It wasn’t the start they were hoping for but all is not lost for Peninsula FC in their quest for promotion to the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) Super League C (SLC).
They lost their first game 10-33 against Violets at home at the weekend in a race for a finish in the top two, which guarantees a spot in the SLC next season.
The promotional league is made of nine teams, three each from the City, Southern and Northern leagues.
The top two teams get automatic promotion while the third place finishers go to another play-off round against the side finishing in last place in the SLC.
Albions, Hamediehs, Masiphumelele, CPUT, Noordelikes, Eerste River and Blakes make up the rest of the top nine in the promotional league.
Speaking about their opening loss, coach Juwayne Johnson said his side had the opportunities to pull off of victory but let themselves down by missing crucial one-on-one tackles.
His side also played with 14 men early in the first half when hooker Dean de Vos was given a yellow card. Despite the defeat, Johnson feels his side will come back stronger in their next encounter.
“This past weekend does injustice to our attacking ability. We have a lot of fire power given that we are disciplined on the day and stick to the tactical play.
“Violets wasn’t easy competition. However, they had to work for their tries so I believe the confidence of Peninsula players kicked up a gear. We definitely know exactly what to expect now from any team.”
Johnson says his charges are still in with a chance with seven more games to play.
“We have what it takes and we believe we can (win promotion). It won’t be easy though but we got here by giving our best and we will continue giving our best.
Peninsula are not in action this weekend as they enjoy a bye. The extra time should come in handy for the side as they prepare for their second promotional match against Hamediehs on Saturday August 17.
“This break is good for getting perspective. The guys will enjoy the weekend off, however, we’ve added a training day.
“We want to dominate each set piece, have resilient defence, our attacking ability is yet to be seen in the top-9 play-offs,” said Johnson.
They finished the regular season having won 10 of their 12 games and taking third place in the Southern League, behind undefeated Noordelikes and CPUT.
In other promotional action, Albions were 37-20 victors against Hamediehs while Noordelikes beat Eeste River 22-17.
Blakes had a bye this weekend and will be looking to start their campaign with a win at home against Albions. They had an impressive season, topping the Northern League, having won 10 of their 11 games.
Violets also finished their regular season on a near perfect record, winning 11 of their 12 games and ending top of the City League.
Their only blemish came in the last game of the season, a 10-all draw against Hamediehs.
The weekend results was a good start for Violets but they’ll be aware they need to produce the same performance if they are to reach their target of promotion.
Their next big test will come in the form of CPUT away from home.
CPUT made light work of Masiphumelele at the weekend, winning the match 36-5. CPUT scored a massive 107 tries this season compared to Violets’ 69, but Violets will rely on their strong defensive play to get the results.
Violets only allowed 77 points against them throughout the regular season, the least conceded by all teams in the promotional league.
Masiphumelele will welcome Noordelikes and are looking to bounce back from the loss against CPUT. However, Noordelikes will be tough opponents for Masiphumlele.
On paper they look like the strongest side after finishing the season with a 100% win record, to finish top of the Southern League.
Masiphumelele will hope to replicate the same performance that led to a second place finish in the City League, where they only lost once, to Violets.
Hamediehs will also be looking for their first win when they play hosts to Eerste River.
A loss for either side will be damaging in their quest for promotion as they both lost their first encounters.
Hamediehs sneaked into promotional league after finishing level on points with Young Ideas for the third spot on the log.
They made it through by virtue of having a superior points’ difference. There is not much to separate the two sides as they had a near similar record in their respective leagues.