16 minutes into the game, JP Brider gave Mopanie the lead by scoring a try which was accompanied by a successful kick from Rynhardt Breytenbach. Both teams made remarkable attempts to score and both exercised exceptional defence.
Christian Coetzee scored the second try of the game along with a successful kick from Breytenbach, which put Mopanie further ahead, suggesting that the win would be theirs.
Maroela made a remarkable comeback 26 minutes into the game, with a try scored by Erich Fourie and a successful kick by Francois Essellen. At 20:10, the referee declared half-time, with the scoreboard showing 10-14 to Mopanie.
In the second half Mopanie’s Willem Hofmeyr scored a try, furthering their lead by seven points, with a conversion kicked by Breytenbach. Maroela was awarded a penalty kick soon after, which was excellently executed by Francois Essellen, raising their score by three points. It seemed like it was only then that Maroela grew hungry for the win, as Peter Symons and Francois Essellen scored two consecutive tries followed by successful kicks by Breytenbach, finally putting them in the lead. From here on to the end, the Maroela spectators’ nerves were shot, as Mopanie set off on a tremendous offense, nearly scoring multiple times.
At 20:50 the referee blew the final whistle, declaring the end of a tremendously tough game. Maroela won with a score of 27- 21 despite being behind in the first half. The stadium echoed with cheers from the winning team and their supporters. Wilhelm Truter, one of the Maroela coaches, stated in an interview that they owe their success to keeping their composure and staying calm, despite the apprehension they experienced beforehand.
Another one of Maroela’s coaches, Gary van Aswegen, added that the established culture and unity within the team contributed to their success, saying “what wins cups is culture.” Truter said they will continue to work hard for the Varsity Cup: Res League as they will show up to win, and nothing less.
Photo: Michelle Hartzenberg