Travelling to Helderberg is never easy. Travelling to Helderberg on the Thursday night of a long weekend is a nightmare…. With all our heavies out injured, on holiday or “missing their flight”, it was always going to be a struggle against a pack the size of Helderberg’s.
The game didn’t get off to the greatest of starts, a trigger happy referee saw Helderberg kick into the corner over and over again with a very predictable and unentertaining brand of rugby. Their sheer size overpowered our depleted forward pack in the mauls and the first half ended with Helderberg 15-0 up. The Shebeen backline were itching to run, but with only two opportunities with ball in hand, frustrations were clearly mounting.
Due to lack of numbers in our tight five, the second half began with uncontested scrums- which meant we had all the right and opportunity to narrow the score line by bringing our clearly superior backline into the mix. In the first 10 minutes Helderberg had no idea what was happening as they now had to run coast-to-coast, chasing our backs and the momentum shifted 180 degrees in our favour.
Unfortunately lack of ball in the first half showed as our handling and finishing seemed to fail us, not grabbing our opportunities when presented and seemingly panicked by the pressure to score. We continuously played into the hands of Helderberg- who at will turned over ball, kicked and mauled. By this time our forward pack consisted of a majority of backline players, Kyle Williamson making his debut at prop proved just how out of depth we were.
Helderberg crossed the line for another try, from another maul, earning them a bonus point and leaving us extremely embarrassed. Having conceded 4 tries from the maul it was clear that we had been bullied. All in all not a great fixture.
However, Shebeen always like to try find positives: we have now travelled to Helderberg and Durbell, and are extremely confident that the home leg is going to be a chalk and cheese affair as it was last year.
Once again young Lee Nicholson made it clear that he is easily capable of playing rugby at the highest levels, flattening giants all over the park. Congrats Lee and happy 21st birthday for last week. If we follow this man’s example on the field, we will definitely get our campaign back on track with some customary Shebeen flaring, champagne rugby.
We make up our fixture against MC Marais this week at Brookside. After an extremely boring game last week, this fixture is lining up to be an absolute humdinger! Some say the most entertaining game of the year… details to be confirmed and circulated to all.
Man of the match: Lee Nicholson