In their re-scheduled and first game back after an extended break, Villager FC will have to hit their strides early when they meet Hands and Hearts on Saturday. The visitors are expected to be highly motivated to end the home teams impressive run of form from the last round where they ended unbeaten after nine games. Kick-off is at 16:00pm at Brookside.
Having gone unbeaten in the previous round, the pressure to gain promotion rests squarely with the Brooksiders going into the last month of the league. With five games left to play, all in the month of August, Villager must quickly hit their stride against four teams that currently occupy the top six on the log. The challenge of this last leg cannot be understated as the superb run of form they achieved in the first round can very easily be undone in little less a month.
The upcoming fixture against Hands and Hearts will be a huge determining factor whether Coach Gunner Hughes’ side can go the distance and finish the year in the top two to gain automatic promotion. The fact that Villager have not played for the last four weeks is expected to play a big part in Saturdays game, however should they start the game as they did against Hamiltons in their last fixture, they may counteract their lack of game time.
Hughes believes his side has what it takes on Saturday. “Although we are slightly undercooked, I believe the fellas are mentally ready for the upcoming challenges,” He says. “We finished the last round off very well against Goodwood away, and I expect a similar performance against Hands and Hearts.”
When one considers the team Hughes has gone with this weekend there is no reason why they cannot continue where they left off, however Hands and Hearts can be a dangerous side and have had a good run this year. H&H currently occupy 6th position on the SLB log having won 7 of their 11 games, losing only to St Georges, Collegians, Pniel Villagers and Sir Lowrians, the majority of which Villager FC have yet to meet.
In the forwards Hughes has gone with much the same pack that finished the first half of the season with WP Disa squad members, Adrian Cleophas and Ryan Germishuys at prop, who are joined by the evergreen Troy Lee at hooker. The second row sees the physical and indomitable Ryan Bezuidenhout partner the vastly experienced Richard ‘Oupa’ Williams in a combination that offers the side much in the tight phases of the game.
As has often been the case this year the loose forward partnership of Brodie Blows, Jannie Bester and Ashley Clarke has been difference between winning and losing. The efforts of Blows in the lineout, the physicality of Captain Ashley Clarke with ball in hand combined with the talents of the irrepressible Jannie Bester make all the difference when games are close and with Saturday expected to be no different, they will need to be on top form once again.
The backline, for the first time since week two, are without ace-kicking flyhalf Daniel Clarke who is out with a knee injury. The potentially catastrophic loss of Clarke is only countered by the inclusion of Tim Marsh, last year’s pivot, who returns after an extended hiatus from the firsts. Tim guided the team well last year, albeit under vastly different circumstances, however his successful but brief stint against Hamiltons in the Derby Day this year gives the Brookside faithful much hope moving forward. In having scrumhalf Daniel Anderson inside and Stuart Pattison outside of him, Tim will be well covered ensuring a seamless transition from Clarke.
Outside of Pattison the experienced David Radloff, who has been on various ‘work’ sojourns to the likes of New York and Las Vegas, is at outside centre and available for the entire month. Having Radloff and Pattison together provides much more than mere experience, their ability with ball in hand and their aggression on defence is invaluable. As a direct result of Radloff returning, centre Brent Sanders who has partnered Pattison the most this year, moves to the wing so as to keep his physical presence on the park. Joining Sanders at the back is speedster Blane Hansen and the mercurial fullback, James Allderman.
The bench sees the inclusion of Kwaks Ngwanya after an entire season of impressive displays for the 2nds. His lineout ability and work rate around the park stands him in good stead for the future. Completing the forward replacements is Ayden Coetzee, a beardless Scott Pitcher and good guy Andrew Wilkins. The backline replacements consist of Christo Terblanche, Jethro Valentine and Geoff Van Reyneveldt who joins the side for only his second time this year.
Villager looks forward to hosting Hands and Hearts RFC and welcomes all their staff, players and supporters as well as our own members to Brookside for a fantastic afternoon of club rugby.
1st XV vs Hands and Hearts RFC:
|Villager FC 1st XV||Hands and Hearts RFC 1st XV||Villager ‘A’||16:00|
|Villager FC 2nd XV||Hands and Hearts RFC 2nd XV||Villager ‘A’||14:45|
|Villager FC 3rd XV||Hands and Hearts RFC 3rd XV||Villager ‘A’||13:35|
|Villager FC u20||Hands and Hearts RFC u20||Villager ‘B’||13:35|