Paarl Gimnasium and the Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool of Pretoria (Affies) set the bar quite high in the opening match of this year’s Premier Interschools program. Gimmies won the first interschools’ encounter between the two schools after a dramatic finish by 35-33 at home in Paarl.
Paarl Gim’s flyhalf, Daniël Beukes, had to slot a conversion more than four minutes into extra time to secure his side the victory. Beukes kept his 100 percent kicking record when he converted the try of lock Adriaan Ludick for the victory.
Ludick stormed over after a tap penalty about five meters from Affies’ try-line with four minutes that passes since the hooter went. Paarl Gim got a few penalties in the last few minutes of the match and exerted a lot of pressure on the visitor’s defence. Gim kept possession for 11 phases before the penalty was awarded from which Ludick scored the levelling try.
Affies’ prop James Combrinck was also sent to the sin bin about six minutes before Ludick crashed over. The team from Pretoria had to defend their try-line with just 14 men while Paarl Gimnasium was throwing everything and the kitchen sink at them to take the spoils.
With nine more minutes left on the clock Affies’ wing Ruben Meiring scored his second try which at that moment seemed like the deciding score. Meiring is the son of former Springbok FA Meiring.
Affies led by 33-28 after this try, which was a result of some excellent interplay by the visitors’ forwards. The No. 8 Philip Potgieter, lock Michael de Waal and hooker Janco Uys all amongst the players handling the ball before Meiring scored in the corner.
Gim’s SA Schools fullback and captain, Muller du Plessis, was in devastating form in the first half scoring a brace of tries as his side quickly build up a healthy 21-7 lead. Du Plessis missed his side’s first outing of the season against Stellenberg (31-19) and looked hungry from the get go against Affies.
Du Plessis is the son of former Transvaal as well as SA Schools’ fullback, Charl du Plessis. His older brother JP du Plessis also represented the SA Schools’ side in 2009 as well played senior rugby for the EP Kings.
Affies then fought back scoring 14 unanswered points to go into the break with only a two-point deficit. Their scrumhalf, Johan Mulder, scored his second try a few minutes into the second half to give Affies a 26-21 lead.
It would not be right not to mention the names of Gim’s No.8 Henco Martins and their two locks, Adriaan Ludick and Ryno Beukes, for the role they played in the victory. Affies will be more than happy with their performance in the scrums. They had the total upperhand in this facet of the game.