Unbeaten Kudus overcome Wanderers challenge

Hard-fought win
The hosts spent the last few minutes before halftime attacking strongly, but Kudus kept them at bay.
Andrew Poolman
FNB Kudus took a hard-fought 29-25 bonus-point away win at FNB Wanderers in the top-of-the-log clash between two previously unbeaten teams.

The Walvis Bay outfit took over the lead in the NRU premier league from Wanderers. After five matches each, Kudus are now on 24 points, ahead of Wanderers (23), Unam (19), Western Suburbs (15), Grootfontein (12), Rehoboth (11), United (1) and Reho Falcon (0).

Saturday’s matches were the first of the upcoming period in which clubs will have to adapt to the absence of their players called up for national duty – with Wanderers and Unam (seven each) hit hardest, while Kudus had to make do without Joshua Jacobs, captain Cameron Langenhoven and Chad Plato, who was due to play in their blue jersey again after returning from club rugby in Spain.

A well-taken second-half hat-trick by fullback Lloyd Jacobs – including the match-winning try in the dying seconds of the match – assisted Kudus in keeping their winning streak going.

Centre Justin Newman scored Kudus’ first try after nine minutes, after scrumhalf Rayton Paulse’s box kick into Wanderers’ goal produced a wicked bounce for the defenders.

Fly-half Kyle Wentzel landed the conversion, but had to leave the field with an ankle injury before half-time and was replaced by Aurelio Plato.

Kept at bay

Kudus lock Tertius Arangies extended the visitors’ lead to 12-3 when he corkscrewed out one a tackle to score.

Elmarco Beukes, fly-half for Wanderers, sidestepped his way to a try after 23 minutes, which he also converted, to add on to his opening penalty. The hosts spent the last few minutes before halftime attacking strongly, but Kudus kept them at bay.

Just two minutes after the resumption, an Elmarco Beukes up-and-under bounced favourably to be collected by speedy right wing Nandivatu Karuuombe, who was stopped by the cover defence just short of the line. However, Wanderers retrieved the ball for centre Bredell Wessels to barge over, as Beukes failed to convert.

Lloyd Jacobs’s first try came in the 46th minute off a backline move from a scrum, as he dummied and accelerated on his way to the righthand corner. Aurelio Plato missed the conversion.

Wanderers regained the lead when flank Darius von Solms scored off a quickly-taken tapped penalty which had Kudus protesting in vain. Beukes’s conversion put his team 22-17 in front.

However, the irrepressible Jacobs once again found a gap out wide to sail over for his second unconverted try with tied the teams at 22-22, with 12 minutes to play.

Wanderers' replacement Denzo Bruwer, in his debut after joining from United, landed a 78th-minute penalty, but with time running out, Kudus once again attacked in the wide channels where Jacobs scampered through in the lefthand corner to dive over behind the posts, for Plato to convert.

A scuffle between Justin Newman and Denzil van Wyk earned them both yellow cards, as referee Oscar Lambert also awarded Wanderers a penalty on the centre spot. The home side set up a lineout, but a skew throw-in ended their challenge as the elated Kudus fans got the celebrations started.