead.
From then on Wynberg had most of the play until SACS came again towards the end of the half. Wynberg used their driving maul to good effect and this again, as in the first game between the teams, was the basis of their attacking play. After kicking a few penalties to the corner it was almost inevitable that Wynberg would score from a maul and it was their star players for the past three seasons, 19-year-old, two times SA Schools No.8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe who dotted down. Notshe was immense on the day, using is big frame to make the hard yards for his team and the result was a fitting send-off for a great servant. His try was scored close to touch and went unconverted.
SACS ended the half strongly and build some good phases of play inside the Wynberg half. Just before the interval SACS had a penalty which in hindsight they should probably have kicked at goal. It was ten metres in from touch and conditions for kickers were difficult but they should have backed Smith and taken the points with the wind at their backs. They decided to run the ball and got close to scoring but eventually went into the interval only 7-5 to the good.
Wynberg started the second half strongly and immediately went on the attack. Another series of mauls was repelled by SACS but eventually Wynberg were awarded a kickable penalty which fullback Siya Alam slotted. From then on SACS held the ascendancy and, as Wynberg had done in the first half, dominated possession and territory into the wind.
SACS strung some good phases of play together but handling errors and wrong options cost them. SACS were awarded a few penalties and the one they did kick to poles with fifteen minutes to go seemed to everyone in the crowd to be over only for the touch judges to keep their flags down. SACS threw everything they had at Wynberg and had a penalty out wide with a minute to go. Again they could have had an almost impossible go at poles but they chose to run the ball. The final play of the game saw the ball passed wide to the left and over the head of the SACS wing and into touch.
The final whistle saw drenched Wynberg boys stream onto the field to embrace the muddy heroes who had worked so hard together for three season with dedicated coach Gus Leslie to achieve their goal. In beating SACS, Rondebosch and Bishops twice each in a season the 2012 Wynberg First XV had made history and will be forever lauded as one of the best Wynberg teams ever.
Try: Cameron Calder
Con: Chris Smith
Try: Sikhumbuzo Notshe
Pen: Siya Alam