Tygerberg RFC started the second half of their 2016 Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) Super League A campaign on a winning note, beating UWC 35-17 away on Saturday.
The impact of the six-week long break was clearly visible in the early stages of the match, as the Tygerberg players struggled to cope with the pace of their opponents. They looked rusty and that resulted in them making a number of unnecessary mistakes in the first half and UWC capitalised by scoring four first half penalties. The students looked sharper and more energetic as they ran the ball to their opponents.
However, the Ravensmead-based side slowly got into the game and scored the only try of the first half, taking the score-line 12-7, in favour of UWC, going to the break.
Whatever coach Ricky Petersen said to the players during the break seemed to have worked, as they came back a different side, taking the game to UWC. The students soon found themselves chasing shadows as Tygerberg attacked in waves.
The Ravensmead outfit were the first to cross the try line in the second half with wing Julian Karolus dotting down, following some excellent “spade work” by the forwards. Inside centre Deon Taljaard, who had a great game with the boot, converted the try.
Playing at home, in front of a vocal crowd, UWC was not going to give up easily. They fought hard and were rewarded with a try, taking a 17-14 lead in the process. The visitors came back strongly again and scored their third try of the match, after winning yet another line-out.
It was, from then on, all Tygerberg as they went on to record a 35-17 victory to consolidate their second position in the league.
With 43 points after winning eight, losing two and drawing one of their 11 matches so far this season, they are trailing log leaders False Bay by eight points.
Petersen described his side’s first half performance as jittery. This, he said, was because his players were outplayed in the first half.
“UWC was brilliant, with their ball-handling on point. We conceded a lot of penalties and UWC was not going to let that go unpunished,” he said.
Petersen said the difference between the two teams, at the end of the day, was that his players came back strongly in the second half and conceded no unnecessary penalties in the process.
“The UWC side has been superb and the game could have gone both ways but we were more disciplined, and clinical, in the second half. We camped in their territory and took each opportunity that came our way. We came here to get five points, I am glad we were able to achieve that,” said Petersen.
He said his side needs to minimise their mistakes if they want to get positive results in their next match against Maties, at Florida Park, on Saturday July 30. The students are sixth on the log with 23 points.
That, however, doesn’t mean they’ve been playing badly. They have played only six matches so far, losing one and winning five of those.
“We know what Maties are capable of and that is why we have to be on top of our game when we play them.
“We are playing at home and that means we have to take the game to them, without being wreckless,” he said.