Kuils River RFC lost 27-19 against champions Bellville in a nail biting Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) 7s club series final, at the Goodwood sports grounds, at the weekend.
Despite going down in the final, they went one step further than last year, where they lost to Maties in the semi-finals. They were also one of the most consistent teams throughout the competition, winning 19 and losing only three matches.
Kuils River qualified for the last-round of 32 after picking up 15 wins and two defeats in the five-week round-robin stages that ended last weekend. This saw them finish in second place with 75 points in pool B, one point behind former champions Maties. However, Maties went down 14-7 to Maccassar in the last round of 16, which could possibly have been the biggest upset of the competition.
This year’s competition saw 36 teams competing. Twenty-five of them are Super League sides and the rest are clubs that play in the City, Southern and Northern leagues.
Clubs were divided in two groups of 18 with the bottom two of pool A and B being eliminated after the pool stages were finished, last weekend.
On Saturday, the boys in blue and yellow got their knock-out stage off to the perfect start, beating beating the Police 64-0. They went on to beat Durbell and Super League B President’s Cup champions Young Peoples 17-5 and 19-12 in the last-round of 16 and quarter-finals, respectively.
In the semi-finals they came up against a touted UWC side, who earned their spot in the semis after defeating Super League A champions, False Bay RFC. The match against the Kuila Boys went down to the wire with Kuils River walking away 14-12 victors, setting them up for a bumper of a final match against Bellville.
The final could have gone either way as the champions held a narrow lead of 15-14 at the break.
The second half saw Bellville scoring two tries while Kuils River could only score one try through Griffith Temba. Despite the loss, it was a good way to end off the Kuila Boys’ season after they were relegated from WPRFU Super League A.
Coach Alfonso Warnich said he was satisfied with his players’ performances throughout the six-week competition.
“We had injuries to key players in the final but we gave it our all. To lose three games throughout the competition is a huge positive moving forward. My players can take heart of their performances and keep their heads up high,” he said.
Warnich said what kept his players motivated was last year’s semi-final defeat to former champions Maties.
“The goal was to win the tournament after being eliminated by Maties last year. In the knockout stages we played to our strengths and we knew the weaknesses of the teams we faced there because we played some of them in the round-robin phase,” he said.
Although the WPRFU 7s series came to an end, Kuils River’s Jarryd Pennings, Griffith Temba and Jayden Hanslo were selected to be part of the All Star 7s squads after doing well in the WPRFU 7s series. They will take on the Blitzbokke, two Western Province sides and Maties in the All Star tournament, set to take place in Goodwood, on Saturday.
Warnich said this was a great initiative by Western Province because it is a great motivation for the players.
“The players selected deserve to be there but it would have been great to have more players,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hands&Heart were knocked out in the cup quarter-finals going down 19-14 against surprise packages Kylemore. Brackenfell lost 41-0 to Maties in the plate semi-finals while Kraaifontein went dowm 31-14 against Maties in the plate quarter-finals.
Maties were crowned plate champions beating Helderberg 24-14. Debutants Collegians hammered Bo-Kaap side Young Stars 36-5 to be crowned shield champions. Elsies River were crowned bowl champions beating Eerste Rivier 29-10. Also see page 7.