Monument kept their Virseker Cup playoff hopes alive by beating Menlopark 40-26 in Krugersdorp on Saturday. THEO GARRUN reports.
The win cemented their position in fourth place on the log behind Helpmekaar, Garsfontein and Transvalia after Helpmekaar beat Garsfontein 31-15 and Transvalia beat Nelspruit 33-19.
It was all Menlopark in the early stages of Saturday’s game. They were first on the board when their impressive flanker Marcell Mombers got the first of his two tries, off a lineout drive, with only four minutes gone. Monument bounced back with a try by Henco van Wyk, who ran a great angle to go over untouched.
Menlo got the next two touchdowns, the first by prop Jaco Britz to take them to 14-7 up at half-time, and then Mombers’ second straight after half-time to make it 21-7.
Menlo looked well in charge at that stage but then Van Wyk intercepted a pass inside his own 22 and fullback Jason Freeman rounded it off at the other end to put Monnas back in the game.
When scrumhalf Bernard van der Linde touched down his own kick ahead soon afterwards, Menlo went 26-12 ahead and looked sure to win. It was to be their last score in the game, though. The Monnas loose forwards, with eighthman Izan Esterhuizen shining, took control of the ball on the ground, flanker Franco Schutte stole a few crucial lineout balls and their backs began running from everywhere.
Van Wyk got two more touchdowns, making it a hat-trick for the provincial centre, with two other Golden Lions representatives – prop Ruben Westraad and flank Tristan Dullisier – also crossing over.
Mombers was huge for Menlopark while they were on top in the opening half as was No 8 Divan Venter and lock Tiaan de Klerk. Scrumhalf Van der Linde had to be watched closely.
Menlopark coach Wynand Moolman felt his side’s inexperience cost them in the end.
‘All credit to Monument, they were fantastic in the last quarter,’ he said, ‘but the fact that we had 10 Grade 11s in our ranks showed. We didn’t take control when we were up and made too many mistakes. It looks good for next year.’
Monument coach Tjaart van der Walt was disappointed with his side’s defence in the first half.
‘We tightened up in the second half, however, and when we began to speed up the game, they couldn’t stay with us,’ he said.
Monument – Tries: Henco van Wyk (3), Jason Freeman, Ruben Westraafd, Tristan Dullisier. Conversions: Zihan Coetzee (5).
Menlopark – Tries: Marcell Mombers (2), Jaco Britz, Bernard van der Linde. Conversions: Van der Linde (3).
Photo: Theo Garrun