The Capetonians, who took top honours in the 2018 edition of the tournament, registered the biggest win of the day as they got the better of Boland for a 50-24 win.
U18 SA Rugby Craven Week match summaries:
DHL Western Province gave a strong account of themselves as they powered their way to a 50-24 victory against their Cape neighbours, Boland. The team’s forwards laid a solid foundation up front, and their backs showed enterprise on attack, while they did well to round off their point-scoring chances. Fullback Kade Wolhuter was in fine form, scoring two tries and five penalty goals for his 20 points, while No 8 Gideon Van Wyk also crossed the chalk twice. Such was the high quality of the DHL Western Province display they limited Boland to three points in the first half, but the Winelands’ team fought back strongly with three second-half tries. This, however, not enough to counter their rivals.
The Bizhub Free State Cheetahs also made their presence felt as they produced the goods in a gripping match in which both teams threw the kitchen sink to emerge 46-24 victors. It was a quality battle as both teams tried to make their presence felt using their forwards, and supported this with hard running and tactical kicking. The KwaZulu-Natal side struck first but a brace by the home side’s centre, Lesley Botha, saw them score four tries to three by the visitors for a morale-boosting 24-19 halftime lead. The teams continued to give everything after the break, but the Bizhub Free State Cheetahs did well to capitalise on their try-scoring chances, adding three more tries to their tally, while they limited the opposition to one more try for the victory.
The NWU Valke started their clash against the Leopards with a bang, racing to a convincing 29-0 halftime lead, but the Leopards fought back with intent to close the gap to 29-24, before the Valke’s No 8, Franco Enslin, wrapped up his hat-trick to nudge the side to a 42-24 victory. The Gauteng side ran hard on attack in the first half and complimented this with good finishing, but they met strong resistance from the Leopards after the break, who retained possession and did well to apply pressure on attack. The Kempton Park outfit, however, remained composed until the end and held on for the win.
The SWD Eagles were made to work hard for their 43-22 victory against the Phakisa Pumas, with a good second-half fightback allowing them to overturn a 15-12 halftime deficit. In the end the George side out-scored their opponents seven tries to three, with fullback Ashchaldo Kiewiet earning two five-pointers, as they showed patience on attack and chipped away at the Phakisa Pumas defence.
U18 SA Rugby Craven Week day-one results (Monday, 1 July):
NWU Valke 43-24 Leopards
Phakisa Pumas 22-43 SWD Eagles
DHL Western Province 50-24 Boland
Bizhub Free State Cheetahs 46-24 Cell C Sharks
U18 SA Rugby Craven Week day-two fixtures (Tuesday, 2 July):
09h30 – Griquas v Unitrans Limpopo Blue Bulls (A Field)
11h00 – Assupol Blue Bulls XV v Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions XV (A Field)
12h30 – EP Elephants v Thepa Trading Griffons (A Field)
14h00 – Assupol Blue Bulls v Border (A Field)
15h30 – Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions v DHL Western Province XV (A Field)
SA Rugby Craven Week day-three fixtures (Wednesday, 3 July):
11h00 – Phakisa Pumas v Leopards (A Field)
12h30 – Boland v NWU Valke (A Field)
14h00 – SWD Eagles v Cell C Sharks (A Field)
15h30 – Bizhub Free State Cheetahs v DHL Western Province (A Field)