Alberton 1st XV show good early form

WELL DONE: Andile Mhlanga scores Alberton's final points.

ALBERTON rugby club’s First XV hosted Diggers at home on Saturday 3 in the first of three warm-up games to prepare for the upcoming season. You will recall that Alberton had a super season last year making the finals in the u-19, u-21, Second XV as well as First XV. The two junior sides won the league while the two senior sides are looking to go one better after they were beaten in the finals by UJ Bobbies and Germiston Simmer respectively.

The coaches have made a few good signings in the offseason and have been working very hard with the players even during the offseason and so the hard work looks like it is paying dividends already.

Certainly, one player that had to receive the man of the match award on Saturday was the young star Caltino Jones who hails from Alberton Hoër Skool.

Sadly, we have heard rumours that he may be leaving the club shortly. This would be a setback for the club based on his performance on Saturday, but the club has built up depth over the past two seasons and with the two senior sets of coaches working together, the future looks very bright for the club.

Jones was first to get on the score sheet after a good backline move left Alberton with a lot of space on the outside. Jones powered through the hole in the defence to score the first of his four tries on the day.

One aspect that stood out for me about Jones, but also for the whole team, is that they seem to be playing even more for each other than they did last year.

I say that because all the players were not looking to score by themselves but rather to put another player in a better position. One try, in particular, illustrated the point superbly when Jones got the ball on his own 22 and went on one of his ‘twinkle toe’ runs. He basically ran through the entire Diggers team and eventually only had the fullback in front of him. He could easily have tried to sidestep the fullback to take the glory on himself, and might still have scored under the sticks, but he saw a space and a player on the right-hand side. With a long skip pass, he found the player (I think it was the blindside flank Anthony Kapp) and he was able to score what I think was the try of the day. Jones has matured as a player and last year probably might have tried to go all the way.

You cannot play without the ball though, and the forward pack as a whole did very well. This is why Jones, as well as the outside backs, who all looked very good, had space to run.

It was a really good start to the season and they have put their peg in the ground. The final score will go down as 43-20. The next two warm-up games will be against Pirates and Wanderers who both play in the A pool and as such should provide a stern test. The Diggers never really put them under pressure for long periods. They never really tested Alberton’s defensive structures too hard. When Alberton had to defend though, they defended admirably, so I am looking forward to a great season for Alberton. Predictions are a difficult game to play and I am going to probably open myself up to abuse but here goes…Three champion teams this year including one senior team….

Go Alberton. You can do it!!!!!

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Wayne Raath

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