(Photographer: Theo Garrun)
The SA Rugby Girls U18 Week kicked off on an action-packed note at Jeppe High School in Johannesburg on Tuesday, while the Learners with Special Education Needs (LSEN) Week delivered another thrilling round as the competition nears its conclusion at the Isak Steyl Stadium in Vanderbijlpark.
The opening day of the SA Rugby Girls U18 Week was characterised by big victories and skilful play, with Border, Border CD, the Pumas and hosts the Golden Lions registering convincing wins, while LSEN Week hosts, the Valke and Valke XV, Eastern Province and Western Province remained the only unbeaten teams in Vanderbijlpark.
In the Girls Week for U18s, DHL Western Province, who were the top team last season, started their tournament off on a winning note with a 15-5 victory against SWD, with three second-half tries – two of which were scored by Nomphelo Bokwe – earning them the victory. The Cape side ran hard on attack and forced the George team to defend for most of the match, and their patience on attack paid off.
Border was also in fine form against Limpopo, with their hard running, skilful attack and solid defence steering them to nine tries – with a hat-trick by Amahle Khohliso – and a rewarding 57-7 victory. Limpopo tried hard to make their presence felt throughout the match, but they were shut out by the committed Border defence.
The Golden Lions put on a good performance for their home crowd as they showed innovation on attack and backed this up with solid support play to register a 59-0 victory against Free State. Such was the high quality of their play they scored nine tries, while they denied the Bloemfontein outfit from scoring.
Border CD also got their campaign off to a strong start as they snuffed out the gaps in the defence and did well to retain possession and apply pressure on the Leopards, which earned them an impressive 10 tries and a 64-0 victory.
The Pumas were equally dominant in their clash against the Griffons which paid off with a 48-19 victory. The girls from Mpumalanga ran in eight tries, with Londiwe Mashinini earning a brace, while they limited the opposition to three, which were all scored by Shoti Mohalali.
Zimbabwe made a strong account of themselves as they beat the Blue Bulls 24-5 thanks to their ability to make the most of their try-scoring chances. The Blue Bulls showed promise on the attack throughout the match, but the strong Zimbabwean defence kept them at bay.
A strong first-half by Eastern Province, meanwhile, guided them to a 17-0 victory against Griquas with all three of their tries being scored in the first half. Griquas tried hard to fight back in the second half and they tightened up their defence, but they were unable to break through the solid defence.
The clash between Boland and the Sharks was closely-fought from the outset as both teams gave everything on attack and defence, and in the end, the Western Cape side’s five tries to the Durbanites’ four secured them a 27-22 victory.
SA Rugby Girls U18 Week results (Tuesday, 26 June):
SWD 5-15 DHL Western Province
Leopards 0-64 Border CD
Boland 27-22 KZN
Griffons 19-48 Pumas
Border 57-7 Limpopo
Eastern Province 17-0 Griquas
Free State 0-59 Golden Lions
Zimbabwe 24-5 Blue Bulls
SA Rugby Girls U16 Week day two fixtures (Wednesday, 27 June):
10h00 – Border CD v Griffons
10h00 – Eastern Province v Border
11h15 – Limpopo v SWD
11h15 – Leopards v Golden Lions
12h30 – Western Province B v Griquas
12h30 – Pumas v Free State
14h20 – Western Province v Blue Bulls
15h35 – KZN v Boland