The SA President’s XV started their IRB Tbilisi Cup campaign strongly on Friday as they thumped Uruguay 37-9 in a one-sided encounter at the Avchala Rugby Stadium in Georgia.
The team scored six tries in total, three of which were earned in the first half.
No 8 Renaldo Bothma, who was promoted to the starting lineup earlier in the day as a replacement for the ill Zandré Jordaan (flu), was the first player to power his way over the tryline, with flank Uzair Cassiem and inside centre Adriaan Engelbrecht crossing the chalk minutes later to earn the side an encouraging 15-9 half time lead.
Scrumhalf Sinovuyo Nyoka was instrumental in all three tries thanks to his speedy and efficient distribution from the rucks and good decision-making.
The SA President’s XV continued their dominance in the second half with man-of-the-match Cassiem crossing the line for his second try, as well as wing Wilmaure Louw and prop Khwezilokusa Mkhafu for the runaway victory.
Such was the team’s dominance thanks to a good balance between effective attack and solid defence, the Uruguayans were forced to settle for two penalty goals and a drop goal to get onto the scoreboard.
The highlights of the clash for coach Jimmy Stonehouse will certainly be the team’s ability to string together phases on attack, their tenacious defence and the fact that Uruguay were forced to feed off the scraps for virtually the entire match.
However, Stonehouse is expected to place a big emphasis on more effective ball retention at the breakdowns and better use of their try-scoring opportunities in the build-up to their clash against Emerging Ireland next Tuesday, as they were rusty in those departments at crucial moments.
SA President’s XV scorers – Tries: Renaldo Bothma, Uzair Cassiem (2), Adriaan Engelbrecht, Wilmaure Louw, Khwezilokusa Mkhafu. Conversions: Ricardo Croy (2). Penalty goal: Croy.