Virseker Cup defending champions Monument are up against new guns Helpmekaar in the competition’s final at the LC De Villiers stadium in Pretoria on Saturday, writes THEO GARRUN.
It’s Helpmekaar’s first season in the top division – they played in the big schools (B league) section in previous years – and they surprised friend and foe with their consistent excellence which saw them all the way through.
They did lose a few games early on in the season, but when it came down to the closing stages of this competition, they produced the necessary string of results, including beating Monument 27-18 in a pool game, and Transvalia (who they had lost to earlier) in the semi-finals.
Monument bounced back from that defeat to beat Garsfontein comfortably in their semi-final. They have had an up-and-down season, by their high standards, but have a reputation for rising to the occasion in finals.
Monnas will be missing their star flanker Tristan Dullisear, who is with the SA Schools side, but they are bristling with Craven Week players and, on paper, look like the favourites.
It doesn’t work that way, of course, which is something both coaches are aware of. ‘They are a very good team,’ Monument coach Tjaart van der Walt told SARugbymag.co.za. ‘We didn’t play well when we last met and didn’t deserve to win, but that loss made us realise that we will have to be at our best to beat them on Saturday.’
Helpmekaar coach Shaun Jackson said they came into the competition without expecting to go this far and they are ready to give it one more go.
‘This age group didn’t do well down the years, and it was our first time against the top schools,’ he said. ‘We have done very well and I am very proud of what these boys have achieved.’
For both teams, it has been business as usual this week. ‘It’s a different mental challenge of course,’ said Van der Walt. ‘But it’s too late to change anything now, we have to do what we have done well in the past again on Saturday.’
Jackson said they have got this far by building on their structures, and they will have to carry that into Saturday’s game. ‘We won’t be changing anything and if things go to plan, we should be in with a chance.’
It’s going to be a cracker.
Shield final – Oos-Moot vs Ben Vorster (8am)
Plate final – Noordheuwel vs Eldoraigne (10am)
Cup final – Monument vs Helpmekaar (12:30pm)