St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Rugby St George's Park - Eastern Province vs Orange Free State - July 1949
Eastern Province vs Orange Free State - July 1949
James Hattle

One is, I think, always to prepared to forgive mistakes on the rugby field if two sides are making sincere efforts to play bright, open rugby.

And if it is true that we saw mistakes in the OFS - EP game at Crusader Ground on Saturday, July 28, 1949, it is also certain that we saw much that was delightful and spectacular to behold in what was surely the most pleasing inter-provincial game seen in Port Elizabeth for some time.

With a strong spirit of adventure ever present, it was, perhaps, natural that the constructive side of the game should have been neglected to some extent, and errors in covering up on defence resulted in the play moving from one side of the field to the other in almost bewildering fashion with the fluctuation of fortunes favouring the Free Staters, who crossed the Province line for two remarkable tries.

Free State deserved their win even if they had to wait until the closing minutes to snatch victory from the home team’s grasp, but in a game of this nature the score is surely not of primary importance.

The Province side were, themselves, unlucky not to score on two or three occasions, but if there was a fault in their performance it was the tendency of their backs to become a little too mechanical in their passing movements.

There has been much criticism of late of the Province inside backs to feed their speedy wings.

Their response to this criticism was to swing the ball out to their outside men on every conceivable occasion, with the result that Malcolm Gillmer and Ronnie Allin saw more of the ball in this game than they have done in all the other provincial matches put together.

But far too often they received the ball before they were into top speed and it was this tendency to whip the ball out along the line a shade too eagerly that marred the quiet useful displays given by Trevor Mills and Billy Sendin.

There were, however, occasions when the Eastern Province line moved very well indeed, and Peter Luyt, at fly-half, who has been very ordinary this year, gave a much better display than many of his others, obviously thriving on a steady, reliable, if, at times, hesitant service from Theo Wink.

Opposite them the Free State backs moved well and dangerously, while their defence, especially that of wingers Leeb and Brink, was superb.

Henry Joffe was, of course, the subject of much comment and attention, and while I do not think he played any better on the whole than Luyt did for Province, I liked his speed off the mark as he came up to take Dantjie Strydom’s excellent passes, while his engineering of the winning try was a brilliantly executed piece of work.

As they have so often done in the past, Eastern Province won the scrums but lost the line-outs, in which “Speb” Jacobsz, the visiting skipper, was outstanding.

The Province line-out work is still inclined to be stodgy.

These were two very fine packs of forwards, with the Free Staters just that little superior in most phases of the play.

In their formation, apart from Jacobsz, impressive performances came from flanker Roets, “Chum” van Staden and St Elmo Wilken.

In the Province pack “Flip” Knoetze played by far his best game for some time at No. 8 and Diepenaar was another who seemed determined to show the selectors that his earlier omission from the side was unwarranted.

Harry Vorster and Wagner continue to show improvement although Wagner’s line-out work needs finesse, while “Buurman” van Zyl’s front row of Kingston Holton, Willem Louw and Amos du Plooy seemed to do as much as was required of it.

The two Uitenhage full-backs had an interesting duel, from which Hanna van Rooyen came out with honours in the first half, although he blundered once or twice in the second.

Duggie Meyer was rather patchy and not by any means the player we saw down here last season.

Finally a word for referee Kingsley Westaway, who controlled the game admirably. The Province is fortunate to have at least two top-rate referees of the caliber of Messrs Finnemore and Westaway.

Daily Advertiser
July 30, 1949

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