The Welwitschias 39-7 loss to the Hino Valke (Falcons) of South Africa in the first match of the 2018 SuperSport Rugby Challenge is a clear indication that a lot needs to be done if the team is to have any chance of winning a single match in this year’s competition.
The Welwitschias started off poorly in the match, with the Falcons opening up a 15 point advantage after 20 minutes, as Friedle Olivier and right wing Don Mlondobozi crossed for tries and scrumhalf Andries du Plessis kicking one conversion and a penalty.
Had Du Plessis had his kicking boots on, the score could have been far worse. The scrumhalf missed two conversions while inside centre Andrew van Wyk missed one.
Olivier scored his second try of the day five minutes before the break with Du Plessis missing the conversion attempt. After his miss, Du Plessis then scored a try, which he converted to give the Valke a comfortable 27-0 lead heading into half-time.
The second half was a quiet affair, but the Welwitschias made their presence felt when left wing, Janry du Toit, crossed over with scrumhalf, Eugene Jantjies, adding the two extra points that resulted in the home team trailing 27-7, but from there onwards it turned out to be a one-sided affair with the visiting team that lost 45-43 to the Welwitschias last year taking full control of the match.
Falcons winger, Nazeem Wood, scored halfway through the second half with Van Wyk failing to add the extras from a tight angle, before prop, Andries Schutte, barged over with flyhalf, Errol Jaggers, slotting the conversion to end the match 39-7 in favour of the Falcons.
Speaking after the match, Welwitschias coach, Lyn Jones, who was fully aware of his team’s slim chances of winning the match before it started, outlined his charges’ lack of match fitness as the main contributing factor to the loss.
“We are very much aware of the lack of match fitness as we were rusty in the match, especially the first 20 minutes. The Falcons were well organised, aggressive and had a better team spirit than us. But in the second half we improved a bit. Credit should go to the Falcons,” Jones said.
Despite the defeat, Jones remains positive for the next match which is against the Blue Bulls on Saturday, at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria.
“We are 10 times better than them (Falcons) this year than last year. We just allowed them in the match and got punished for it. We are looking forward to the next match,” Jones said.
Welwitschias captain in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge, Rohan Kitshoff, also said he remains positive about his team’s chances going forward.
He said the team is using the SuperSport Rugby Challenge as an audition for the Currie Cup Competition which will be held later this year.
“This is definitely not the start we wanted. It has been a while since we played. We have lots of work ahead of us. We just need to improve because once the Currie Cup first division starts, we should make sure that we are well prepared. We were not that bad and the score was not a true reflection of the match,” Kitshoff said.