The third day of the U18 SA Rugby Craven Week delivered another gripping round of rugby action at Grey College in Bloemfontein on Thursday, with a wave of tries resulting in high scores in many encounters.
Only two of the eight teams in action in the U18 SA Rugby Craven Week on Wednesday, in what marked their second round of matches, remained unbeaten, namely the SWD Eagles and DHL Western Province. Interestingly, only two of the teams scored less than 30 points on the day.
Western Province 51-14 Free State
DHL Western Province took advantage of a red card to the Bizhub Free State Cheetahs 14 minutes into what was expected to be one of the main match-ups of the day to power their way to a 51-14 victory. The home side was down to 14 men for 56 minutes of the game, and this provided the extra space for the Capetonians to ease their way through the defence, which saw them touch down seven times.
DHL Western Province held a 20-0 lead at halftime and they continued their dominance in the second half to stretch their score to 51 points. Their scrumhalf Bobby Alexander scored a brace, while Kade Wolhuter (flyhalf) kicked four conversions and two penalty goals.
Free State: Tries: Vumazonke, Chabanyane. Conversions: Oliver (2).
WP: Tries: Rijnsburger, Williams, de Leeuw, Ntumba, van Wyk, Alexander (2). Conversions: Wolhuter (4), Rousseau. Penalties: Wolhuter (2)
Pumas 54-19 Leopards
The Phakisa Pumas were in fine form against the Leopards as they delivered a balanced display for a rewarding 54-19 victory. Their forwards and backs made their presence felt and this paid off as they scored an impressive eight tries, seven of which were converted.
The Lowvelders’ flankers, Stirling Jaarse and Chyle van Zyl, scored two tries each, and they backed this up with a solid defensive effort to limit their opposition from North West to three tries.
Pumas: Tries: Mokoena, Jaarse (2), van Zyl (2), Fourie, Dludla, Juries. Conversions: Visser (7).
Leopards: Tries: Stander, Venter, Kubyadi. Conversions: Moabi.
SWD 39-31 Sharks
The clash between the SWD Eagles and Cell C Sharks was also a high-scoring affair, with the George team surviving a determined second-half fightback by the KwaZulu-Natalians for a 39-31 victory. SWD got on the scoreboard early with two tries in quick succession, and they continued to dominate throughout the half, which saw them cruise to a 33-5 lead.
But the Cell C Sharks staged a dramatic comeback in the second half as they retained possession and showed patience on the attack, while they tightened up their defence. This saw them score 26 points in the second half to outscore their opponents five tries to four, while they limited the SWD Eagles to six points after the break. SWD’s two penalty goals, however, proved crucial in the result.
SWD: Tries: Morgan, Rahl, Minnie, Michaels. Conversions: vd Linde (3). Penalties: vd Linde, Thorne.
Sharks: Tries: Barnard, Nkonki, Nkomo, Nzimande, Dlangalala. Conversions: Dlangalala (3).
Boland 36-31 Valke
A strong first half by Boland paved the way for their 36-31 victory against NWU Valke, with a conversion and penalty goal proving to be the difference on the scoreboard in the end. Boland started the clash well and built up a 17-5 lead, and this proved to be invaluable as the East Rand side fought back with intent in the second half.
Boland centre Roann Jansen crossed the chalk twice, while Nathan Engelbrecht (flyhalf) contributed a try, four conversions and a penalty goal. NWU Valke No 8 Franco Enslin was the star performer for his team, as he earned a hat-trick.
Boland: Tries: du Plessis, Engelbrecht, Jansen (2), Hansen. Conversions: Engelbrecht (4). Penalties: Engelbrecht.
Valke: Tries: Enslin (3), Potgieter, Kotze. Conversions: Potgieter (3).