On this day - 14 December 1957 - 64 years ago, Fred Griffiths, nicknamed ‘Poensie’ at home and ‘Punchy’ overseas, made his British rugby league debut for Wigan against Widnes. However, it took him time to adjust to rugby league. In 1958-59, he became a regular in the side. He kicked six goals as Wigan retained the Challenge Cup, beating Hull 30-13. He had played – and scored - in every round of the Cup run. His goal kicking helped him to top the national point’s scorers chart for the season, with 394 goals. His 176 goals was a Wigan club record. Further success followed in 1959-60, when he again kicked six goals in a final, this time in the Championship, as Wigan beat Wakefield Trinity 27-3. In 1962 he experienced defeat for the first time in a rugby league final. He scored all Wigan’s points in a 12-6 defeat to St Helens in the Challenge Cup. He played twice for a Rugby League XIII in 1961–62, against the New Zealand tourists and against a French XIII. In June 1962 he played as a guest for Wakefield Trinity on their tour of South Africa. He left Wigan in November 1962, having completed the five years of his original contract.
Gauteng Cowboys 22 - 14 North West Warthogs - The game stopped after 40 minutes as a result of lightning.
Eastern Eagles vs Mpumalanga Panthers - Game cancelled due to lightning.
Regional Competition derailed by Lightning
As was the case with the start of the inter-club competition, climate change had the final say in the outcome of the first round of matches for the Jan Prinsloo Regional Cup competition played over the weekend of 4 December. Whereas the Gauteng Cowboys and Northwest Warthogs were at least able to make it to the kick-off, the match between the Eastern Eagles and Mpumalanga Panthers had to be abandoned even before it started. The notorious Highveldt lightning in both cases, had the final say.
After four rounds of club competition, both the Cowboys and Warthogs were raring to go. In a season severely disrupted by lockdown and other pandemic control measures, the tasking of writing an own history was surely upfront in the mind of most. Displaying increased levels of fitness, both teams gave it their best. In the space of 40 minutes in which play was possible, attack was the name of the game. The Gauteng Cowboys, marshalled by Hendrik Mulder and Jean Coetzer, led the way and scored four well-deserved tries. Mulder added a further three conversions to give the Cowboys a healthy stash of 22 well-earned points. Cream of the crop in the try-scoring stakes were Francois Lottering, followed by Mulder and Ayanda Swartbooi.
But the Warthogs were in no mood to simply roll over and surrender. Staging a spirited fightback and displaying attacking skills of their own, they responded by crossing the Cowboy white-wash three times. Getting their name on the score sheet were Francois Trollip, Marcelle Corneelsen, and Jacques Stander. Kicker Timothy Scherman, however, only succeeded in converting one try. With the game finely balanced, Mother Nature intervened and forced the players off the field. With heavy lightning ruling the rest of the period, the game was finally abandoned with the final score at 22-14.
Game 1 - Gauteng Cowboys 22 - 14 North West Warthogs
Cowboys – Tries
Francois Lottering x 2
Hendrik Mulder 3
Warthogs – Tries
Game stopped after 40 minutes as a result of lightning.
Game 2 - Eastern Eagles vs Mpumalanga Panthers
Game cancelled due to lightning
Round Three of the Protea Cup saw all four clubs really getting down to the business of playing high-tension and competitive league. The Tomahawks were the first to throw down the gauntlet by stopping the log-leaders, the Loskop Leopards, in their tracks. Displaying a ruthless efficiency, the Axe Men, crossed the Leopards goal-line a record seven times. The failure of the team’s principal kickers to convert every one of the hard-won tries, however, prevented the team from registering a more comprehensive win. Leopards, however, never gave up and scored four tries of their own. Likewise, their kickers only converted two tries. The end result, a close of 36-21.
As respectable title contestants, Wolverines and the Silverbacks were equally good value for money. Both played only their second match in this year’s competition. They went into the round with full knowledge of the different games and points advantage that the Leopards already had to their credit. Both teams understood the danger of mediocrity and under-performance. What was required was nothing less than a championship performance. A drawn match and shared match-points would, in the long run, only benefit the Loskop stalkers.
The end result was an all-action try-festival in which both clubs contributed a collective total of 13 tries. Of these, the Wolverines scored six and the Silverbacks seven. Werner Barnard, in a master-class of goal-kicking, converted all six of the Wolverines tries and helped them to secure a 36 – 28 victory. This performance resulted in him winning the weekly Golden Boot of the Week Award. The kickers of the Silverbacks, however, failed to convert any of their seven-goal kicks into points. In the process, they forfeited 14 points and a potential victory to boot. This notwithstanding, the current points table indicates that all four sides are still in contention for the eventual league title. As far as the points difference is concerned, the Leopards is topping the log with 47 over three games, while the Tomahawks boasted with 35 after a similar number of matches.
SALSA Protea cup
Match 1 - Tomahawks 36 - 21 Leopards
Tomahawks - Tries
Luigi Cirigliano 2,
Jeandre Muller 2,
P v Heerden,
G Gendall 2
Match 2 - Wolverines 36 - 28 Silverbacks
Wolverines - Tries
Gerald Gibson 2
Franco Cloete 2
Werner Barnard 6
Silverbacks - Tries
Stephan Andreson 2,
Mathew Reynolds 2,
Zuke Da Wula,
Hat-trick Try-scorer of the Week:
Double-Header Try-scorer of the Week:
Stephan Andreson 2 (Silverbacks)
Mathew Reynolds 2 (Silverbacks)
Gerald Gibson 2 (Wolverines)
Franco Cloete 2 (Wolverines)
Luigi Cirigliano 2 (Tomahawks)
Golden Boot of the Week:
Werner Barnard 6 (Wolverines)
Round 4 of the Kobus Botha Rhino Cup, played over the past weekend, witnessed the resurgence of at least three of the log leaders. Although the Vultures continued to feast after achieving their fourth victory in a row, the margin between winning and losing is definitely shrinking. TuksRL Reds was full-value for money, but they forced the cherry-and-whites to work hard for their log points. In the end, the difference was two extra tries scored by Shaun Matsane and the pinpoint goal-kicking of Stevan Kok.
In the other feature match of the weekend, the Grizzlies demonstrated their profound commitment to challenging the current dominance of the Vultures. Following their 56 -20 defeat of Pretoria, they have narrowed the gap at the top of the log to only five points. Similarly, the points difference at the top-end of the record also started to decrease and currently stood at 44 in favour of the Vultures. Timothy Scherman, with his 8 conversions, deservedly won the weekly Golden Boot of the Week Award.
Everything is, however, not lost for the Capitols. With one game in hand, the Pretoria RLC is still in a favourable position and is at this stage only trailing the frontrunners by one, four and nine points, respectively. One game and several bonus points in the next round will make a world of difference. As indicated previously, as a founding league club in the country, much is expected from the Pretorians.
Like Pretoria, Spartans, with its two wins out of four, continue to be a factor and occupy the third position. The newcomers may just have a real say in what the future rounds and their associated results may look like. It is, however, dangerous to simply regard them as mere also-rans. The Spartans, true to their name and fearless commitment to the cause, possesses enough skill and ability to stamp their own imprint on this year’s competition.
With the Brits Bulldogs sitting in the middle of the points table, the possibilities are endless. Always dangerous and known for their tenacity, the opposition should not discount the threat of having to play them on their home ground. With ambitions of its own, they are intent on scalping, especially the Pretorians – irrespective of flag or colour.
At this stage of the competition, the Tuks Collective is firmly anchoring the bottom of the table. They are joined by the Witbank Knights. This state of affairs is not wholly surprising given the pressure of year-end exams and the massive impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the academic fraternity. With educational priorities firmly at the top of the student agenda, the final resurgence of the Tukkie Rugby League may only follow at the tail-end of the season. It would, however, be prudent of the other clubs to remain strategic in their planning and not make a mistake of underestimating the commitment, ability and pride of the Tukkie Collective. To do so, may just introduce the x-factor into this year’s competition. The only time they will tell.
The Knights, on the other hand, is struggling to get out of the blocks. Judging by their historical record, they do have the ability to compete with the rest. The pandemic, however, seemed to have affected the club more than others. SA Rugby League remains committed to assisting and bringing them back to full competitiveness.
Results of Kobus Botha Rhino Cup 27 Nov. 2021
Match 1 - Pretoria RLC 20 - 56 Grizzlies
Pretoria - Tries
Adriaan Karelse 2
Grizzlies – Tries
Herman Pretorius 3
Ockert Roos 2
Brandan Le Sar
Timothy Scherman 8
Match 2 - St Helen’s Vultures 24 - 12 TuksRL Reds
Vultures – Tries
Shaun Matsane 2,
Stevan Kok 4
TuksRL Red – Tries
Jean Coetzer 2
Other Results -
Match 3 - Spartans 36 - 0 TuksRL Blues
Match 4 - Brits Bulldogs 36 - 0 Witbank Knights
Hat-trick Try-scorer of the Week:
Herman Pretorius 3 (Grizzlies)
Double-Header Try-scorer of the Week:
Shaun Matsane 2 (Vultures)
Ockert Roos 2 (Grizzlies)
Golden Boot of the Week:
Timothy Scherman 8 (Pretoria)