The Coca-Cola under-16 Grant Khomo Week got off to an exciting start at the Isak Steyl Stadium in Vanderbijlpark on Monday with a cocktail of big victories and close encounters keeping spectators entertained.
Such was the competitiveness of the clashes on the opening day only Western Province, SWD and the Valke XV registered convincing wins, while the Blue Bulls, KwaZulu-Natal, Border and the Golden Lions were made to work hard for their victories.
The Cape-based team was particularly impressive as they crossed the chalk seven times against the Leopards for their 50-12 victory in a match that set the tone for a gripping tournament.
The Western Province forwards and backs combined well to produce a solid display, but it was their effectiveness at snuffing out gaps in the defence and creating point-scoring chances that put them in the driving seat. The match was particularly memorable for Taigh Schoor, who scored a hat-trick of tries, and Jondre Williams who contributed 15 points with the boot.
The clash between the Blue Bulls and Eastern Province, meanwhile, lived up to its billing as one of the top clashes of the day, as a last-minute try by Bulls scrumhalf Embrose Papier earned his team their 30-26 victory. The clash proved to be a close encounter from the start, with EP No8 Malan Marais crashing over the tryline in the fourth minute to open up the scoring. But the Bulls hit back minutes later with two penalties and a try to only one penalty by EP, which handed them an 11-10 lead at the break. The second half was equally tense as the teams each scored two tries in what proved to be a see-saw half. Papier’s try, however, in which he picked up the ball from the ruck and out-paced a few defenders to score under the posts, proved to be the decisive moment of the match.
Border also snuck through the back door for their 15-13 win against the Free State thanks to a last-minute penalty by Morgan Steyn, this despite scoring two tries to only one by the opposition, while Zimbabwe staged a strong second-half comeback from 12-5 down against Griquas Country Districts to register a well-deserved 15-12 victory.
The Lions, meanwhile, delivered a spectacular second-half display to recover from a 15-7 deficit at half time against the
Valke for a 29-20 bonus point victory. The team lifted the urgency and tempo in their performance significantly after a sluggish first half and used their pace to take advantage of the open spaces, which earned them three-second half tries.
KwaZulu-Natal 16 (10) – Try: Robert du Randt. Conversion: Bader-Werner Pretorius. Penalties: Pretorius (3). Limpopo Blue Bulls 12 (7) – Try: Johann du Preez, Bjanyana Molokomme. Conversion: Donovan Pretorius.
Western Province 50 (29) – Tries: Taigh Schoor (3), Gustav Marais, Keenan Abrahams, Ryan Muller, Zain Davids. Conversions: Jondré Williams (6). Penalty: Williams. Leopards 12 (12) – Tries: Anré O’Neill, Gerrit Bezuidenhout. Conversion: Johan Pelser.
Blue Bulls 30 (11) – Tries: Embrose Papier, Hluma Zondani, Khwezi Mafu, Wayne van der Bank. Conversions: Wayne van der Bank (2). Penalties: Eduard Fouché (2). Eastern Province 26 (10) – Tries: Duan du Plessis, Malan Marais, Immanuel Libbok. Conversion: Denver Kleu, Curwin Bosch. Penalties: Bosch (2).
South Western Districts 21 (8) – Tries: Albert de Wet (2), Renaldo Ferreira. Penalties: Logan Stoffels, JP Duvenhage. Griffons 10 (7) – Try: Karabelo Moleko. Conversion: Luan James. Penalty: James.
Border 15 (7) – Tris: Courtney Winnaar, Geraldo Joseph. Conversion: Morgan Steyn. Penalty: Steyn. Free State 13 (3) – Try: PR Serfontein. Conversion: Dawid Snyman. Penalties: Snyman (2).
Namibia 13 (6) – Try: Desmond Gaseb. Conversion: Pieter Steenkamp. Penalties: Steenkamp (2). Griqualand West 9 (3) – Penalties: Lourens Steenkamp (3).
Boland 17 (12) – Tries: Xolisa Guma, Andell Loubser, Adriaan van der Bank. Conversion: Van der Bank. Pumas 10 (10) – Try: Cyprian Nkomo. Conversion: Chris Hanekom. Penalty: Hanekom.
Zimbabwe 15 (5) – Tries: Anton Ciampi, Jeff Makoni. Conversion: Campbill Nyakudya. Penalty: Takudzwa Gamanya. Griqualand West Country Districts 12 (12) – Tries: Willrich Delie, Reinhard Heyns. Conversion: Lynthen Barties.
Golden Lions 29 (7) – Tries: Morne van den Berg (2), Willem Massyn, Junior Ntlhane. Conversions: Kyle Lues (3). Penalty: Lues. Valke 20 (15) – Tries: Charlton Bock (2), Xander Crause. Conversion: Crause. Penalty: Crause.
Valke XV 28 (21) – Tries: Wernich Human, David Keyser, David Joubert, David Bailey. Conversions: Human (2), David Henning (2). Border Country Districts 3 (0) – Penalty: Mbasa Peza.