Bishops beat SACS 43-28 in a 10-try thriller at Piley Rees field on Saturday, reports OLLIE KEOHANE.
SACS came into this match as the favourites based on their results this season, but it was Bishops who tore the form book up and produced one of their best performances of the year.
The hosts took an early lead through a penalty, and while they briefly surrendered the advantage to a SACS counter-attacking seven-pointer, they took charge of the match during a stunning 10-minute period that produced 21 points through three converted tries.
Bishops, whose results have been inconsistent in 2016, were a mixture of magical and muscular as they fronted physically and also shredded the SACS defence with magnificent ball-in-hand skills.
The strong wind favoured Bishops in the first half and they maximised the advantage to lead 24-7 at half-time.
SACS showed early intent with the first score of the second half, but Bishops almost immediately responded with a converted try to lead 31-14.
SACS, who have been one of the form teams in the Western Cape Premier League this year and only a fortnight ago were outstanding in a narrow defeat against SA’s No 1 side Paarl Boys’ High, added to the free-flowing and counter-attacking match with two converted tries to make it a three-point game going into the last quarter.
But there would be no denying Bishops on their famed Piley Rees field and the forwards, mauling with precision and intent, made for the most decisive score of the match.
The try meant Bishops controlled the final few minutes with a two-score advantage and a late converted try was more a reflection of their edge over 70 minutes.
SACS, who beat Bishops 35-19 at home earlier in the season, have been dominant in recent derbies with eight wins from 11 but they were second best on Saturday to a Bishops team whose desire to counter-attack was as impressive as their forwards’ set-piece play and strength in the collisions.
SACS, individually and as a team, have proven themselves against the country’s best this season, but at Piley Rees their fighting spirit wasn’t enough and the plaudits and bragging rights went to the best side on the day, regardless of claims that SACS have been the better side in 2016.
Derby matches often make a mockery of the season’s results and Bishops were another example of this.
SACS coach Graeme Wepenaar, in this website’s preview, stated that despite encouraging performances his team had not produced a complete performance. He said the goal against Bishops was to match the intensity and physicality of the effort against Paarl Boys’ High and to add control and attacking penetration to their game.
It never happened and the control, penetration and balance belonged to Bishops.
SACS won 12 of the 18 matches on the day across all age groups, but were always second best in the premier match of the day.
Bishops – Tries: Jason Hofmeyr, Cullum Diem, James Macdonald, Seb Prentice, Lubelo Scott, Rob Macdonald. Conversions: Harry Makin (5). Penalty: Makin.
SACS – Tries: David Hayes, Yanga Tolashe, Justin Bendeman, Michael Abrahams. Conversions: Jordy Hopp (4).
Photo: Peter Heeger/Gallo Images