By Robbie White
It was with quite a shock that many Rhodes rugby players entered their first game of the year on Saturday February 24. In what was a hardfought game, many of the old cobwebs were hurled out onto the pitch, shaking up the field.
The game was played at The Oval in Grahamstown, a place known to be tough on the body as well as
the mind. Players from both teams seemed to hit the hard floor and have the wind knocked out of them
in an instant. Rhodes 1st seemed pretty rusty and the game involved much broken play and little structure yet, as per usual, it was played with intensity and passion and many of the boys sweated off what some may have drunk during their O-Week escapades.
Rhodes managed to hold out against the onslaught that attacked them and Jason Sterrenberg managed
to crash over, scoring one of the two tries for the Rhodes men during the match. The second went
to Brad Cannon and was followed by a penalty conversion. This put Rhodes in the lead, but closely followed by their rivals. In the last minutes of the game the opponents managed to score and take the lead
leaving Rhodes to stare as the first game of the season saw Rhodes losing by one point: 16 points to 15.
In another fixture which was played last weekend, Rhodes teams went down to Humansdorp to play a fixture which was for double points due to Rhodes’ inability to play the second fixture later in the year.
Two Rhodes teams went down. The second team lost in what was a tough encounter and the first team
game was played again with much vigour but was stopped due to the weather. The rain meant that both
teams were forced to keep it in the forwards and, with Rhodes out of physical contact, they found it
tough to put points on the board.
The backline saw little of the ball and handling errors were present for both teams. Set play was also a
problem and lineouts caused particular torment for Rhodes due to the slippery surface. Jeremy Roselt
was unfortunately injured during the game with a knee injury and caused some reshuffling in the backline.
The final score saw Rhodes go down again by a close margin of 16–12.
All things considered, however, one can see that rugby at Rhodes seems to be building. In a new league, with a new group to select from and little practice, the teams seem to be performing competitively and the future seems bright.