Grey College run in four unanswered tries to extend winning streak against Paarl Boys’ High

A masterclass second half performance from Grey College from Bloemfontein at Brug Street in Paarl saw them thoroughly outplay hosts Paarl Boys’ High 37-3 (halftime: Grey 16-0 Boishaai) in the Premier Interschools season opener on Saturday, 8 May.

Three second half team tries along with a well-rounded performance in both open play and off the tee from Grey number ten and Supaquick man of the match, Jean Smith, son of Italy and former Cheetahs head coach Franco Smith, helped Grey extend their unbeaten streak to three against Boishaai since 2018, this win also breaks Boishaai’s unbeaten streak for the 2021 season.

The home side enjoyed most of the possession in the opening 15 minutes with captain Abu Ndabambi making some promising runs. He was well supported at the breakdown by Coetzee Le Roux, but it was Grey who drew first blood courtesy of a penalty conversion from flyhalf Juan Smith, 3-0.

Paarl Boys’ High did, however, have an opportunity to level matters but Cobus Louw’s first attempt at goal was not successful. Despite some enterprising attacking play from the home side and getting over the advantage line at regular intervals, it was an overthrown lineout five meters from the Grey try line at a critical moment in the first half that largely shifted the momentum in the opening half in the favour of Grey.

The visitors’ discipline at the ruck and set pieces ensured quality ball possession. Scrumhalf Caleb Abrahams dictated matters and marshalled his forwards with finesse allowing the talented Grey backs to run with freedom.

The home side’s forward pack’s defensive effort led by Le Roux, Ndabambi, and Luca Ribbens kept the visitors at bay, restricting them to just one try in the first half, it was, however, the boot of Smith, both from the tee and in open play that allowed the visitors to spend most of the second quarter of the first half inside Paarl Boys’ High territory.

A mammoth 70-metre penalty kick from Smith took play deep into Boishaai territory, a clinical lineout throw by Juanre Breitenbach saw the hooker crash over for the opening try of the match, Smith added the extras as the teams headed into the halftime break with Grey in a commanding 16-0 lead.

The halftime talk from the home side’s coach must have been a very inspirational one, they came out firing on all cylinders in the second half.

It took the Paarl Boys’ High nearly an hour, 45 minutes to be exact, to get their first points, this time Louw made no mistake with his penalty attempt, 16-3.

The boys from Paarl were a lot more clinical at the set pieces in the second half forcing Grey to concede four penalties in a space of ten minutes, but the visitors remain calm and cool under pressure. The home team’s skipper Ndabambi fumbled the ball between his legs inches away from scoring the home side’s first try, it was moments like these that gave Grey the psychological edge over their hosts.

For Grey, Diego Lottering and Alfondso Isaacs applied continual pressure on defense resulting in the hosts’ error count increasing as the final 10 minutes of the match approached. Meno Barnard was exceptional for Paarl Boys’ High especially at the lineout set piece, Barnard was impeccable in the air.

It was however the visitors along with Smith’s ability to dictate matters both on attack and defense that saw Grey score two tries within quick succession, the first going to Isaacs.

A Grey scrum on the halfway line set up the visitors’ second try, Smith’s deft grubber kick was collected by Isaacs who had two Paarl Boys’ High defenders to beat before diving over the whitewash. The second came as a result of some brilliant visionary and handling skills by loose forward Lukas Meyer, offloading to Abrahams. The Grey scrumhalf going in for boys from Bloemfontein’s third try, Smith converting both tries, 30-3.

The visitors were not done, a clinical chip kick in the final minute of the match from inside centre Alec McIntyre collected by his centre partner, Banie Britz, who ran nearly 60 metres to dive over in the left corner, Smith making no mistake from the tee and keeping his perfect record for the match, 7 from 7, intact.

A truly brilliant and clinical second half performance from Grey saw them walk away as the deserving winners, 37-3.

For Paarl Boys’ High: 3
Pen: Cobus Louw

For Grey: 37
Tries: Juanre Breitenbach, Alfondso Isaacs, Caleb Abrahams, Banie Britz
Cons: Jean Smith (4)
Pens: Smith (3)

Supaquick Man of the Match: Jean Smith

Paarl Boys’ High: 15 Jared Rees, 14 Luke van Schoor, 13 Keagan Smith, 12 Compion von Ludwig, 11 Ethan Isaacs, 10 Cobus Louw, 9 FC Fourie, 8 Abu Ndabambi (c), 7 Ruan Venter, 6 Meno Barnard, 5 Luca Ribbens, 4 Coetzee Le Roux, 3 Eddie du Toit, 2 Ruben Swanepoel, 1 SJ Kotze
Replacements: 16 Juan Small, 17 Hennie Du Preez, 18 Josh Pentz, 19 Dante Burger, 20 Louis Schlebusch, 21 Liam Kuperus, 22 Thurlon Williams, 23 AJ van Heerden

Grey College: 15 Gert Steyn, 14 Alfondso Isaacs, 13 Banie Britz, 12 Alec McIntyre, 11 Diego Lottering, 10 Jean Smith, 9 Caleb Abrahams, 8 Nelius Volschenk (c), 7 Lukas Meyer, 6 Ferdi Vergottini, 5 JF van Heerden, 4 Merwe Olivier, 3 Johan Louw, 2 Juanre Breitenbach, 1 Juann Else
Replacements: 16 Sebastian Meyer, 17 Johannes Botha, 18 Casper Bezuidenhout, 19 Kristof Du Randt, 20 Deleon Bernardt, 21 Jurie Geldenhuys, 22 Bradley Giddy, 23 Janco Scheepers

Reported by Lyndon Julius