With their DHL Western Province XV counterparts also registering a victory, it proved to be a good day for the union, while Boland and the Limpopo Blue Bulls also scored more than 40 points in their wins.
The Cell C Sharks, Pumas CD and Leopards, in turn, all held on for three-point victories in hard-close encounters.
SA Rugby Academy Week match summaries:
The Cell C Sharks and Free State Cheetahs set the tone for the week with a gripping opening match in which neither team gave an inch, with the visitors edging through for a narrow 41-38 victory thanks to a vital penalty goal. Both sides scored six tries and converted four of them, with the Free State centre Franco Knoetze touching down a notable five times for his side, but the Kwa-Zulu Natalians opted for a rewarding penalty goal, which paid off.
DHL Western Province racked up the biggest score of the day as they ran riot on attack against the Blue Bulls, scoring an impressive 11 tries for a rewarding 73-10 victory. The Capetonians were in hot form, cutting through the defence at will, and they backed this up with fantastic support play. WP Speedster Dalvon Bradley Blood touched down four times for his team, while Luke Burger earned a brace. With limited possession and no answer for the endless DHL WP attack, the Pretoria side managed only 10 points for their efforts.
Their DHL Western Province XV counterparts also showed their class against EP Elephants CD as they secured a comprehensive 41-17 victory thanks to their seven tries to three. The first half was competitive as the Cape side led 19-12, but they broke away after play resumed, with prop Wiaan Schmidt and scrumhalf Brandon Jafta each dotting down twice.
The Limpopo Blue Bulls also got their campaign off to a strong start as they played their way to a 47-24 victory against the EP Elephants after taking an encouraging 24-12 halftime lead. Limpopo flyhalf, Zander Deridder, proved to be a points’ machine for his team, scoring two tries, four conversions and three penalty goals for a personal tally of 27 points. The Port Elizabeth team tried hard to make their presence felt, and they scored four tries for their efforts, but the opposition had too much firepower.
Boland used their point-scoring opportunities well against Old Mutual Zimbabwe, with the team building up an encouraging 22-10 halftime lead before securing a 45-29 victory. The Winelands side scored six tries to five by Zimbabwe, although three penalty goals allowed them to create some breathing space on the scoreboard. Boland scrumhalf Justin Henning scored two of his team’s tries, while Aaron Juma (hooker) and Kwesi Owusu (winger) each scored a brace for the visiting side.
Pumas CD’s accurate goal-kicking sealed them a narrow 20-17 victory against Border CD despite the Eastern Cape outfit outscoring them three tries to two – with Lwazi Mdoda contributing a brace. But the Mpumalanga outfit’s two conversions and two penalty goals earned them the win.
The clash between Cell C Sharks CD and the Leopards was equally hard-fought, but the men from Potchefstroom prevailed as they were able to build on their 17-12 halftime lead for a 27-24 win, and once again a penalty goal proved to be the difference on the scoreboard. The teams each scored four times and slotted over two conversions, but a penalty goal by Leopards flyhalf Stephan van Niekerk got them the desired result.
SA Rugby Academy Week day-one results (Monday, 1 July):
Free State Cheetahs 38-41 Cell C Sharks
Border CD 17-20 Pumas CD
Cell C Sharks CD 24-27 Leopards
DHL Western Province 73-10 Blue Bulls
EP Elephants CD 17-41 DHL Western Province XV
Old Mutual Zimbabwe 29-45 Boland
EP Elephants 24-47 Limpopo Blue Bulls
U18 SA Rugby Academy Week day-two fixtures (Tuesday, 2 July):
08h00 – SWD Eagles v Border (A Field)
08h00 – Griquas CD v SA LSEN XV (B Field)
09h20 – Phakisa Pumas v SA LSEN (B Field)
10h40 – Blue Bulls XV v Thepa Trading Griffons CD (B Field)
12h00 – Thepa Trading Griffons v Griquas (B Field)
13h20 – Namibia v Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions Academy XV (B Field)
14h40 – Valke v Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions Academy (B Field)
U18 SA Rugby Academy Week day-three fixtures (Wednesday, 3 July):
08h20 - Blue Bulls v Leopards (A Field)
08h20 - Blue Bulls CD v Sharks CD (B Field)
09h40 - Limpopo Blue Bulls v DHL Western Province XV (A Field)
09h40 - Pumas CD v Eastern Province CD (B Field)
11h00 - Eastern Province v Zimbabwe (B Field)
12h20 - Free State Cheetahs v Boland (B Field)
13h40 - DHL Western Province v Cell C Sharks (B Field)