Write down the name of George Cronjé.
The captain en eighthman of the Free State was pure class in his side's 46-24 victory over the Sharks in the main match of the opening day of the 56th annual Craven Week at Grey College in Bloemfontein.
Cronjé forced a couple of vital turnovers for the home side. The first led to one of Lesley Botha's two tries. Cronjé also scored a try that happened so quickly that even the TMO had to watch what happened in slow-mow a couple of times.
The Free State will face Western Province in the main match on Wednesday which will probably decide one of the two spots for the final match of the week. Cronjé received some valuable support from Jan-Hendrik Wessels (prop), Tiaan Jonker (lock) and André-Hugo Venter (hooker) in the front.
The Sharks' flyhalf, Jordan Hendricks, showed promise and look to follow in the footsteps of his older brother, Jaden, who represented the Junior Springboks at the u20 World Championship in Argentina.
Botha also produced an impressive performance which without a doubt would've caught the eye of a selector or two. Free State's left wing, Pascal Ekeji, also performed well and even showed that he could be physical if needed. Even with Ekeji en tighthead prop, Tielman Nieuwoudt, in the sin bin during the last ten minutes of the match it never looked as if the Free State would lose.
Western Province 50, Boland 24
Western Province as expected proved too strong for Boland in their first encounter as the annual Craven Week. They walked from the field victors by 50-24. The victors already managed to build-up a healthy lead of 36-3 by the half-time break.
Kade Wolhuter (fullback) and Gideon van Wyk (eighthman) both managed to score a brace of tries. Wolhuter who is the first choice flyhalf had no problems to slot in at fullback. He represented Western Province and Paul Roos in this position during last season. His performance will without a doubt have given him a few ticks with the selectors.
South Western Districts 43, Pumas 22
South Western Districts shifted a couple of gears in the second half of their clash against the Pumas to secure a 43-22 victory. At half-time it was the Pumas that were in control with a 15-12 lead.
The Ostrich Farmers managed to get more quality ball to their exciting outside backs and Caston Michaels (wing), Ashaldo Kiewiet (fullback) and Alwich van der Linde (outside centre) all managed to round-off exciting runs. South Western Districts will face Sharks on Wednesday.
Valke 36, Leopards 24
Franco Enslin, eighthman and captain of the Valke, helped his side to a 36-24 victory over the Leopards during the first match on the opening day of the 56th edition of the annual Craven Week at Grey College in Bloemfontein. Enslin, also head boy of Dr. EG Jansen in Boksburg, completed a hat-trick of tries.
By the half-time mark it seemed that the Valke might be too strong for the Leopards as they managed to build up a healthy 29-0 lead. Their flanker Juandré Odendaal carried the ball well throughout the match and was a thorn in the losing side's flesh.
The Leopards clawed their way back in the second half thanks to a excellent performance by their inside centre, Lance Meintjies. At one stage the Valke was fighting to keep their lead at 29-24 after some exciting rugby by the Leopards. The losing side's fullback, Ruben Oosthuizen, also managed to score a brace of tries.
Free State 46 (24) - Tries: Leshley Botha (2), André-Hugo Venter, Tiaan Jonker, George Cronjé, Elmar Lintnaar, Ian Small-Smith. Conversions: FC du Plessis (4). Penalty: Du Plessis. Sharks 24 (19) - Tries: Mbasa Nkonki, Jordan Hendrikse, Daniel van Huizen, Ntokozo Makhaza. Conversions: Hendrikse (2).
Western Province 50 (26) - Tries: Kade Wolhuter (2), Gideon van Wyk (2), Allister Williams, Tyler Bocks, Jacques Rousseau, Marco de Witt. Conversions: Wolhuter (5). Boland 24 (3) - Tries: Boldwin Hansen, Hugo Mostert, Nathan Engelbrecht. Conversions: Mostert (2), Hansen. Penalty: Mostert.
South Western Districts 43 (12) - Tries: Ashaldo Kiewiet (2), Caston Michaels, Alwich van der Linde, Vernon Paulo, Corné Rahl, Leon Volschenk. Conversions: Hendrik Victor (2), Van der Linde, Kiewiet. Pumas 22 (15) - Tries: Martin Venter, Tristan Juries, Cyle Visagie. Conversions: Walter Visser (2). Penalty: Visser.
Valke 43 (29) - Tries: Franco Enslin (3), Juandré Odendaal, Bernard du Plessis, Tylon Kotze. Conversions: Kyle Potgieter (5). Penalty: Potgieter. Leopards 24 (0) - Tries: Ruben Oosthuizen (2), Lance Meintjies, Goodwin Nchocho. Conversion: Meintjies.