Cape Town - Western Province and Cape neighbours Boland on Wednesday stamped their authority on day three of the Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Week at the Markötter Sports Complex at Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch to keep alive their hopes of playing in the final match of the tournament on Saturday.
Hosts Western Province were in top form against the Griffons and registered an emphatic 65-5 victory, which marked the highest score so far in the tournament, while Boland staged a strong second-half comeback against Border for a 20-15 victory.
The Blue Bulls, Free State and the Limpopo Blue Bulls, meanwhile, registered their first wins of the tournament in style as they each scored over 30 points in their respective matches against the Pumas, Namibia and Border CD.
In the main matches on Thursday, the Valke will go up against Griquas, and Eastern Province, who finished as the top team last season, will line up against KwaZulu-Natal.
Western Province 65 (43) Griffons 5 (5)
Western Province were dominant from the outset against the Griffons as they stretched the opposition’s defence and took advantage of the gaps out wide to run in an impressive six tries before the break. The hosts showed great skill on attack and capitalised on their speed out wide and fine support play, while they slipped through tackles with ease. The Griffons, meanwhile, battled to make their presence felt with their limited possession and porous defence letting them down, and managed to score only one try in the first half, which left them trailing 43-5 at the break.
The Griffons tried hard to retain possession on attack and tightened up their defence in the second half, but despite this Western Province added four tries to their tally to take their total for the match to 10. The Griffons’ efforts on attack, however, were shut down by the solid defence, which resulted in the Welkom side being unable to add to their score and having to settle for a 65-5 defeat.
Western Province - Tries: Joshua Vermeulen, Cornel Smit, Ernst van Rhyn, Tyreeq February, Ruben de Villiers, George Lourens, Ryan Muller, Damian Willemse, Nico Leonard (2). Conversions: Joshua Vermeulen (4), Cornel Smit (2). Penalty: Cornel Smit.
Griffons - Try: Duke Jantjies.
Boland 20 (0) Border 15 (12)
Boland and Border were involved in an epic clash as the teams put their bodies on the line on attack and defence for the duration of the clash. Both teams tried to hold onto the ball and put together phases on attack, and with the defence holding well, they battled to break through. Such was the closeness of the clash Border opted for two penalties in the first 15 minutes to get on the scoreboard, but both attempts proved unsuccessful. The East London side eventually scored the first points of the match two minutes before half time and backed it up with their second try a minute later to take a 12-0 lead at the break.
Boland bounced back strongly after the break with an early try, which in-form flyhalf Adriaan van der Bank converted to close the gap on the scoreboard to 12-7. The Western Cap side struck again in the 47th minute with a try by Steyn Olivier. Border, meanwhile, added a penalty by flyhalf Courtney Winnaar. The closing minutes were tense as the teams fought until the end for the victory, but a penalty and drop goal by Van der Bank ensured that Boland stayed ahead on the scoreboard and allowed them to secure back-to-back victories in the tournament.
Boland - Tries: Gilroy Philander, Steyn Olivier. Conversions: Adriaan van der Bank (2). Penalty: Adriaan van der Bank. Drop Goal: Adriaan van der Bank.
Border - Tries: Michael Botha, Tristian Coetzer. Conversion: Courtney Winnaar. Penalty: Courtney Winnaar.
Blue Bulls 35 (20) Pumas 17 (12)
The Blue Bulls delivered a solid all-round performance against the Pumas to register their first victory in the tournament with their forwards and backs combining well to push the team onto the front foot. Flyhalf and captain Eddie Fouche and scrumhalf Embrose Papier played a vital role in sparking their attack while Fouche kept the team ahead on the scoreboard thanks to his solid goal-kicking, which earned him a personal total of 13 points in the match.
The Pumas scored the first try in the third minute and they added another in the 27th minute, but two penalties and two converted tries by the Blue Bulls forced the Pretoria side into a 20-12 halftime lead. The Pumas tried hard to retain possession and apply pressure on the Bulls after the break, but they battled to breach the solid defence and were limited to only one try in the second half. The Blue Bulls, meanwhile, managed to cross the tryline two more times in what proved to be a tight half, while Fouche added his third penalty to secure a convincing 35-17 win.
Blue Bulls - Tries: Runan Venter, Ruben van Heerden, Wayne Van der Bank (2). Conversions: Eddie Fouche (2), Runan Venter. Penalties: Eddie Fouche (3).
Pumas - Tries: Ruben Roodt, Marnus Van der Merwe, Dewald Maritz. Conversion: Wessel Muller.
Free State 43 (12) Namibia 19 (7)
The first half between the Free State and Namibia was tight as the teams both tried to put together phases on attack and force their way over the advantage line. Namibia struck first with a try in the 10th minute, but the Free State hit back four minutes later while Namibia were reduced to 14 men due to a yellow card. The Bloemfontein side found their rhythm on attack soon after and did well to snuff out the gaps in the defence, which earned them four tries in 15 minutes to take a commanding lead.
Namibia, however, fought back with intent and scored three tries to reduce the deficit thanks to their ability to retain possession and apply pressure on attack. This pushed their score into double figures. The Free State, however, struck again with a try on the stroke of fulltime to secure a 43-19 victory.
Free State - Tries: Niel Durow, Daniel William Rust, Dian Schoonees, Kian Skippers (2), Jurie Burger (2). Conversions: Christiaan Schutte (4).
Namibia - Tries: Cliven Loubser, Christiaan Ras, Armondo Van Wyk. Conversions: Cliven Loubser (2).
Limpopo Blue Bulls 34 (24) Border CD 20 (0)
The Limpopo Blue Bulls started their clash against Border CD with a bang as they dominated territory and possession to take control of the first half. They wasted no time making their presence felt and scored the first try of the match in the fourth minute compliments of Stefan Engelbrecht, and added two more before the break to take an encouraging 24-0 lead at the break.
They built on this fine form in the second half and added three more tries to take their total for the match to six. Border CD, however, showed their fighting spirit and completely dominated the last 10 minutes thanks to their speedy backs, which earned them three tries to add to a penalty early in the second half for a 34-20 defeat.
Limpopo Blue Bulls - Tries: Franco Van der Watt, Stefan Engelbrecht, Salie Vermaak, Jan Coertze, Chris Jenkinson (2). Conversions: Wernich Kachelhoffer (2).
Border CD - Tries: Josh Armstrong, Aviwe Mancotywa, Soyama Ngceke. Conversion: Alrich Plaatjies. Penalty: Alrich Plaatjies.
Under-18 Craven Week day-three results:
Western Province 65 - 5 Griffons
Boland 20 - 15 Border
Blue Bulls 35 - 17 Pumas
Free State 43 - 19 Namibia
Limpopo Blue Bulls 34 - 20 Border CD
Under-18 Craven Week day-four fixtures:
09:00 - Griquas CD v Leopards
10:30 - Zimbabwe v Eastern Province CD
12:00 - SWD v Lions
13:30 - Valke v Griquas
15:00 - Eastern Province v KwaZulu-Natal