Affies scored a try with the last movement of the game to snatch a 45-41 win at Jeppe on Saturday. THEO GARRUN reports.
Jeppe had gone 41-38 ahead with four minutes to go and looked like they would close out the game and claim their first-ever victory against Affies.
Jeppe kicked a penalty deep into Affies territory and just had to win the lineout and kick it out. They were penalised for time-wasting, however, and Affies ran the length of the field, ending up with wing Eric Sherman diving over in the corner and breaking the home side’s hearts.
There were 11 tries in the game, six by Affies and five by Jeppe, as the lead changed sides several times in a thrilling contest in which neither team was prepared to throw in the towel. Affies were 24-10 behind at half-time so their comeback was remarkable, especially considering that they were badly disrupted by injuries during the game.
Jeppe ran everything at their opposition, a tactic that came agonisingly close to working. Captain Muzi Manyike was outstanding, scoring a try and having a hand in several others. He was a handful for the Affies defence throughout. Jeppe flyhalf Declan Raubenheimer is an elegant player who showed some deft touches, while the Jeppe forwards, lock Junior White, flank Vuyane Nqaba and prop Kegan Litchfield were fearless on the drive.
Affies flyhalf Regardt Roets was at the centre of much that they did and his goal-kicking – he never missed a shot at goal all afternoon – was what won the game for them in the end. Both Affies wings, Jason Scheepers and Eric Sherman, were full of pace, while their tight forwards, prop Dewald Donald and hooker Janco Uys, and both locks Zhander Schmidt and Chris Kamffer, in particular, dominated the set pieces.
The first half was all Jeppe. Prop Sibusiso Shongwe got their first try, following a driving maul in the sixth minute, before Affies equalised via wing Scheepers. Jeppe got two more touchdowns, by flank Nqaba and Manyike. Roets added a penalty for Affies, making it 24-10 to Jeppe at the break.
Affies started the second half strongly. They scored two quick tries, via Donald and Uys, to draw level at 24-24. A flurry of tries followed as both sides went all out on attack. Jason Scheepers put Affies ahead when he intercepted a pass in his own half and ran 60m to score, making it 31-24 to Affies. Raubenheimer closed the gap to four points with a penalty and scrumhalf Kabelo Mokhethi put Jeppe ahead with the first of his two tries.
Three minutes later, Affies were ahead again when replacement Brendan Kelbrick forced his way over to make it 38-34. Jeppe went straight back on the attack and launched multiple attacks close to the Affies line before Mokhethi darted over for his second try. That put Jeppe 41-38 ahead but Affies weren’t finished and Sherman got his late winner.
Affies coach Jaco Koch praised his side’s never-say-die attitude.
‘We have had to come back from behind for the third week in a row and this time it meant a win, which was pleasing,’ he said. ‘We were disrupted by the injuries, but Jeppe played very well, it’s never easy playing there and they put us under a lot of pressure.’
Jeppe coach Carl Spilhaus believes inexperience let them down.
‘We should have closed the game down after we got that late try but couldn’t do it. It’s a young team, and I’m happy with their progress.’
Affies – Tries: Jason Scheepers (2), Dewald Donald, Janco Uys, Brendan Kelbrick, Eric Sherman. Conversions: Regardt Roets (6). Penalty: Roets.
Jeppe – Tries: Sibusiso Shongwe, Vuyane Nqaba, Muzi Manyike, Kabelko Mokhethi (2). Conversions: Declan Raubenheimer (5). Penalties: Raubenheimer (2).
Photo: Theo Garrun