After the highlights of day one, we can only expect a dramatic increase of excitement on day two as the top provinces of the North will compete today in order to "qualify" for the "semifinals" on Thursday. The Golden Lions, as well as the Bulls, must be the favourites with the Western Province XV waiting for a slip up by the big guns.
U18 SA Rugby Craven Week day-two fixtures (Tuesday, 2 July):
09h30 – Griquas v Unitrans Limpopo Blue Bulls (A Field)
Griquas should be the favourites combining the bulk from Diamantveld with the explosive speed and brilliance of Noord Kaap. The Limpopo Bulls does not have any known "stars" but as with all their other teams at the various youth weeks, they will be well coached and competitive. Unfortunately, it should be Griquas with a rather comfortable margin.
11h00 – Assupol Blue Bulls XV v Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions XV (A Field)
The Bulls won this fixture in preparation of the Craven Week BUT I do not believe that the Lions who has the bulk of Monnas players can lose this one. The combination of 10, 12 and 13 for the Lions could be decisive with Watney, Weideman vd Spuy part of the potent Helpmekaar backline. The combination that the Bulls selects to start this match will be crucial but as said again just not enough "stars" to compete with the Lions.
12h30 – EP Elephants v Thepa Trading Griffons (A Field)
A very difficult game to call but I do think that the EP Elephants should win this one, if only that the schools' represented are some of the best in the country.
14h00 – Assupol Blue Bulls v Border (A Field)
The Bulls team must be one of the most talented in this year's tournament with their loose trio certainly the best. MJ Janse v Rensburg, Simon Miller and Adolph Visser all brilliant talents in their own right but as a combination, definately close if not the best. Add to that the captaincy of Roets and expect the Bulls to demolish up front. The backline is a very good backline with the sharpest spear the brilliant Zeilinga Strydom at fullback.
The Border's team is made up mostly by players from Selborne College which could be to their advantage but Jarrod Taylor will have his hands full in the loose and that is where this match will be won or lost. The Bulls should win this but it will take a good 60 minutes to take control of the match.
15h30 – Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions v DHL Western Province XV (A Field)
The Lions' loosies will be crucial in their hopes to win this game. Zander du Toit and Izaan Esterhuizen are brilliant players but the mistake of the Lions not including the brilliant Rynard Mouton will cost them the fight on the ground.
The battle of the back will see a brilliant centre pairing of Henco van Wyk and Joseph Iye carrying the hope of the Lions whereas the backline of WP XV is the more balanced combination with Kian Meadon maybe just the difference. If the Lions win the battle in the loose the WP XV is going to struggle to contain the centre pairing of the Lions but if not, then the WP XV will be smiling at the end of the day.