Middelburg - Eastern Province on Saturday finished the Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Week as the unofficial champions for the first time in 37 years following a 25-7 victory against SWD in the final match at HTS Middelburg.
The match concluded a successful Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Week tournament in which all 11 000 tickets available to spectators and guests of the respective provincial unions were sold throughout the tournament.
The Port Elizabeth side last won the final match of the tournament in 1977 against Western Province.
EP were in fantastic form in the final match as they capitalised on their chances and put their bodies on the line on defence against SWD to remain one of two unbeaten teams in the competition. The other unbeaten side was the Griffons, who defeated the Leopards, Eastern Province CD and Border.
In the other big matches on Saturday hosts, the Pumas, went down 39-24 against the Golden Lions, Western Province beat the Free State 37-29 and the Blue Bulls thumped KwaZulu-Natal 36-15.
Pumas 24 (0) Golden Lions 39 (17)
The Golden Lions delivered a solid first-half performance against the Pumas to build up an encouraging 17-0 lead, which set them up for their second victory of the tournament. The Lions used their point-scoring chances well to secure two converted tries and a penalty, while hosts the Pumas struggled to breach their defensive line.
The home team, however, started the second-half strongly, with two early tries, but these efforts were cancelled out by a determined charge by the Lions in which they ran in four back-to-back tries. But this did not dampen the hosts’ spirits as they finished the match with two more tries to balance matters in the second half. This, however, was not enough to undo their disappointing first-half showing.
Pumas – Tries: Christoffel Andries Petrus Steynberg, Siyabonga Praisegod Masuku (2), penalty try. Conversion: Siyabonga Praisegod Masuku (2).
Golden Lions – Tries: Gavin Delport, Jaco Holtzhausen, Preston Karstens, Willem Leon Massyn (3). Conversions: Ralton October (3). Penalty: Ralton October.
Zimbabwe 25 (9) Namibia 38 (15)
Namibia had an edge over Zimbabwe from the outset of their clash thanks to a solid performance all around, which earned them a 15-9 lead at the break. Such was the effectiveness of their performance they ran in three tries to only one by Zimbabwe.
The second half started frantically as both teams tried to make their presence felt, which resulted in five tries in 20 minutes, three of which were in Zimbabwe’s favour. However, a late try by Namibian prop Hans Breedt forced the match out of range for their African neighbours.
Zimbabwe – Tries: Ackim Farirai Sibanda, Bradley Crause, Daniel Takudzwa Nyamugama, Matthew Ushewokunze. Conversion: Ngoni Joshua Zinyama. Penalty: Shaun Snyder.
Namibia – Tries: Divan Rossouw (2), Hans Breedt, Herle Otto, Jandre van Wyk (2). Conversions: Pieter Steenkamp (2), Stiaan van der Merwe (2).
Griquas CD 60 (17) vs Border CD 21 (14)
The first-half between Griquas CD and Border CD started off with a bang with three tries in the first nine minutes. Griquas CD crashed over for their first try in the second minute and added another seven minutes later, while Border CD managed to cross the chalk in the fifth minute. The rest of the first half, however, was hard fought, as the teams improved their defensive structures, resulting in each team scoring only once more.
But the floodgates opened for Griquas CD in the second half as they found gaps in the opposition’s defence easily and added another five tries to take their total for the match to eight. In return Border CD could only score one try and had to settle for a disappointing 60-21 defeat.
Griquas CD – Tries: Coby Willemse, David Du Toit, Denvill Joseph, Erik Jordaan (2), Gert Nel, Reinhard Hayes. Conversion: Coenie Lamprecht.
Border CD – Tries: Chuma Tukela, Mpumelelo Velem, Phelane Macingwane. Conversions: Siyambonga Mxhaka (3).
Western Province 37 (22) Free State 29 (10)
The battle between Free State and Western Province was physical as both teams used their powerful forwards to gain ascendancy. But the Cape side’s ability to convert their opportunities into points handed them a well-deserved 22-10 lead thanks to three back-to-back tries. Free State scrumhalf Shirwin Cupido, however, snuck in for their first five-pointer of the match to add to an earlier penalty for their 10 points.
The second half, however, was tight as the Free State bounced back and spent more time in Province’s half and the rewards followed as they crossed Western Province’s tryline three times, the last of which was with 14 men on the field following a red card. These efforts allowed the Bloemfontein side to finish the match only eight points behind.
Western Province – Tries: Duncan Saal (2), Jondre Peter Williams, Justin Heunis, Mogamat Zain Davids. Conversions: Tiaan Henk Swanepoel (3). Penalties: Tiaan Henk Swanepoel (2).
Free State – Tries: De Wet Bezuidenhout, Julian Jordaan (2), Shirwin Cupido. Conversions: Jeandre Christian (3). Penalty: Jeandre Christian.
Border 55 (29) Griquas 26 (26)
A strong second-half performance by Border saw them topple Griquas 55-26 following a hard-fought first half. The first half was tense as Border took a narrow three-point lead against Griquas after outscoring the Kimberley side five tries to four.
Border maintained their momentum in the second half, while tightening up their defence, which allowed them to shut out Griquas completely. These efforts left Griquas scoreless after the break, while Border increased their score to an impressive 55 points.
Border – Tries: David Brits (2), Henning Coetzee, Jason Steyn, Jerry Danquah, Michael Brink, Morgan Steyn, Pierre Bester, Reinhardt Engelbrecht. Conversions: Morgan Steyn (5).
Griquas – Tries: Geo Davel, Keaton Gordon, Robbie Petzer, Wilfred Bowers. Conversions: Robbie Petzer (3).
Boland 56 (15) Limpopo Blue Bulls 24 (17)
Boland staged a dramatic comeback from 17-15 down against the Limpopo Blue Bulls to secure a memorable 56-24 victory in their final match of the tournament. The Polokwane team came out firing and scored two tries in the first 14 minutes and added another later in the half to only two by Boland for a 17-15 lead.
But Boland were rampant in the second half as they found their form attack and snuck through the holes in Limpopo’s defence to increase their try total to nine and stretch the score to 56-24.
Boland – Tries: Earll Douwrie, Handre Ontong, Iver Aanhuizen, Jaydrin Kotze (3), Morne Van Wyk, Ray Philander, Robert Hunt. Conversions: Adriaan van der Bank, Andre Gouws (2), Handre Ontong. Penalty: Handre Ontong.
Limpopo Blue Bulls – Tries: Diederik Oberholzer, Jan Van der Kolff (2), Thapelo Molapo. Conversions: Barend Janse van Rensburg (2).
KwaZulu-Natal 15 (10) Blue Bulls 36 (15)
KwaZulu-Natal and the Blue Bulls were closely matched in the first half of their clash as they both put their bodies on the line to get on the front foot. For the first 20 minutes both teams opted for penalties in an attempt to force their way onto the scoreboard. But the Blue Bulls finally broke through in the 25th minute for the first of their two first-half tries, while the Sharks also earned one, handing the Pretoria side a 15-10 lead.
KwaZulu-Natal, however, fought hard early in the second half to take the lead on the scoreboard and managed to secure their second try five minutes into the half. They came close to the tryline again on several occasions, but the resilient Blue Bulls defence denied them from touching down the ball. In stark contrast the Blue Bulls made a few fantastic line breaks and supported this with a strong showing by their forwards, which paid off with three back-to-back tries and a convincing 36-15 victory.
KwaZulu-Natal – Tries: Jaco Coetzee, James Hall. Conversion: Curtis Jonas. Penalty: Tristan Tedder.
Blue Bulls – Tries: Aston Fortuin, Eduan Keyter, Embrose Papier, Tinus de Beer (2). Conversions: Tinus de Beer (4). Penalty: Tinus de Beer.
Griffons 44 (27) Leopards 24 (12)
The Griffons delivered a strong performance to finish their Coca-Cola Craven Week campaign on a high as they defeated the Leopards 44-24 thanks to five tries to four by the Potchefstroom side. The Leopards tried hard to make their presence felt, but in the end the vast difference on the scoreboard was the impressive kicking performance by Griffons scrumhalf Jaya Juries. Juries scored a try, slotted over all five conversions and three penalties for a personal tally of 24 points.
Griffons – Tries: Ezrick Alexander, Jaya Juries, Johan van Zyl, Johann Vermaak (2). Conversions: Jaya Juries (5). Penalties: Jaya Juries (3).
Leopards – Tries: Douglas Bruce-Smith, Jana Smith, Keanu van der Merwe, Roodt van Zyl. Conversions: Markus Coetzer (2).
Eastern Province CD 13 (8) Valke 35 (14)
A hat-trick by Valke fullback Martin van Wyk inspired his team to a 35-13 victory against Eastern Province CD following a closely-fought first half. The Valke took a narrow 14-8 lead at the break with two tries to one by the Eastern Cape team.
But they hit their straps in the second half and earned a series of well-worked tries in what was a fine team effort, while flyhalf Forest Roos slotted over all five conversions. Eastern Province CD, meanwhile, struggled to make their presence felt as the Valke dominated possession and territory and combined this with a solid defensive effort.
Eastern Province CD – Tries: Arno Le Roux, Josiah Twum-Boafo. Penalty: Cameron Hertz.
Valke – Tries: Forrest Roos, Martin van Wyk (3), Ntshepe Kokong. Conversions: Forrest Roos (5).
SWD 7 (0) Eastern Province (20) 25
In the final match of the day Eastern Province forced their way through the determined SWD defence twice in the first half, while flyhalf Curwin Bosch slotted over two penalties to build up a morale-boosting 20-0 lead at the break.
They added another try two minutes into the second half to extend their lead to 25-0. Despite this SWD fought back with intent and spent several minutes in Eastern Province’s half, but their efforts bore only one try as the Eastern Province’s tenacious defence held.
SWD – Try: Domenic Donevan Smit. Conversion: John Thomas Jackson.
Eastern Province – Tries: Athi Mayinje, Johann van Niekerk, Stephanus Nieuwoudt. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (2). Penalties: Curwin Bosch (2).