The Blue Bulls made a bold statement with their victory of 35-24 over Border on the second day of the 56th annual Craven Week at Grey College in Bloemfontein. Border led 17-10 at the break.
Border started with both of their SA Schools stalwarts, Jacques Goosen (hooker) and Jarrod Taylor (flank) and when the latter stormed over the try-line in the early stages of the matches signs were ominous for the Bulls.
The Bulls' performance in the first-half could be described as lackluster, but in the second-half it was a much more determined Blue Bulls that have taken the field. Their fullback, Zeilinga Strydom, showed a couple of times what he is capable of.
Kian Meadon dropped, placed and scored the Western Province XV to a famous 18-14 victory over the Golden Lions in the main match of the day. The flyhalf scored all of his side's point par a steamroller of a try by the winger Eben-Ezer Tshimanga in which Meadon also had a hand.
Meadon scored his side's only other try, converted it, slotted a penalty and also managed to work in a drop goal to complete a full-house. Neither teams managed to score any points in the second half in a match which reminded of a test match.
The Lions' outside centre, Henco van Wyk, found a couple of gaps in Western Province XV's defence, but could only manage to round-off one of these promising breaks.
The Griffons secured a 28-24 victory over Eastern Province thanks to a brilliant individual try by their eighthman, Keke Morabe. The burly SA Schools Nr. 8 was put in possession after a turnover just outside his team's half. He put on the jet burner shoes and slipped past a couple of defenders to score underneath the uprights to give his side the decisive lead.
Morabe's try gave the Griffons a 25-24 lead with six minutes to play. Inside centre, Dylan Smith, slotted a penalty late in the match to make sure that Eastern Province needed a try if they were to snatch the victory from the Griffons. For Eastern Province their flanker Ruan du Toit played well.
Morabe got some good support from his two flanker, Calla Pienaar and Neil Harmse, throughout the match. In the backs Smith and his midfield partner, Jaime Heynes, as well as the speedster Marno April on the wing looked dangerous every time they were put in possesion.
The Purple People Eaters haven't lost a match against Eastern Province since the Craven Week of 2008 in Pretoria. Eastern Province beat the Griffons by 35-29 on the final day of the tournament back in 2008. That team of the Griffons had players like Branco du Preez and RJ Liebenberg in their midst.
The Blue Bulls XV came out on top by 32-21 against the Golden Lions XV. The victors' flyhalf, Justin Cross, didn't have a good day at the office with the boot, but he made up for that with a excellent performance. He also scored a try after a well placed kick which he himself regathered.
Western Province XV 18 (18) - Tries: Kian Meadon, Eben-Ezer Tshimanga. Conversion: Meadon. Penalty: Meadon. Drop Goal: Meadon. Golden Lions 14 (14) - Tries: Kamohelo Tlome, Henco van Wyk. Conversions: Declan Raubenheimer (2).
Blue Bulls 35 (10) - Tries: Nsuku Baloyi (2), Raynard Roets, MJ Janse van Rensburg, Geraldo Flusk, Christiaan Kampfer. Conversion: Wikus Basson. Penalty: Basson. Border 24 (17) - Tries: Jarrod Taylor, Jacques Goosen, Indiphile Tyeda, Mntungwa Mapantsela. Conversions: Warrick Day, Sihlalo Benge.
Griffons 28 (13) - Tries: Jaime Heynes, Dylan Smith, Marno April, Keke Morabe. Conversion: Cammi Roux. Penalty: Roux, Smith. Eastern Province 24 (7) - Tries: Matt Hillary, Okkie Muller, Ryben Dupont, Bame Malesu. Conversions: Juandré Liebenberg (2).
Blue Bulls XV 32 (22) - Tries: Reinhardt Ludwig, Justin Cross, Ruan Oosthuizen, Shandon Botha, Chad Valentine. Conversions: Justin Cross (2). Penalty: Cross. Golden Lions XV 21 (14) - Tries: Marquin Uren, Sebastine Watney, Melbirt van der Spuy. Conversions: Watney (3).
Griqualand West 35 (14) - Tries: Niel Schwartz, Tlotlo Mokomela, Keano Windvogel, Elzandro Fredericks, Sello Maketlo. Conversions: Corné du Plessis (3), Steph Boshoff (2). Limpopo Blue Bulls 24 (0) - Tries: JB du Toit, Renzo du Plessis, JT Cronjé, Matome Molebogeng. Conversions: Brandon Cronjé (2).