The Sprinkler dampens Villagers’ night:

On a perfect evening down at Brookside, the sparse crowd (well, the visitors, anyway) were in for a little pre-Super14 semi treat.
With many regular starting XV players absent due to unfortunate injury or exams, a “makeshift” Ish Dramat took the field. This is not to say, however, that their skill and enthusiasm would be diminished. On the contrary, the chance for some of the newbies to impress, and the stalwarts to let off some exam stress culminated in one of the most complete displays of rugby seen all season.

UCT applied the pressure early on, and their attitude on the night was expressed through their decision to go for touch in a perfectly kickable position, with neither side troubling the scorers as yet. The lineout was taken easily. What followed was an object of beauty, myth, legend… The Sprinkler!

Needless to say, the opposition was completely stunned by this well-worked, bizarre move. On it wound down the far touchline, being brought to ground (illegally, some might say) just inches short of the line. Out came the quick ball to Ian Armstrong, with a sharp step and offload to Stefan Swanich, who went over for his first of would be a brilliant hat-trick of tries. He converted his own try to take UCT 7-0 ahead after not much time at all.

A similar pattern followed for the next 20 minutes, piling up the pressure, forcing the infringement at breakdown, going for the corner, and letting the unstoppable pack demolish anything in sight, before the slick backline topped off the phases in style. By halftime the score stood at 21-3, with nothing but a cricket score looming on the horizon for the stunned Dirty Whites.
Most sides in this position would have all but given up, instead trying to limit the damage as far as possible. But to give credit where it is due, Villagers came out after lunch desperate to get in some quick wickets. All of a sudden the visitors were sent into defense mode, with wave after wave of attacks threatening to break through at any stage… But it was only ever going to be just that, a threat. The next 20 minutes, 10 of those with a man down, saw some incredibly organized, ferocious defending. So much so, it seemed the Villagers’ physio was doing more running than anyone else!

Try as they may, they just couldn’t penetrate the Blue and White wall. Eventually, with a return a to a numerically even playing field, that defensive effort turned into frustration for the hosts, and play was forced back up field. It seemed though, that UCT may have lost out on securing a much needed bonus point, until in the last movement, Swanich appeared with the ball, unmarked down the far touchline to dot down under the sticks for a thrilling 28-3 victory. A perfect way to end the first half of the season.

Scorers: Tries – S. Swanich (3), R McKernon
Conversions – Swanich (4)
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