Monash University won its internal rugby league match against Steinhoff South African Hellenic Association (SHA) on Wednesday, 31 to 25, but left many of its fans frustrated with their poor defense.
Steinhoff was racing for the goal line but while Monash players surrounded the ball-handler, none made an attempt to tackle, giving away an easy try.
“Do they play touch rugby when they practise?” one Monash fan said with frustration.
Steinhoff SHA’s strong tackling helped them keep up with Monash and with the score staying neck and neck throughout the match. After the first half, Monash led with 15 points while SHA was behind with only 10.
Despite the frustration from Monash supporters during the match, they were filled with enthusiasm and delight when their team ended with a victory against SHA.
Monash player Chris Ndanga said his team had one with several new players, with only four or five senior members on the field.
“They [SHA] tackled high which made them easy to defend off considering most of the guys in our team are smaller,” said Ndanga.
Ndanga acknowledged that the margin of victory could have been greater if they had given away fewer errors.
“I feel we could have won by a bigger margin if it wasn’t for a few defensive and handling errors,” Ndanga said.
The Monash match was one of three played on Wednesday night. In the other matches, Commerce took on the Midrand Graduate Institute (MGI) Tigers and Masakhane faced Men’s Residence.
MGI Tigers, who are newcomers to the internal rugby league, got off to a bad start and wound up losing to Commerce with a score of 7 to 16.
Widely considered to be one of the best teams in the internal league, Masakhane won with a score of 26 to 0 against Men’s Residence, even after three of their players were injured and had to be replaced.
Another two matches were scheduled for the evening, Engineers versus Knockando and the Medics versus SAUJS, but were cancelled because one of the fields was closed.
Despite the cold weather, the crowd sang songs and roared with energy throughout the night. Monash received the greatest support as family, friends and schoolmates came out to watch them leave Wits rugby grounds victoriously.