Cape Town - In 1935 the golfing world was stunned when Gene Sarazen hit the shot that was later dubbed the “shot heard around the world” which saw him hole his 235-yard 4 wood shot for an albatross 2 on the par-5, 15th hole at that year's Masters at Augusta National.
With one miracle shot he wiped out a three shot deficit and eventually triumphed after a 36 hole playoff.
Now I wasn’t around in 1935 (fortunately or unfortunately, whichever way you look at it), but I was present on Saturday, October 20, 2018 at the CPUT Sport Grounds when Roses United Rugby Club scored the try that was heard around the world.
Roses (the home team) were playing against Proteas from De Doorns in a Boland Top 12 quarter-final and were leading comfortably in the second half when they were awarded a scrum on their 22m line in centre field.
Their diminutive but influential scrumhalf, Percy Williams, fed the scrum which was retreating. Captain and eighthman, Thurlow Marsh, did well to make the decision of picking up and popping the ball to Williams who flung a pass to flyhalf Jacquin Jansen to his left. Jansen floated a pass over the top to Johnwen Lewis on the left wing, skipping Tyrone Abelse (inside centre) and Ryan Julies (replacement fullback) in the process.
Lewis, who shifted from fullback to left wing after Julies replaced Denver Fortuin earlier in the match, received the ball just inside his 22 and scampered down the left touchline with sheering pace. He looked for support on his inside and fed Julies with a beautiful pass off his left hand. Julies did well to avoid the attention of a would-be tackler before looping a lovely weighted pass to Marsh who cut back inside. It appears as though Marsh was side-stepping almost before he had the ball.
Marsh then found Abelse on his inside who showed great hands to pass back to Lewis who had stayed up in support. Lewis had little to no time to react, but miraculously got a pass away over his right shoulder to a storming Oshlin Lewis (lock) who somehow was up in support after the scrum. “Ossie” then went for the tryline with a defender on his back before feeding Abelse who scored under the poles after doing his trademark Lionel Mapoe “rooster” hand celebration.
Roses easily won 61-36 in the end, scoring nine tries in the process. Soon thereafter, video footage of the wonder try appeared on social media. The official Gold Cup Twitter account tweeted a video of the try on Monday and immediately it went viral. The Springboks, World Rugby and Fox Sports in Australia are just some of the high profile users that shared the video on their social platforms which has now been dubbed by many as the try of the year.
The video has since been viewed more than 500 000 times and is still being shared far and wide.
I consider myself fortunate to have seen the try that was heard around the world, happen right in front of my very eyes.
* Roses United Rugby Club was established in 2000 when the Wellington-based clubs, Roslins and Rosebuds, amalgamated to form one united club. In 2000 and 2001 the club participated in the Boland Super League B. The club’s league success earned promotion to the prestigious Boland Premier League in 2002. “Die Rose” (The Roses), as they are affectionately known to their loyal supporters, won the Premier League in 2006 for the first time under the leadership of the then 20-year-old Franzel September (he is the current Roses head coach), who would go on to captain the Boland Cavaliers in 2011. Roses have since been crowned Boland Champions on five more occasions - in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2017.
As a rugby club, Roses United has a rich tradition of excellence, having produced several players for the Boland Cavaliers in Clemen Lewis, Jansen and Brendon April (among others) and most recently, scorer of the wonder try, Tyrone Abelse. They have also produced a Springbok in the form of Cornal Hendricks, who started his rugby career at Roses United before going on to represent South Africa at international level for both the Blitzboks and Springboks. During his tenure as Springbok wing, Hendricks played 12 Tests for the Springboks scoring five tries in the process. Roses United is also the childhood club of Garth April who is currently plying his trade at the NTT Shining Arcs in the Japanese Top League. He also has the distinction of scoring a wonder try for Roses when in 2008 as a 16-year-old he stepped and ran from his own deadball line and eventually ran through the whole Wesbank team at Pelican Park to score a miraculous try that took Roses to the then National Clubs Championships. The club has also represented the Boland at the Community Cup and the SARU Gold Cup and was rated the 12th best club in Southern Africa in 2017.
TRY OF THE YEAR? Outrageous skills from @RosesUnitedRFC in their Boland Grand Challenge quarterfinal win over Protea in Wellington. If you haven’t watched a club game recently, this is what you’re missing on a weekly basis at community fields across the country! pic.twitter.com/ROiPEXOa9e— Gold Cup Rugby (@GoldCupRugby) October 22, 2018