Tygers, Durbies – battle of two halves

Tygerberg lock Malvin Fransman works his way past the Durbell defence during the sides WPRFU Super League A match at Florida Park at the weekend.

Tygerberg FRC surrended a healthy 20-8 first half lead to lose 34-25 in their Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) Super League A match against northern suburbs neighbours Durbell at Florida Park on Sunday. 

This was the home side’s third loss in six matches, placing them in seventh position on the log.

The win saw their opponents, Durbell, consolidating fifth spot in the standings. They have 22 points after winning four and losing one of their five matches.

The match was played on a Sunday, instead of the customary Saturday and served as a curtain raiser for the Supersport Rugby Championship Challenge, which featured Currie Cup clashes between Western Province and Boland, and the Sharks against South Western Districts.

The early Sunday morning kickoff didn’t seem to bother the Ravensmead faithful as they came out in their numbers.

With the pitch in world class condition and the perfect weather, the fans were in for an enjoyable feast of rugby.

The home side immediately made their intentions clear and, within the first quarter of an hour, were leading 8-3.

Newly-appointed coach Anton Moolman’s charges looked to be in control of things. The nippy and street-smart Tygerberg side kept on asking questions until they were rewarded with a try by centre Ashton Prince to make it 13-3 , much to the delight of their supporters.

Scrumhalf and captain Armien Bailey led from the front to score another try, which fullback Daniel Roberts converted to make it 20-3. It looked like Durbell were in for a hiding. but they quickly reminded everyone just why they, as former champions, are considered among the best in the league.

They pulled a try back to make it 20-8 at half time. The visitors showed their mettle in the second half, using their powerful forwards to good effect. They were the first to cross the line in the second half, through Etiene Swartz’s converted try, reducing the deficit to 20-15.

And after an intense battle, Durbell rightwing Jaco Conradie jotted down to level the scores at 20-all.

It was converted to make it 22-20 to turn the tide in favour of the visitors.

But Roberts, who had an excellent game for Tygerberg, took matters into his own hands, scoring a try that made it 25-22 for his side.

But, to their credit, Durbell responded immediately with lock Daniel Liebenberg making it 25-27 for the visitors. The subsequent conversion gave Durbell a 29-25 lead.

The visitors were not done and, a few minutes later, centre Andre Scheepers scored a try that made it 34-25. The game was slowly slipping away from the hosts, while Durbell held on until the final whistle. The final score was 34-25.

Although disappointed, coach Moolman was first to congratulate his opponents.

“The wind was a powerful factor today. This was a true game of two halves as we played well in the first half and looked to be in control of things. We need to make the right decisions at the right times. That was lacking in the second half but it is understandable. The majority of our players are youngsters fresh from our junior structures. They will get it right soon.”

His assistant and backline coach Brendell Brandt concurred, saying the side has what it takes to bounce back strongly as the league progresses.

“I think we just have to focus on what we need to do. We are getting there,” said Brandt.