Cape Town - The Golden Lions and Blue Bulls took top
honours in the Under-18 Craven Week and Academy Weeks in an
exciting finish to the SA Rugby Youth Weeks series at St Stithians College in
Johannesburg on Saturday.
The Golden Lions defeated the Sharks 45-18 in
a thrilling final match in the Under-18 Craven Week, while the Blue Bulls
outplayed Western Province 49-37 in the main match in the Academy
In stark contrast to the opening four days play in the
tournaments, the other matches proved to be close, which kept fans gripped
throughout the day.
The Golden Lions got the final match of the Craven Week off to a strong start as wing Tino Swanepoel
navigated his way to the tryline in the ninth minute. But the Sharks hit back
soon after with scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba slotting a penalty goal, which
they backed up with two tries in two minutes by Conan Le Fleur and Cham Zondeki
respectively. The teams exchanged penalty goals soon after through centre
Kennedy Mpeku and Nohamba, which pushed the Sharks 18-11 ahead going into half-time.
The hosts bounced back with intent in the second half with
flank Franco Schutte crashing over the tryline two minutes after play resumed
and the successful conversion saw them level the scores. Both sides had
opportunities in the following minutes, which they were unable to capitalise
on. A subsequent penalty goal by Mpeku and back-to-back tries in two minutes by
winger David Cary and flank Mark Snyman, however, earned them a 17-point
cushion with 12 minutes left on the clock. This fuelled their motivation as
Mpeku inflicted further damage with a penalty, while flank PJ Jacobs forced
his way over the tryline on the stroke of full-time for a rewarding 45-18
In the Academy Week the Blue Bulls overcame a
hard-fought first half against Western Province for a 49-37 victory and the
honours as the top team in the competition. Blue Bulls centre Edmund Ludik
played a key role in the team’s performance with his try, four conversions and
two penalty goals. The Pretoria side scored seven tries to the Capetonians’
five in a fantastic North-South derby. The victory saw the Blue Bulls finish
the tournament unbeaten.
Free State continued their fine form in the tournament and
delivered a solid performance for a 54-33 victory against Western Province.
The first half was gripping as the teams exchanged tries throughout the half,
with the Free State taking a narrow 29-26 lead. The Bloemfontein side, however,
built on their attack as the game progressed, while they tightened up their
defence, to earn seven tries to the Cape side’s five. Free State flyhalf
Christopher Schreuder, meanwhile, kept the scoreboard ticking with his
effective kicking and earned five conversions, two penalty goals and a drop
goal for his efforts.
The Blue Bulls also finished the tournament with a victory
as they pipped Border 45-40. Blue Bulls centre Marnus Potgieter scored
hat-trick, while fullback Diego Appollis earned a brace and flyhalf Ulrich
Maritz slotted over five conversions in key performances for the side. In the
end an unconverted try was the difference scoreboard as the Pretoria side
scored seven tries to Border’s six.
SWD overcame a strong challenge from the Pumas for a
rewarding 49-36 victory after trailing 17-14 at half-time. The first half was
tight as the teams proved to be closely matched in all areas of their game, but
the lapses in defence by both sides in the second half saw SWD increase their
try tally to seven, while the Mpumalanga side were only able to score five. SWD
flyhalf James Mollentze made a valuable contribution to their score as he
scored a try and kicked seven conversions for 19 points.
A penalty goal proved to be the difference on the scoreboard
as Eastern Province held on in a tough encounter against the Leopards for a
29-26 victory. The Eastern Cape side worked their way to an encouraging 15-5
lead at the break, but they faced a determined onslaught from the Leopards in
the second half. Both sides scored four tries and kicked three conversions in
the match, but the penalty goal by Eastern Province proved vital as it nudged
them to victory.
The Valke staged a strong second-half comeback from 17-29
down against Griquas CD to secure a narrow 43-41 victory in a thrilling match.
Three Valke players contributed a brace to the team’s seven tries, while
Griquas CD’s six tries, four conversions and penalty goal allowed them to
remain in the game. Their determined efforts, however, were not enough in the
Griquas started their clash with a bang as they ran in
three tries in the first 10 minutes for a 21-0 lead, but they faced a tough
challenge from the Limpopo Blue Bulls as the match progressed. The Kimberley
side won 57-34 in the end as they delivered a constructive performance with
their forwards and backs doing their bit on attack to guide the side to nine
tries - three of which were scored by hooker Rory Leijdekkers. Limpopo centre
Vincent Roos also touched down three times for his team, but the side’s efforts
were not enough to outplay Griquas.
In the International, meanwhile, Namibia defeated Zimbabwe 45-21 spurred on by a fantastic performance by Namibian fullback
Delron Brandt. The player scored two of the team’s six tries and slotted over
six conversions and a penalty goal for 25 points, while they limited the
opposition to two first-half tries and one in the second half.
The Griffons’ stamped their authority early
on against Boland to steer their way to a comprehensive 42-12 victory after
taking a 22-0 lead at the break. The Welkom side’s flyhalf Andrew Kota was
instrumental in their success as he scored one of the team’s five tries, while
he kicked four conversions and three penalty goals for 22 points. The Tshepa
Trading Griffons backed up this efficient attacking display with solid defence
to limit Boland to two tries for their efforts.
Eastern Province CD ran riot on attack to score 12 tries for
a 70-0 victory against Border CD thanks to their effective attack, with hooker
Dean Jenkins scoring a hat-trick They supported this with a solid showing on
defence, to deny Border CD from scoring a point.
The Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions XV ensured that they
finished the tournament on a high note in front of their home crowd as they
powered their way to a 45-14 victory against SWD thanks to a dominant second
half performance. Such was the good quality of their attack and defence they
ran in a total of seven tries to two by the George side. However, they were
tested thoroughly in the first half, which saw them take a narrow 13-7
A classy performance by Free State flyhalf Alex-Zander Du
Plessis, meanwhile, set up his team for a 38-29 victory against the Sharks,
with a personal total of 28 points thanks to his hat-trick, five conversions
and penalty goal. The Bloemfontein side led 21-19 at the break, but their
accurate goal-kicking handed them the edge on the scoreboard as each side
scored five tries in the match.
Border also held their nerve in a tight affair against the
Tshepa Trading Griffons to convert their 12-10 halftime lead into a 34-27
victory. Border lock Simbongile Kampi was a star player for his team as he
scored three of their five tries, while fullback Sibalomzi Mqeni’s superior
goal-kicking thanks to his three conversions and penalty goal, proved to be the
difference on the scoreboard as both teams finished the match with five
Six tries by Valke Platteland to five by the Limpopo Blue
Bulls earned them a 38-31 victory in an entertaining match. Valke Platteland
made their presence felt early on to play their way to a 23-7 lead at the
break, and that paved the way for their victory despite a strong second-half
fightback by the Limpopo side in which they scored 24 points.
The Leopards solid goal-kicking also secured a 35-34 victory
for them against Eastern Province, as the team was outscored six tries to five
by the Eastern Cape side. The Potchefstroom team led 21-17 at the break and
they added two converted tries in a closely fought second half in which Eastern
Province scored 17 points, but their five conversions was enough to seal the
A strong first half showing by GWK Griquas CD in which they
built up a 33-12 lead earned them a 59-30 victory against Border CD. In total
GWK Griquas CD ran in nine tries to four by Border CD, with centre Valdo
Pieters and scrumhalf Charl Olivier each contributing a brace.
Eastern Province CD and the Pumas were involved in a tight
tussle from start to end, with the Eastern Cape side taking a narrow 17-14
halftime lead, while they managed to hang on for a 27-21 victory. Eastern
Province CD’s inaccurate goal-kicking – an area the Pumas proved to be strong
in – cost them a few points, but fortunately they made better use of their
opportunities to outscore the Pumas five tries to three.
The Tshepa Trading Griffons bounced back from trailing 19-12
at the break against Sharks CD to earn a 26-26 draw as both sides scored four
tries and converted three in a tight match. Sharks CD winger Jacques Lindeque
scored a hat-trick for his team in a fine display, which also earned him the
man of the match award.
In another close encounter, hosts, the Bidvest Waltons
Golden Lions defeated Boland 26-19 as they scored four tries to the Western
Cape sides three. The Johannesburg team snuck 12-7 ahead in the first half and
they capitalised on their point-scoring chances as the match continued and
slotted over three of their four conversions to seal the victory.
In the Test match, Namibia overturned a 10-5 halftime
deficit to defeat Old Mutual Zimbabwe 27-24. Namibia were solid on attack
as they crossed the chalk five times, while they limited their African
neighbours to three. But Old Mutual Zimbabwe’s effective goal-kicking which saw
them convert all three tries and a kick a penalty goal kept them in the match.
This, however, was not enough as they fell three points short on the scoreboard.
The Valke and Pumas CD were involved in a gripping match,
which saw the Kempton Park side register a close 40-36 victory. Such was the
closeness of the match the Valke led 26-24 at the break, and the teams
continued to throw everyone at one another as the match progressed, which saw
the sides each earn six tries. The Valke’s kicking, however, proved to be the
difference on the scoreboard.
GWK Griquas dominated their clash against the SA Learners
with Special Education Needs (LSEN) team as they produced a balanced
performance to power their way to a 17-0 lead, which they built on for a 22-10
victory. The SA LSEN team tightened up their defence in the second half and
stepped up their attack to earn double figures, but these efforts were too
little too late.
Craven Week Day 5 results:
Province CD 70-0 Border CD
Blue Bulls 34-57 GWK Griquas
43-41 Griquas CD
Province 29-26 Leopards
40-45 Blue Bulls
State 54-33 Western Province
18-45 Golden Lions
Academy Week Day 5 results:
CD 30-59 GWK Griquas CD
21-27 Eastern Province CD
Zimbabwe 24-27 Namibia
CD 26-26 Griffons CD
19-26 Golden Lions
LSEN 10-22 GWK Griquas
CD 36-40 Valke
29-38 Free State
Province 34-35 Leopards
Blue Bulls 31-38 Valke Platteland
Bulls 49-37 Western Province
14-45 Golden Lions XV