The 2019 edition of the Under-13 SA Rugby Craven Week came to an exciting end at High School Rob Ferreira in White River on Friday, with the Sharks being crowned the top side. The Kwa-Zulu Natal side outplayed DHL Western Province 26-24 in a nail-biting U13 SA Rugby Craven Week final match.
WP 24-26 Sharks
In the grand finale of the Under-13 SA Rugby Craven Week, the Sharks edged DHL Western Province 26-24 in a nail-biter of a match.
The KwaZulu-Natal side started very strongly, crossing the DHL WP tryline in the opening minutes to jump to a 7-0 lead. The Capetonians struck back soon after with a try by winger Bena Barthelemie, who was put in space by a delightful pass from flanker Zylan Fortuin, and David Simon (centre) converted.
The Sharks picked up a penalty try when the Cape side took out a defender without the ball to edge them seven points up again, and they extended that lead even further when lively flyhalf Sisonke Ndiela ran through a gap after a tactical move at the back and scored near the poles. That gave them an encouraging 19-7 lead at the break.
DHL WP struck back with two quick tries after the restart, the first by No 8 Chris Cloete and the second by Simon who pounced on a loose ball in the Sharks in-goal. He could not convert his own try and that left his team trailing by two. Cloete, however, earned his second five-pointer under the sticks with a long-range run to nudge the side ahead for the first time in the match.
The Sharks got the lead back again with minutes left when Ndiela got his second and the conversion by fullback Luke Davidson split the uprights. That handed the Sharks a 26-24 lead, and they managed to hang on for a hard-fought win.
Zimbabwe 17-40 Border
Old Mutual Zimbabwe fell short against Border, who posted six tries in their 40-17 victory. The Eastern Cape side held all the aces and dominated from the start, and they took advantage of their point-scoring opportunities with centre Qiqa Qwesha scoring twice and flyhalf Likhona Kepe kicking five conversions.
Zimbabwe: Tries: Njunga, Chaponda, Kamwendo. Conversion: Stirrup.
Border: Tries: Makwedini, Mlalandle, de Beyer, Simka, Qwesha (2). Conversions: Kepe (5)
Namibia 20-17 Border CD
Namibia kicked a late penalty goal to squeeze past Border Country Districts with their 20-17 win being their second of the tournament. Border CD scored three tries, but while Namibia had an excellent kicker in Waldre Kotze, the Eastern Cape side could only convert one try and that cost them dearly.
Namibia: Tries: Mungungu, Oosthuizen. Conversions: Kotze (2). Penalties: Kotze (2)
Border CD: Tries: Ntlemeza, Thamsanqa, Hlangani. Conversions: Dyubhele.
Lions 12-0 Bulls
The Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions outplayed the Itec Blue Bulls 12-0, as they scored the only tries of the match thanks to one in each half, with No 8 Jamaal Feldman and centre Shelton-ray Primo the providers.
Lions: Tries: Feldman, Primo. Conversions: Felix.
Griquas 7-26 EP
The EP Elephants finished strongly with a 26-7 win over Itec Griquas, with the team from the Bay scoring four tries, while the Kimberley team had to settle for only a penalty try.
Griquas: Try: Penalty Try.
Eastern Province: Try: Adams, Domingo, De Beer, Ndzimande. Conversions: Xoshombe, Adams (2).
Boland 71-5 Griffons
Boland left their best for last and scored a run-away 71-5 (36-0 halftime) win over Thepa Trading Griffons, as they touched down an impressive 11 times, with winger Cheswill Jooste bagging four of those.
Boland: Tries: Smith, Thompson (2), Mentoor (2), Jooste (4), Opperman (2). Conversions: de Bruyn (3), Mentoor (5).
Griffons: Try: Kirsten.
Leopards 26-12 Cheetahs
The Leopards outplayed their more fancied opponents, the Free State Cheetahs, and their 26-12 win was well deserved. They outscored the Free Staters four tries to two and finished the week in the top five.
Leopards: Tries: Wright, French, Witbooi, Khumalo. Conversions: Pretorius (3).
Cheetahs: Tries: vd Merwe, Roux. Conversion: Mokoena.
SWD 43-15 Limpopo Bulls
SWD Eagles are another team that will enjoy the trip home after they outplayed Forever Resort Limpopo Blue Bulls 45-15, but it was their rewarding second-half display that will stay in the memory bank.
They scored six tries in the half and left the Limpopo side in their wake as they raced to the win.
SWD: Tries: Steyn, Jantjies, Coetzee (2), Gabada, Mafutu (2). Conversions: Jantjies (3), Coetzee (2).
Limpopo Bulls: Tries: Kosa, Santos. Conversion. Stopforth. Penalties: Stopfourth.
Valke 22-12 Pumas
The ITS Valke also recovered well after a slow start to the tournament as they beat Phakisa Pumas 22-12, scoring four tries in the process - two of which were scored by lock Marcel Coetzee.
Valke: Tries: Mahlangu, Coetzee (3), Gous. Conversions: Claassen.
Pumas: Tries: Ngwenya, Ndou. Conversion: Maritz.