GRAAFF-REINET RUGBY NEWS - Union High School travelled to Port Elizabeth on 25 May to face Westering High School in the two schools’ much-anticipated annual derby day.
A very early start to the day and a three hour bus trip tested the Union players’ character from the get-go.
The rugby games started at 09:15 on dewy fields, which made handling very tough for both schools.
The willingness to succeed and teamwork proved to be the difference in the junior ranks. UHS won two out of the three junior matches, which encouraged the senior teams to give it their all.
The second team once again proved way too strong for their opponents and dominated all facets of the game. This was a true reflection of the depth Union has in the senior rugby ranks and the benefit of the first and second team practicing well together.
Union’s 1st XV stated their intentions from the first whistle, as Zusakhe Ngwane leaped into the air to reclaim possession from a Jaden Brotherton kick-off. This moment set the tone for the rest of the match as Union put Westering under pressure for the duration of the game.
Westering defended admirably, but after 15 minutes of continuous defence, Junior Duba broke the line untouched to score under the poles. Brett Amsterdam added the conversion.
A few minutes later, a lack of discipline led to a Westering penalty. The score now read 7-3 in favour of UHS.
Union continued to apply pressure but failed to convert the hard work into points. Westering pounced on a defensive error and scored an unconverted try. The score now stood at 8-7 in Westering’s favour after 18 minutes of play.
Union, however, regained composure and controlled the pace at which the game was played.
Holding onto possession and continuity, led to Junior Duba crossing over for his second try. Brett Amsterdam converted to put Union 14- 8 ahead. Five minutes later, Khwezi Simon dotted over for a well-worked team try. The conversion was missed and the score now stood at 19-8 in favour of Union’s 'Mighty Whites'.
A lack in depth on attack and playing away from the ball, saw Westering intercept a pass and score a converted try for the score to read 19-15 in Union’s favour.
Under a bit of scoreboard pressure, Zusakhe Ngwane showed his experience by quick tapping a penalty to put Ashton Dawids in space to cross over in the corner. Brett Amsterdam used the wind well to slot a difficult touchline conversion. Union went into half time 26-15 up.
The second half started off very similar to the beginning of the match, as Union continued to apply pressure to Westering's defence. They continued to defend with all their might, but individual brilliance from Junior Duba saw him cross the whitewash for his hat-trick. Brett Amsterdam converted to increase Union’s lead to 33-15.
Westering replied with a good chip and gather try. They converted to make the score stand at 33-22.
Wonderful skills and interplay by Union’s backline then led to a try by Brett Amsterdam. He converted to take Union’s tally to 40 points.
With five minutes to go on the clock, Union broke through the heart of Westering's defence and saw the UHS backline casually shift the ball from fly-half to wing untouched with no defenders in sight. Junior Duba crossed the line to score his fourth try of the game.
Union won the match 45-22.
The try scorers for Union, were Junior Duba (4), Khwezi Simon, Ashton Dawids and Brett Amsterdam.
Brett Amsterdam successfully converted 5 from 7.
The other matches during the course of the morning, saw Union’s u.14A's lose, the u.15A's win 19-15, the u.16A's win 25-20 and the second team win 48-3.
The school extends its thanks to all the parents and old scholars for their loyal support of Union’s sports teams.
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