As a result of their official first place finish in this year’s WP Super League B, Villager FC take on Brackenfell RFC in the semi-final of the inaugural Presidents Cup at City Park on Saturday 20 September. Kick-off is at 16h30.
As a new feature on the clubs calendar, the Presidents Cup has quickly gained traction as a popular addition for many clubs in the province. This is easily seen by the vast amount of excitement the play-off games has garnered amongst the numerous travelling supporters in recent weeks both at Brookside and City Park. And with all teams involved, no matter if they finished in the top six or bottom eight, the tournament ensures players and clubs alike have something to gain even if the regular season was not kind in terms of results.
It is with this background that Villager, who earned an automatic semi-final spot as a result of their first place finish in the league, faces off against Brackenfell on Saturday. Although Villager ended the league as champions after they overcame Sir Lowrians in the last round of the league, Brackenfell RFC will surely be going into the semi-final clash as favourites as a result of their upset quarter-final win against St Georges last week; a team that beat Villager at Brookside ending the “Dirty Whites” unbeaten record. If one considers that “Brakkies” were also incredibly unlucky in losing out to Villager by just two points at Brookside in May, their favourites tag is not entirely unjustified.
Head Coach Gunner Hughes has been forced into making a large number of changes due to the unavailability of certain stalwarts; however he believes the side still has a great chance come Saturday. “Losing so many players due to injury or unavailability has been a blow but the opportunity has arisen for many of the seconds to now come into the side and prove they can play at this level.” He says. “The team we selected for Sir Lowrians was made up of many guys who weren’t part of the original squad so once again we will see how strong our depth is at the club.”
With Brackenfell possessing one of the better packs in the league this year, Villager will certainly have their work cut out for them in the set phases. However with Ashley Clarke, Oupa Williams and Luke Westgarth Taylor in the side to guide youngsters such as Adrian Cleophas, Scott Pitcher and Jarrod Amon in the front row, the Brakkies forwards will have to work hard to overcome a game, but largely inexperienced Villager pack. One shining light of the enforced changes has enabled second team star, Payden Viviers, to start alongside Clarke and Jannie Bester in the loose forwards forming a potentially devastating loose trio combination.
The backline, without the services of three of their first choice fly halves, will have to dig deep to ensure some measure of continuity is maintained, but with Daniel Anderson and Christo Terblanche as pivots this should not be an issue. Terblanche will be aided by the return of centre Brent Sanders, who thankfully returned from his globetrotting experiences, as well as Stuart Pattison, who has made a tremendous difference to the backline this year. Combined with the fact that Sanders and Pattision reunite their solid partnership, wingers Blane Hansen and Sir Lowrians hero, Neil du Toit, form an exciting back trio as a result of the addition of Louis Gabriel at fullback.
Apart from the 1st XV, the Villager FC u20 side will also be in action on Saturday at City Park as a result of their 2nd place finish in the league; a position which also guaranteed them a semi-final spot against Goodwood u20 at 13h30. The last time the two teams met Villager ran out as overwhelming victors by 47 – 17 in what may have been their best performance this year. However with the u20s also losing many of their stars due to provincial call-ups and various unavailability issues they will have to dig deep to claim the win and earn themselves a final spot. Rest assured however, with Captain Daniel Searle still at the helm after three seasons with the u20s, he will no doubt ensure his charges leave nothing on the field so as to end the team’s season, as well as his own tenure, on a high note in the final.
Villager FC encourages as many of our supporters to join us at City Park for what will be an action packed semi-final that has everything to play for should the rumours of the final being played at Newlands be accurate. There is no doubt seeing the Dirty Whites play on the famous Newlands pitch again will be a fantastic culmination to what has already been an amazing season for the club.
Villager FC 1st XV
1. Adrian Cleophas 2. Scott Pitcher 3. Jarrod Amon 4. Luke Westgarth Taylor 5. Richard Williams 6. Jannie Bester 7. Payden Viviers 8. Ashley Clarke (CPT) 9. Daniel Anderson 10. Christo Terblanche 11. Blane Hansen 12. Brent Sanders 13. Stuart Pattison (V/C) 14. Neil Du Toit 15. Louis Gabriel
Villager FC u20
1. Adin Mesane 2. Dan Searle (CPT) 3. Greg Muller 4. Cameron Dallas 5. Fabio Brognieri 6. Allie Williams 7. Imaad Soeker 8. Tristan de Gouveia 9. Rob Watkins 10. Kevin Lock 11. Deen Harris 12. Kye Bowerman 13. Callan Souma 14. Yusri Williams 15. Dan Opedun
16. Karabo Ramaipato 17. Ali Waggie 18. Jermaine Achilies 19. Jason Botha 20. Junaide Christians 21. Vernon Hazam 22. Luyando Ponono 23. Walid Hossam Eldin