It was a rewarding day for DHL Western Province in the U13 Coca-Cola Craven Week and U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week at Grey College in Bloemfontein on Friday as both teams won the final matches in their respective SA Rugby Youth Weeks in style.
The U13 Coca-Cola Craven Week team earned top honours in the competition for the fifth season in a row as they defeated Eastern Province 28-0, while the U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week team beat SWD 38-10.
The Western Province U13 team got their match off to a flying start against Eastern Province as they retained possession and applied pressure on attack, which earned them two early tries. Eastern Province tried hard to make a breakthrough, but the Cape side’s solid defence held them out. Another well-timed try by Western Province before halftime extended their lead to 21-0.
The Cape side continued their fine form in the second half and did well to sneak through the gaps in the Eastern Province defence, which earned them another try to take a 28-0 lead. Eastern Province tightened up the defence as the game progressed, but while this proved to be effective in denying Western Province from adding to their score, they were still unable to make their presence on attack.
The DHL Western Province U16 team, meanwhile, snuck through the gaps in the SWD defence to score six tries to only two by the George side. The forward packs were evenly matched and they delivered solid possession for the backs, but the difference between the sides was the Cape side’s ability to convert half chances into points.
DHL Western Province struck first with a try in the opening minutes of the game and they added another later in the half, while SWD earned only one converted try, which handed the Capetonians a 12-5 halftime lead.
SWD struck back immediately after the break to reduce the deficit to 12-10, but four more well-worked tries by the Cape side allowed them to secure an emphatic 38-10 victory.
In the other U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week matches KZN pipped the Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions 32-29, Namibia outplayed Old Mutual Zimbabwe 59-19, the Itec Blue Bulls defeated Boland 43-32, the Western Province XV registered a 60-26 victory against the Free State XV, the Leopards defeated Border CD 46-3, Free State beat Border 38-20, Eastern Province went down 36-20 against the Valke and the Griffons beat the Limpopo Blue Bulls 29-19.
In the U13 Coca-Cola Craven Week Boland and SWD played to a 17-17 draw, the Itec Valke drew 24-24 with KZN, while the Pumas registered a comprehensive 106-0 win against Border CD, Namibia defeated the Griffons 27-20, Old Mutual Zimbabwe went down 21-37 against Xerox Griquas, the Itec Blue Bulls beat the Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions 26-17, Border pipped the Forever Resorts Limpopo Blue Bulls 31-29 and the Leopards beat the Free State 20-19.
U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week
A try in the dying minutes allowed KZN to snatch a 32-29 victory against the Bidvest Walton Golden Lions in a gripping match. The Johannesburg side led for most of the match and held a narrow 19-15 halftime lead. They increased their tally to 29 points in the second half, but two tries late in the game by the Durban side – one of which was scored on the stroke of fulltime – guided KZN to victory.
Hosts, the Free State, also gave their fans something to smile about as they defeated Border 38-20 thanks to a solid performance in which they scored six tries. Border, who were 24-10 down at halftime, fought back in the second half and managed to increase their try tally to four, but this was not enough to stop the home team, who also added two converted tries to their score.
The Valke’s forwards, meanwhile, laid a solid foundation to power the side to a 36-20 victory against Eastern Province. The Valke started the clash well and built up a 19-7 lead, and they built on this in the second half, which earned them five tries to only two by Eastern Province.
In their traditional international clash, Namibia delivered a solid performance all-around to cruise to a 59-19 victory against Old Mutual Zimbabwe. Such was the high quality of Namibia’s attack they built up an encouraging 31-5 victory at the break, and then built on this to touch down a notable nine times in total, while they limited their African neighbours to 19 points.
The Itec Blue Bulls also stamped their authority against Boland as they held their nerve following a tight first half to break away with six tries to only four by the Western Cape side for a 43-32 victory. Itec Blue Bulls scrumhalf Jurie Claasens, in particular, had a memorable game as he scored two tries, four conversions and a penalty goal for a personal tally of 21 points.
The Leopards also finished the tournament on a high note as their effective display on attack and defence steered them to a 46-3 victory against Border CD, thanks to a rewarding eight tries. The Eastern Cape side struggled to make their presence felt and were only able to score a penalty goal for their efforts.
Western Province XV showed good form in their clash against the Free State XV to register a rewarding 60-26 victory thanks to an impressive 10 tries. The Cape side led 26-5 at the break, but they gathered momentum in the second half and ran riot on attack.
Griquas, meanwhile, overcame a hard-fought first half against the Pumas in which the teams were level on 12-12 to secure a 24-12 victory. Griquas tightened up their defence in the second half and denied the Mpumalanga outfit from adding to their score, while they continued to use their chances on attack, which allowed them to cross the tryline an impressive four times.
The Griffons, meanwhile, outscored the Forever Resorts Limpopo Blue Bulls five tries to three for their 29-19 victory after holding a narrow five-point lead at the break.
U13 Coca-Cola Craven Week
The clash between Border and SWD was thrilling as the teams gave everything on attack and defence, which resulted in a competitive match that ended in a draw. The sides were level at 10-10 for most of the game before SWD broke through to score a converted try. But this was cancelled out in the dying minutes as Boland forced their way through to the tryline for a 17-17 draw.
The Itec Valke and KZN also played to a 24-24 draw, as the Kempton Park side staged a second-half comeback from 12-19 down to match the Durban side’s four tries. Itec Valke, lock Aiden Smith and winger Happy Nhlapo each scored a brace to allow the team to draw the match.
In another nail-biting encounter Border pipped Forever Resorts Limpopo Blue Bulls 31-29 with three conversions to two by the Limpopo side being the difference on the scoreboard. Border took an encouraging 19-5 lead at the break, but the opposition hit back strongly in the second half, while Border continued to show their determination on attack. The result was that both teams finished the match with five tries. The match was particularly special for Border winger Mihle Matinise, who finished the tournament with a hat-trick.
The Leopards, meanwhile, pipped the Free State 20-19 as they out-scored the hosts four tries to three. Free State started the match well and built up a 14-5 lead, but the Leopards fought back with intent to score three tries to only one by the hosts, which sealed the victory.
Namibia’s goal-kicking sealed their 27-20 victory against the Griffons, as their penalty goal and two conversions proved to be the difference on the scoreboard. The Griffons led 10-5 at the break, and they added another two tries in the second half, but they were unable to convert any of them. In turn Namibia slotted over three kicks to add to their four tries.
The Pumas, meanwhile, earned the biggest winning margin in the tournament as they outplayed Border CD 106-0 after running in a notable 18 tries. Lock Divan Venter scored a hat-trick with four players scoring two tries in the match.
The Xerox Griquas, meanwhile, overcame a tight first half against Old Mutual Zimbabwe in which they led 15-7 at the break to register a 37-21 victory, as they outscored Zimbabwe seven tries to three.
The Itec Blue Bulls and Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions were involved in a tight tussle, but the Pretoria side’s four tries to only three by their neighbours allowed them to seal their 26-17 victory.
The SA Rugby Youth Weeks series will continue next week at St Stithians College in Johannesburg where the U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week and Coca-Cola Academy Week will be hosted.