Paarl Boys’ High beat Paarl Gym 26-25 at Faure Street Stadium on Saturday to record their 39th consecutive win. JON CARDINELLI reports.
Boishaai came into this game as South Africa’s No 1 ranked side. While they were tested in the first half by a determined Gimmies outfit, they showed their power and class at the death to clinch the contest and confirm their status as the kings of South African schools rugby. The result marks Boishaai’s 39th consecutive win.
Gimmies didn’t enjoy a great deal of possession or territory in the first half. And yet, when they were awarded a penalty within kicking distance, they made it count. Flyhalf Theo Boshoff kicked two penalties, and after 11 minutes, Gimmies led 6-3.
Boishaai fullback Gianni Lombard kicked a drop goal in the 20th minute to level the scores. That drop goal may have been viewed as a sign of surrender, however, as the Boishaai attack wasn’t enjoying much success against the Gimmies defence at that stage of the contest.
When Gimmies began to receive more possession towards the end of the first half, they started to stretch the Boishaai defence. The forwards succeeded in taking the ball through the phases, and then captain Zak Burger made the big play by darting from the base of the ruck and scoring a try.
Gimmies went to the break with a 11-6 lead. Boishaai started the second half well, with their forwards playing with more fire and purpose and troubling the Gimmies defence.
Lombard’s successful shot at goal reduced the deficit to two points. The momentum was with Boishaai at that stage, and Gimmies started to show signs of tiring on defence.
In the 44th minute, Gimmies winger Muller du Plessis was yellow-carded for a cynical infringement. Two minutes later, Boishaai exploited the space to set up No 8 Khanya Ncusane for a try.
Gimmies weren’t done yet, though. The 14-man side turned down two consecutive opportunities to shoot for goal. Burger tapped quickly and then spun the ball wide. Some sharp handling saw Christopher Willemse receiving the ball in space, and the No 13 was good enough to finish. Boshoff added the extras to earn Gimmies a four-point lead.
Boishaai regained the advantage after scoring via the rolling maul. The boys in the blue-and-white hoops continued to attack via the forwards, and another unstoppable maul saw hooker Daniel Jooste claiming his second try of the afternoon.
Lombard kicked the conversion to steer his team into an eight-point lead. With 10 minutes remaining, the game was Boishaai’s to lose.
But there was to be another twist in this Paarl-based tale. Boshoff ran through the Boishaai defence in the 63rd minute and scored under the posts. He then completed the conversion to narrow the deficit to a single point, and to take his individual tally to 15 points.
Boishaai endeavoured to play the remainder of the game deep down in Gimmies’ territory. They continued to back their forwards to make inroads into a Gimmies defence that wasn’t as disciplined in the second half as it was in the first.
The trailing side enjoyed one final attacking opportunity at the death. However, Boishaai showed greater accuracy and composure in the final moments. They forced the turnover, and then booted the ball into the stands, much to the delight of the fans clad in blue and white.
Paarl Boys’ High – Tries: Khanya Ncusane, Daniel Jooste (2). Conversion: Gianni Lombard. Penalties: Lombard (2). Drop goal: Lombard.
Paarl Gym – Tries: Zak Burger, Christopher Willemse, Theo Boshoff. Conversions: Boshoff (2). Penalties: Boshoff (2).
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images