Only two of the eight teams in action in the U18 SA Rugby Craven Week on Wednesday, in what marked their second round of matches, remained unbeaten, namely the SWD Eagles and DHL Western Province. Interestingly, only two of the teams scored less than 30 points on the day.
U18 SA Rugby Craven Week match summaries:
DHL Western Province took advantage of two red cards to the Bizhub Free State Cheetahs in what was expected to be one of the main match-ups of the day to power their way to a 51-14 victory. The home side were down to 14 men with 56 minutes to play and lost a second player to the sin bin in the second half, and this provided the extra space for the Capetonians to ease their way through the defence, which saw them touch down seven times.
DHL Western Province held a 20-0 lead at halftime and they continued their dominance in the second half to stretch their score to 51 points. Their scrumhalf Bobby Alexander scored a brace, while Kade Wolhuter (flyhalf) kicked four conversions and two penalty goals.
The Phakisa Pumas were in fine form against the Leopards as they delivered a balanced display for a rewarding 54-19 victory. Their forwards and backs made their presence felt and this paid off as they scored an impressive eight tries, seven of which were converted.
The Lowvelders’ flankers, Stirling Jaarse and Chyle van Zyl, scored two tries each, and they backed this up with a solid defensive effort to limit their opposition from North West to three tries.
The clash between the SWD Eagles and Cell C Sharks was also a high-scoring affair, with the George team surviving a determined second-half fightback by the KwaZulu-Natalians for a 39-31 victory. SWD got on the scoreboard early with two tries in quick succession, and they continued to dominate throughout the half, which saw them cruise to a 33-5 lead.
But the Cell C Sharks staged a dramatic comeback in the second half as they retained possession and showed patience on attack, while they tightened up their defence. This saw them score 26 points in the second half to outscore their opponents five tries to four, while they limited the SWD Eagles to six points after the break. SWD’s two penalty goals, however, proved crucial in the result.
A strong first half by Boland paved the way for their 36-31 victory against NWU Valke, with a conversion and penalty goal proving to be the difference on the scoreboard in the end. Boland started the clash well and built up a 17-5 lead, and this proved to be invaluable as the East Rand side fought back with intent in the second half.
Boland centre Roann Jansen crossed the chalk twice, while Nathan Engelbrecht (flyhalf) contributed a try, four conversions and a penalty goal. NWU Valke No 8 Franco Enslin was the star performer for his team, as he earned a hat-trick.
U18 SA Rugby Craven Week Day Three results (Wednesday, 3 July):
Phakisa Pumas 54-19 Leopards
Boland 36-31 NWU Valke
SWD Eagles 39-31 Cell C Sharks
Bizhub Free State Cheetahs 14-51 DHL Western Province
U18 SA Rugby Craven Week Day Four fixtures (Thursday, 4 July):
09h30 – Unitrans Limpopo Blue Bulls v Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions XV (A Field)
11h00 – EP Elephants v New Vaal Griquas (A Field)
12h30 – Thepa Trading Griffons v Assupol Blue Bulls XV (A Field)
14h00 – Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions v Border (A Field)
15h30 – Assupol Blue Bulls v DHL Western Province XV (A Field)