Local sport

White River thrash Barberton to continue unbeaten start

White River Rugby Club remain top of the Ehlanzeni Premier League log.

A rampant White River Rugby Club (WRRC) annihilated the defending Ehlanzeni and Mpumalanga champions, Barberton Rugby Club (BRC), 53-6 on Saturday May 18. This means White River are now unbeaten in their first three games of the new season.

The Ehlanzeni Premier League match was played at the WRRC in front of a huge crowd of supporters of both teams.

The men in the red-and-white hooped jerseys were in sublime form, running in eight tries to nil.

The first half was a scrappy affair, with both teams making too many unforced errors and conceding too many penalties.
WRRC scored first from a maul, with Visser Maas claiming the five points. Stephan van der Bank’s conversion effort was unsuccessful.

Cassie Jansen put BRC’s first points on the board with a penalty goal midway though the first half.

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Maas claimed his second try shortly afterwards when the BRC gifted the home team possession on their own try line. Van der Bank converted and added a penalty goal to give WRRC a 13-3 half-time lead.

What was said in the home team changing room at half-time would not be printable in a community newspaper, but WRRC came out on fire in the second half.

The BRC were a shadow of the team they have been in these past two seasons and were dominated in every aspect of play. The WRRC were particularly strong in the scrums, and this combined with poor decision-making from the BRC gave them the possession needed.

Boeta Botha claimed a try early in the second half after WRRC had attacked from deep inside their own half. Van der Bank slotted the conversion between the uprights.

Marcelino Marais scored next for the home team. An overlap was created on the right wing and Marais was not going to be stopped once he received the try-scoring pass. Van der Bank added the two points.

Botha scored his second try on shortly thereafter, making a mockery of BRC’s defence. The try was not converted.

Barberton could simply not put together enough phases to threaten, although WRRC did defend well. The visitors’ only other points came from a drop goal by Jansen.

WRRC were back on attack after the restart from the drop goal, and this led to Juan Bester claiming a try, which Van der Bank converted.

Prince Ndlovu scored the home team’s next try after collecting a well-judged chip kick by Van der Bank, who also added the two points.

The final try was scored by Ernest Mthethwa. The ball was hacked forward and Mthethwa’s speed could not be matched. Once again Van der Bank was successful with the conversion.

It was a well-deserved win for the home team. BRC were woeful on defence and poor in the set pieces. The defending champions have a lot of work to do on the training field if they want to retain their titles.

The home club won the second team match 48-5, and BRC won the third team game 22-19.

• The Rooikat Rugby Club in Lydenburg hosted their old rivals, Nelspruit Rugby Club, on Saturday in some Ehlanzeni Premier League matches.

Nelspruit won the first team match 81-19, while the visitors’ third team defeated the home club’s second team 19-12.

The Ehlanzeni Mayor’s League results from Saturday were:
• Matsulu vs Ngodwana: 22-15
• University of Mpumalanga vs Ratels (Ohrigstad): 26-5.

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