It went down to the wire, but defending champions Elsenburg once again emerged victorious after a cracking final of the 2017 Pannar Rugby Week held at Fort Cox near Middledrift on Friday afternoon.
Stellenbosch-based Elsenburg lived up to their tags of pre-tournament favourites, but were made to work for it by runners-up Grootfontein, as they edged an entertaining final 26-20. "I have been involved in the Pannar Week for the last 18 years and this was the best final that I have seen in the last 10 years," said SA Agricultural rugby chairman Neil Schoeman. "I am also team manager of the Grootfontein team and they played with so much courage."
It was a valiant effort from Grootfontein, who come from Middleburg. However, it was the tournament's most decorated team who would pick up the IPJ du Plessis Trophy at the annual rugby week for South African Agricultural Institutes. An upset was on the cards when Grootfontein took a 13-12 lead into the halftime break. However, Elsenburg kicked it up a gear at the start of the second half to move 26-13 up. Grootfontein managed another try to bring the score to within a converted try and then finished the match strong, but to no avail.
Elsenburg were well-deserved champs, going through the week unbeaten, including some thumping victories, while Grootfontein's only loss of the week came in the final.
Potchefstroom finished third in the Cup division, picking up a comfortable 29-0 win over Glen to condemn them to the bottom of the division. In the Plate division final Cedara beat the Barbarians 21-0 to seal the title. Tsolo took third on the Plate log, beating Taug 6-0 in their final match, as Taug finished bottom.
Following the week of cracking action that saw eight teams play 16 matches, a tournament team was picked.
1. Alexander Duckitt - Elsenburg
2. Marius Paulsen - Grootfontein
3. Ettiene van der Merwe - Potchefstroom
4. Pieter Rabe - Elsenburg
5. Joppie du Pisani - Grootfontein
6. Alex Greig - Grootfontein
7. Attie van Rensburg - Elsenburg
8. Adrian Greig - Grootfontein
9. Louis Carsten - Elsenburg
10. Ewald Oberholzer - Potchefstroom
11. Waldo Botha - Potchefstroom
12. Jaco de Waal - Potchefstroom
13. Josef Burger - Elsenburg
14. Adriaan Stander - Grootfontein
15. Eroni Fillis - Grootfontein
16. Johan Schoeman - Potchefstroom
17. Roy Brink - Elsenburg
18. Henco Nel - Grootfontein
19. Brendon Botha - Elsenburg
20. Noah Mounfort - Grootfontein
21. Gert Rupping - Grootfontein
22. Dirkie Coetzee - Potchefstroom
23. Daniel Rademan - Grootfontein
This team was to play against a Border invitational team yesterday, but the game was postponed.
Other trophies handed out after the tournament were:
Elsenburg will host the next edition of the tournament.
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