Brandwag in close win

IN a typically tightly contested schools rugby derby, Brandwag eked out a hard- earned 17-15 win over Daniel Pienaar in their FNB Classic Clash at Brandwag in Uitenhage yesterday.

The two schools have fought some terrific battles over the years and yesterday's showdown proved no different.

Daniel Pienaar had a chance to snatch a dramatic win when they were awarded a penalty on the final hooter.

On the Brandwag 10m line and 2m in from touch, their only option was to go for poles, but it was a tough task for wing Devon Davidson. In wet conditions after some drizzle in the second half, he was not able to get the distance and a relieved Brandwag gathered the ball just short and wide of the left upright and gleefully booted it into touch.

Daniel Pienaar enjoyed their best periods just before half time and immediately after the break when they went from 9-0 down to 12-9 up, thanks to two tries by fullback Liaan Barnard and a conversion from Davidson.

Brandwag, however, showed fine grit in fighting back, thanks to some intelligent kicking by flyhalf Shevan Hendricks.

He levelled the scores at 12-12 with his third penalty in the 44th minute and when they had a 5m lineout after another penalty, hooker Nico Olivier powered over for a try, thanks to a solid driving platform from the Brandwag forwards.

Davidson reduced the gap to just a two-point margin, but the slippery conditions made it difficult for either side to produce constructive attacking movements in the later stages of the game.

Earlier, both sides seemed to be jittery on their big occasion, with numerous knock-ons stifling play in the opening 20 minutes. Brandwag, who were without star player Malcolm Jaer, playing for SA under-18, spent more time in Daniel Pienaar's half and this allowed the impressive Hendricks to slot two penalties and a drop goal.

Missing a few other regulars, Brandwag moved the dangerous Morne Moos to centre, but he was well looked after by the Daniel Pienaar midfield.

The Daniel Pienaar halfback pairing of Francois Nel and Tevin Williams tried hard to ignite their backs, but Brandwag proved up to the defensive task and a stalemate often ensued in midfield. It was a day Brandwag will remember, although Daniel Pienaar need not be down about their efforts. They battled courageously throughout and kept the result in the balance until the final whistle.