In having won ten out of ten games in the WP SLB, Villager FC have without question had an exemplary season to date, however this will count for nothing when they face third place St Georges at Brookside on Saturday in a game the visitors will be desperate to win to keep their promotion hopes alive. Kick-off is at 16h00.
Formed in 1941, St Georges or the “Lulu Boys” as they are affectionately known, have yet to meet Villager FC on the playing field in their history. This is not the first time this has happened to Villager this year after numerous teams were promoted to the Super League B after the Western Province Executive changed the format of the leagues at the end of last year. When one considers that Villager FC has only ever been in the SLA, barring the 2013 and 2014 seasons, it is not surprising that many clubs face the famous “Dirty Whites” jersey for the first time.
As a result of this, and the fact that playing at the historic Brookside fields is considered for many club players as a ‘Mini Newlands’ as a result of its Victorian style stadium-like atmosphere, St Georges are expected to be a difficult proposition on Saturday. Thus far the Lulu Boys have had an excellent season under the tutelage of Head Coach Wilbur Kraak. Their current 3rd place Log standing is not entirely unexpected when one considers the structures and preparation the Strand based club have invested in over the last few years. Their youth structure in particular has been especially successful with many of their current 1st XV players having been exclusively trained in the Maroon jersey from a young age. When one considers how well their lower teams have been doing this year, it is clear to see that they are truly a community orientated club, a standing which should ensure consistent results over the long term.
As good as their results have been this year however, St Georges have still come up short against log leaders Sir Lowrians, Rangers and drew to Hamlets. Considering their team’s average age is a mere 22 years old, their inexperience has to have counted against them in the bigger games, however Villager Head Coach Gunner Hughes sees that only as a potential strength. “St Georges may have a young team but having coached at Varsity for a number of years I have seen teams of a similar age beat considerably older and experienced clubs simply because they possessed that distinctive confidence young players seem to have in abundance”. He says. “Age can either work in your favour or against, and from looking at their results this year it seems St Georges have a team who desperately want to prove to themselves and their supporters that they can beat anyone, so we can’t afford to take them lightly”.
Having come off a bye St Georges will be well rested and raring to go for this fixture but Villager may hold the upper hand after coming off a convincing win against Hands and Hearts last weekend. Hughes has selected a very similar side from last week except for the enforced changes at lock and fullback necessitated as a result of the torn bicep injury to Ryan Bezuidenhout and the hamstring injury to James Allderman, as well as the rotational change at Hooker that sees Scott Pitcher get a start.
The pack remains largely the same with Adrian Cleophas at loose head prop and Ryan Germishuys, who had an absolute stormer of a game last week, remain at tight head. As a result of the poor run of injuries at lock, Forwards Coach Riaan Crous has opted for the power of Ayden Coetzee, usually a prop, in the second row to partner last week’s man of the match Richard “Oupa” Williams. The loose trio remains the same with Jannie Bester, Brodie Blows and Captain Ashley Clarke continuing their impressive partnership.
Backline coach, Kirsten Marshall, has chosen much the same backline from last week barring the injury to fullback, James Allderman. The combination of Daniel Anderson at scrumhalf and Tim Marsh at flyhalf proved a successful one last week as the Villager backline moved the ball around freely attacking the wider channels, much to the delight of the Brookside faithful. Much of that attacking movement was down to the tried and tested partnership of David Radloff and Stuart Pattison in the centres, their skilfulness proved too much for the opposition last week, something wingers Blane Hansen and Brent Sanders will be hoping continues this weekend.
The move of Sanders to wing in particular was a successful one last week, while Hansen will be looking to build on his solid performance from last week. With the injury to Allderman, Jethro Valentine proved to be more than an adequate replacement at fullback where his skilfulness with ball in hand and his evasive running proved to be one of the key reasons Villager scored the tries they did last week.
The bench sees the return of lineout throwing ace, Jamie Kaiser, for the first time since the pre-season games as a result of his knee injury. Kaiser is joined by Troy Lee, Kwaks Ngwanya and Andrew Wilkins as the forward replacements. The backline replacement contingent sees Christo Terblanche joined by Geoff Van Ryneveldt and Jarred Stokes.
Villager FC looks forward to hosting St Georges RFC for the first time and welcomes their players, management, committee and supporters to Brookside for another great afternoon of club rugby.
We also extend an invite to all ladies to join us in celebrating Women’s Day at the club where we will be having R10 drinks specials during the 1st XV game as well as live music afterwards to sing the night away in fine style.
1. Adrian Cleophas 2. Scott Pitcher 3. Ryan Germishuys 4. Richard Williams 5. Ayden Coetzee 6. Jannie Bester 7. Brodie Blows 8. Ashley Clarke (Cpt) 9. Daniel Anderson 10. Tim Marsh 11. Brent Sanders 12. David Radloff 13. Stuart Pattison (V/C) 14. Blane Hansen 15. Jethro Valentine
St Georges RFC:
1. Brandon Steyn 2. Megan Rose 3. Franco Rabie 4. Clive Meyer 5. Noel Paige 6. Trevino Alfestus 7. Dale Wilson 8. Isadore Armien (Cpt) 9. Harry Finger 10. Morne Adams (V/C) 11. Esli Noble 12. Eldon Hess 13. Fabian Filander 14. Michael la Meyer 15. Patrick van Wyk
16. Garth Louw 17. Dillon Patience 18. Ashley Riffel 19. Emile Chacane 20. Kerwin Felton 21. Raymon Bergsted 22. Alvino Hartley
Fixtures vs St Georges RFC:
|Villager FC 1st XV||St Georges RFC 1st XV||Villager ‘A’||16:00|
|Villager FC 2nd XV||St Georges RFC 2nd XV||Villager ‘A’||14:45|
|Villager FC 3rd XV||St Georges RFC 3rd XV||Villager ‘A’||13:35|
|Villager FC u20||St Georges RFC u20||Villager ‘B’||13:35|