United, you beauty! Now for the final …

No harm done: East Rand United inside centre Jan Harm Venter's commitment, along with the rest of his teammates, paid dividends in the win against Brakpan.

The 36-30 victory snapped Brakpan’s proud streak of making 10 consecutive trips to the final.

United, who went into the match as overwhelming underdogs after Brakpan walloped them 40-10 at the same venue in the last round of the round-robin phase, just under a month ago, overturned a 13-9 half-time deficit to silence the Bosman Stadium.

The local side kept pace with the hosts at half-time through the reliable boot of flyhalf Andy Huysamen, who slotted three penalties to give his side a realistic chance of causing one of the biggest upsets in the league’s history.

Huysamen continued to hold his nerve in the second-half as he converted all of his side’s three tries which all came in the latter half.

He also added two more penalties to contribute a total of 21 points.

Unlikely suspects in the scoring front and tight five, duo Saki Klaas and Bakkies Bakumeni, crossed the whitewash for United after long runs in their respective tries, with their scores sandwiching that of fullback Clayton Gindan.

“For me, it’s an unbelievable feeling,” said United captain Fanie van Staden.

“This is only ERU’s first team’s second year in the Peregrine League and we are reaching the finals. It shows you the talent we have and for me being an ERU first team player for three years and getting to the finals is unbelievable.”

United coach Stephan Nel shared his skipper’s joy.

“The guys showed up for the match,” said the mentor.

“They knew what to do, they even told me to relax, they’ve got this. My players showed up and I couldn’t have asked for more,” he enthused.

The victory triggers memories of United performing miracles on the pitch when they overturned a big score-line deficit to win the Merlin League final against Nigel a few years ago.

But this, unlike then, was the second last hurdle.

Vereeniging lies in wait.

United scorers: Tries: Saki Klaas, Bakkies Bakumeni, Clayton Gindan. Conversions: Andy Huysamen (3). Penalties: Andy Huysamen (5)

East Rand United: 1 Andre Myburgh, 2 Shaun de Wet, 3 Saki Klaas, 4 Bakkies Bakumeni, 5 Jacques van Tonder, 6 Piet Mnguni, 7 Calvin Jantjies, 8 Fanie van Staden (captain); 9 Tiaan Ramat, 10 Andy Huysamen, 11 Cameron Lentoor, 12 Jan Harm Venter, 13 Waylon Thompson, 14 Jackie Jonkers, 15 Clayton Gindan. Replacements: 16 Jonathan Botha, 17 Dirk van Wyk, 18 Kieran Campbell, 19 Ruan Noeth, 20 Monde Petela, 21 Igor Engelbrecht, 22 Luzuko Ndanda – @SabeloBoksburg

Sabelo Mashego
Sports Journalist

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