In a top vs bottom clash, top of the log and unbeaten Villager FC take on second last Kraaifontein RFC in a hugely anticipated clash at Kraaifontein on Friday night. Kick Off 9pm.
At the halfway mark of the WP Super League B, Villager FC remain unbeaten after seven games and as a result sit at the top of the log, whilst in stark comparison their Kraaifontein opponents sit second last having lost all their encounters thus far.
Although log positions can be a good determinant as to the strengths of opposing teams, they should never be heavily relied upon by either side especially considering factors such pre-season preparation, luck and injuries often have big influences as to how teams fare in the early stages of an amateur competition.
For Villager FC on Friday night they have everything to lose whilst Kraaifontein have everything to gain. Games that many believe are easy to win are often the most difficult as teams near the bottom raise their performances to such an extent an upset is always a possibility. The Dirty Whites are well aware that some of their close victories this year could have in fact been losses.
Head Coach Andrew Hughes understands this. “I am very aware that some of our games this year have been close and we have been fortunate to end on the winning side. He says. “The team realise this and take every game as they come. We have to respect the fact that Kraaifontein are at home so we will need to perform if we are to walk away with another victory.”
Hughes has opted for more experience for this clash bringing back the likes of Troy Lee, Andrew Wilkins and Stuart Pattison to the mix to counter the rotation of star player, Jannie Bester and big ball carrying prop, Ryan Germishuys.
“Jannie was rested due to a slight hamstring injury he picked up against Brackenfell, while Germishuys has been ill most of the week so he needs to recover, but our strength in depth is more than adequate.” He says. “To be able to recall Wilkins, Stu and Troy is huge as they all add massive value to the side both as players and as leaders.
The front row has a different feel to it with the loss of Germishuys, however the ever-improving Adrian Cleophas has proved this season that he can play at a higher level and is more than capable of taking over from Germishuys at tight head. Joining Cleophas at prop is veteran Troy Lee, usually at hooker but moves in at loose head for this week. Completing the front row at hooker, Scott Pitcher gets his second starting opportunity for the year, his last being against Milnerton.
The second row sees the return of Ryan Bezuidenhout as a rotational switch for Kwaks Ngwanya, while Eddie Ntaka continues at lock for a second week. As a partnership Ntaka and Bezuidenhout complement each other, Ntaka as a looser player with ball in hand that can be a devastating option on attack, whilst Bezuidenhout’s tight phase work rate at the maul and breakdown is superb.
At loose forward the industrious duo of Brodie Blows and Ashley Clarke continue from last week with the addition of Andrew Wilkins in place of Jannie Bester. As a veteran club rugby player, Andrew Wilkins adds massive physicality to the side as well as a vast repertoire for disrupting the opposition, an ability honed during many years playing for various clubs which is now benefitting Villager this year.
The backline has a familiar look to it with the retention of Jonny Sweetnam and Daniel Clarke as the half back combination, whilst the return of Stuart Pattison to outside centre forces Brent Sanders back to inside where his abilities are suited best. The combination of Sanders and Pattison has grown over the last few weeks and as such much is expected from them on Friday. The outside backs remain fairly consistent with the talented James Allderman at fullback, Christo Terblanche and Donny Venter on the wings.
Although the backline have not seen much ball nor scored many tries, backline coach Kirsten Marshall believes they pose an attacking threat. “The players we have at our disposal this year are all exceptionally skilful.” He says. “Fortunately we have a top forward pack and need to utilise them, but I do feel that when the backline get the ball they need to use it as best they can to show everyone and themselves just how good they really are.”
The bench boasts a powerful look to it with the inclusion of Jannie Bester and Ryan Germishuys, whilst regular starter Jethro Valentine and Ayden Coetzee return after missing out last week. As a result of the rotational policy, Kwaks Ngwanya and Ziyaad Fredericks warm the bench this week, Ngwanya in particular stood out last week with his lineout jumping, although he has some way to go until his full potential is reached, his poaching of opposition ball was a good indication of the heights he can reach. Completing the bench and joining the team for the first time this season, Tim Marsh receives a call up after performing exceptionally well for the seconds all season.
Captain Ashley Clarke believes the side really want to play well after a special jersey presentation on Thursday evening. “As a club we are embracing the right reasons in every way possible and as a result we asked our long serving barman Martin Shiba to present the jerseys to the guys for the first time.” He says. “Martin has been an integral part of this club for a very long time, he has seen my brother and I grow up here, so to have him hand out our jerseys was special. We would like nothing more than to play well for him.”
Villager FC are looking forward to playing Kraaifontein at their home ground and encourage as many members, supporters and friends to join us out at Kraaifontein Sporting Complex for a great evening of club rugby played for the right reasons. Games begin at 6:35pm with the 1st XV game at 9pm.
1st XV vs Brackenfell RFC:
|Villager 1st XV||Kraaifontein 1st XV||Kraaifontein A||21:00|
|Villager 2nd XV||Kraaifontein 2nd XV||Kraaifontein A||19:45|
|Villager 3rd XV||Kraaifontein 3rd XV||Kraaifontein A||18:35|
|Villager u20||Kraaifontein u20||Kraaifontein B||18:35|