The SA Rugby Girls U16 Week and Learners with Special Education Needs (LSEN) Week got off to a thrilling start in two Gauteng venues on Monday in an action-packed day of rugby which saw 54 tries and 627 points scored in 15 matches.
In the main games of the day in the SA Rugby Girls U16 Week at Jeppe High School in Johannesburg, a missed conversion by the Sharks on the stroke of full-time saw Western Province pip them 20-19, while Border scored a try in the dying seconds against SWD to secure a 22-20 victory.
Western Province and the Sharks both ran hard on attack and tried to spread the ball wide, which they balanced with a strong display up-front, and the match was close until the last minute as the Sharks crossed the tryline for their third try. This pushed them within range of snatching a victory, but their conversion attempt was unsuccessful and they had to settle for the heart-breaking defeat.
The clash between Border and SWD was equally gripping as the teams entered halftime at 5-5 before SWD broke away with two tries to lead 15-5, which Border matched. SWD snuck back into the lead as the half progressed, but they were denied in the dying seconds as Border forced their way over the tryline to nudge their way to a 22-20 victory.
The Leopards, meanwhile, registered the biggest win of the day in the U16 Girls week as they ran in seven tries to defeat the Griffons 41-0 thanks to a fantastic display all around. Thozama Nyeleku and Likhona Sibhenye each crossed the tryline twice, with the latter adding three conversions for a rewarding 16 point haul.
Eastern Province also registered a solid 17-0 victory against hosts, the Golden Lions, as they scored two converted tries and a penalty goal, while the hosts struggled to find rhythm on attack.
The clash between Boland and Free State was a tight tussle as both teams threw everything at one another using their big forwards and speedy backs, but Boland edged through for a 29-20 victory thanks to braces by Lee-Ann Yman and Niveena Jantjies.
The Pumas were also made to work hard for their 24-17 win against the Griquas, as both sides tried to gain ascendancy using their forwards, but the Mpumalanga side’s more effective execution saw them score four tries – two of which were by Kamohelo Mokoena - to three by the opposition.
The Blue Bulls, meanwhile, delivered a solid second-half performance to defeat Border CD 15-5 after a tight first half in which the sides entered the break tied at 5-5. Limpopo put their speed out wide and ability to read the game to good use against Western Province B as they built up a 26-19 halftime lead en route to their 36-24 victory. They scored five tries, one of which was by Martina Shai who also slotted over four conversions and a penalty goal in the match.
The SA Rugby Girls U18 Week will kick off on Tuesday at Jeppe High School, while the U16 players have the day off to rest before Wednesday’s second round. The LSEN teams, meanwhile, will take to the field in their second round of matches on Tuesday.
SA Rugby Girls U16 Week day one results (Monday, 25 June):
Boland 29-20 Free State
DHL Western Province B 19-31 Limpopo
Golden Lions 0-17 Eastern Province
Blue Bulls 15-5 Border CD
Pumas 24-17 Griquas
Griffons 0-41 Leopards
DHL Western Province A 20-19 KZN
Border 22-20 SWD
SA Rugby Girls U18 Week fixtures (Tuesday, 26 June):
10h00 – SWD v DHL Western Province
10h00 – Leopards v Border CD
11h15 – Boland vs KZN
11h15 – Griffons v Pumas
12h20 – Border v Limpopo
12h20 – Eastern Province v Griquas
14h30 – Free State v Golden Lions
15h45 – Blue Bulls v Zimbabwe