By Davie Lawrence

Safcol United from Grabouw became the first team in the history of the Boland Rugby Union to win the Sanlam Boland Top12 in its debut season at the Boland Rugby Stadium in Wellington. The team from Grabouw made it to the final on 2 December 2023 undefeated and beat Robertson Town – who were also undefeated before the final – 29-27.

The match was one of the best club rugby finals that had been experienced in years, certainly entertained the nearly 12,000 spectators. Both sides served up top quality rugby. Men like Jovelian de Koker (Robertson), Connor Mahoney (Safcol), Benjamin Dwayi (Safcol), and Fredginald Afrika (Robertson) kept the crowd buzzing with their great play.

De Koker and Dwayi scored a try apiece while Afrika’s name appeared twice on the try scoring sheet. The other tries for Safcol were scored by Cameron Julies, Waden Nel, and Jacquin Ruthford. Ruthford was also named the Sanlam Confident Player of the Match.

Safcol trailed the match for a large part of the game and had to overcome a 12 point deficit with 15 minutes left on the scoreboard. They kept their cool and put a lot of pressure on Roberton resulting in them taking the lead with two converted tries in the last few minutes.

The Overberg champion only led the match twice – at half-time when the score was 15-13 and when Le-Eustace Beukes blew his final whistle.

It was drama until the final play of the match which had a capacity Boland Rugby Stadium on the edge of their seats until the very last second. Robertson Town won a penalty from within striking distance with seconds left on the clock.


SAFCOL UNITED ARE THE SANLAM BOLAND TOP12 CHAMPIONS 2023 Three trophies in one season #SAMA28 #sbt12tekkietown #fyp #sbt12santamproper #sbt12umbro #sbt12vuma #sbt12 #sbt12vironsplek @Sanlam @SAFFIES RUGBY @benjamindwayi8 @SuperSport Schools

♬ original sound – bolandrugbyunion

Seven weeks of Sanlam Boland Top12 rugby, 12 teams, 33 games, 1000 of kilometres travelled, and it everything culminates with the final move of the match. The kick to come would have won the title for Robertson Town – 30-29 – but unfortunately for Town it brushed the wrong side of the left upright pole.

The tournament victory completes Safcol United’s treble championship for the 2023 season.

Photo credit (and feature image): Mark Ward

Safcol United 29: Tries: Cameron Julies, Waden Nel, Benjamin Dwayi, Jacquin Ruthford; Cons: Lehnrho Julies (3), Pens: Julies
Robertson Town 27: Tries: Fredginald Afrika (2), Jovelian de Koker; Cons: Gurshwin Africa (3), Pens: Africa (2)

Safcol United: 15 Connor Mahoney, 14 Andrin Mepomie, 13 Devrudin Abrahams, 12 Heinrich Meintjies, 11 Waden Nel, 10 Lehnrho Julies, 9 Jason Beukes, 8 Benjamin Dwayi, 7 Cameron Julies, 6 Bradley Alexander, 5 Lee-Heino Appolis, 4 Jade Muller, 3 Ralph Dwayi, 2 Jacquinn Ruthford, 1 Shane-Lee Kenned
Replacements: 16 Alfonso October, 17 Theodore Ntikinca, 18 Tyrese Peters, 19 Elzane Philander, 20 Chriswinn Julies, 21 Cholan November, 22 Willsley Banies, 23 Warwick Philander

Robertson Town: 15 Cheslin Arendse, 14 Givan Adams, 13 Jenno April, 12 Jovelian de Koker(CC), 11 Rune Lucas, 10 Colin Willemse, 9 Gurshwin Africa, 8 Wendell Williams, 7 Jumainiune Arendse(C), 6 Freginald Africa, 5 Duan Bredenkamp, 4 Curtly Timm, 3 Oliver Regue, 2 Albert Bruwer, 1 Jasherie Karriem
Replacements: 16 Johrin Booysen, 17 Edward Lange, 18 Matthew Fluks, 19 Luke Fluks, 20 Isaiah Davids, 21 Johan Stephanus, 22 Lindsay Eksteen, 23 Leighton Swartz