The Sharks, Blue Bulls and SWD on Wednesday stood out as the top teams in an entertaining second round of the Under-16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week at Paarl Gymnasium, as they registered vital victories to emerge as the top contenders to contest the final match of the tournament on Friday.
The Sharks defeated Boland 10-5, while the Itec Blue Bulls held their nerve to secure a 35-31 victory against the Bidvest Golden Lions and SWD ran in an impressive seven tries for a 39-7 victory against the Leopards.
The Sharks defended like demons to shut out an over-eager Boland side in the first half, who created several try-scoring chances but battled to convert them into points due to errors at crucial times. The Sharks, meanwhile, showed composure on attack and defence, which they supported with a strong counter-attack. But with Boland showing heart on defence, the Durban side scored the only points of the first half compliments of a penalty goal.
The Sharks came out firing in the second half and their efforts paid off with a well-worked try for a 10-0 lead seven minutes after play resumed. But Boland hit back with a try eight minutes before the final whistle to keep alive their hopes of a victory. These hopes, however, were dashed as neither team was able to add to their score.The Itec Blue Bulls, meanwhile, were firmly in control in the first half against the Bidvest Golden Lions as their forwards and backs combined well, while they backed this up with solid support play. This effective performance earned them four first-half tries to only two by their Gauteng counterparts for 25-14 halftime lead.
The Blue Bulls added their fifth try shortly after the break to extend their lead, but the Golden Lions fought back with intent to score three tries in 14 minutes to reduce the deficit. A handy penalty by the Pretoria team three minutes before the final whistle, however, inflated their lead sufficiently to hold on for the 35-31 victory.
SWD, meanwhile, were in fine form from the outset in their clash against the Leopards and scored their first of four-first half tries in the eighth minute as they used their skills and speed to outplay the Leopards.
The George side led 17-7 at the break and they continued to build on this momentum in the second half to add three more tries to take their tally for the match to seven. The Leopards, meanwhile, battled to make their presence felt and had to settle for a 39-7 defeat.
Hosts, DHL Western Province, meanwhile, bounced back strongly from their round-one defeat against neighbours, Boland, by registering a convincing 29-7 victory against Griquas, while the DHL Western Province XV beat the Konica Minolta Free State 34-14.
Western Province showed promise on attack early on in their clash against Griquas as they worked their way close to the tryline on a few occasions, but were shut out by the determined defence. They finally broke through for their first try in the 24th minute and earned another five minutes later, which added to an early penalty goal, handed them a 15-0 lead at the break.
The team built on this momentum in the second half and added two more tries to stretch their lead to 29-0. Griquas, however, hit back with a late try to go down 29-7.
In the other matches, Eastern Province defeated the Griffons 16-6, the Limpopo Blue Bulls registered an emphatic 46-0 victory against Border CD, the Pumas cruised to a 32-7 victory against Namibia, while the Valke beat Old Mutual Zimbabwe 20-12 and Border overpowered Boland XV 42-0.
•The Under-13 Coca-Cola Craven Week will resume on Thursday following Wednesday’s rest day, with Border CD taking on Namibia, and Griquas meeting the Pumas in the opening matches at 10h00.
In the main match-ups hosts, DHL Western Province, will battle it out with the Itec Blue Bulls, the TW Profile Services Valke will go up against the Sharks and the Bidvest Golden Lions will meet Boland.
•In the National Girls U18 Week, meanwhile, Border and Western Province have been drawn against one another in the final match of the tournament on Friday after impressive performances in the first two rounds of the tournament at the Northern Cape High School in Kimberley.
Border, Western Province, Zimbabwe and the Pumas remained the four unbeaten teams in the competition after registering rewarding victories on Wednesday.
Border built on their victory against the Blue Bulls on Monday with a 17-10 victory in a tight encounter against Eastern Province, while Western Province thumped Boland 59-3, to book their places in the final match.
Zimbabwe, meanwhile, registered an impressive 43-5 victory against the Limpopo Blue Bulls, while the Pumas defeated the Leopards 35-0 to secure back-to-back victories in the tournament.
In the other matches, the Griffons overpowered the Valke 35-0, Griquas edged a narrow 7-0 victory against Free State, SWD pipped the Golden Lions 7-5 and the Blue Bulls held onto a 15-12 victory against KwaZulu-Natal.
U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week day two results (Wednesday, 6 July):
Note to Editors: Click on the hyperlinks below to get the run-of-play for each match
EP 16 (16) – 6 (3) Griffons
Border CD 0 (0) – 46 (15) Limpopo Blue Bulls
Konica Minolta Free State 14 (0) – 34 (14) DHL Western Province XV
Pumas 32 (22) – 7 (0) Namibia
DHL Western Province 29 (15) – 7 (0) vs Griquas
Valke 20 (10) – 12 (5) Old Mutual Zimbabwe
Leopards 7 (7) – 39 (17) SWD
Boland XV 0 (0) – 42 (18) Border
Bidvest Golden Lions 31 (14) – 35 (25) Blue Bulls
Boland 5 (0) – 10 (3) Sharks
U13 Coca-Cola Craven Week round-three fixtures (Thursday, 7 July)
10h00 – Border CD vs Namibia
11h00 – Griffons vs Eastern Province
12h00 – Free State vs Leopards
13h00 – Forever Resorts Limpopo Blue Bulls vs SWD
14h00 – Bidvest Golden Lions vs Boland
15h00 – TW Profile Services Valke vs Sharks
16h00 – DHL Western Province vs Itec Blue Bulls
10h00 – Griquas vs Pumas
11h00 – Border CD vs Old Mutual Zimbabwe
National Girls U18 Week day two fixtures (Wednesday, 6 July):
Leopards 0 – 35 Pumas
Valke 0 – 35 Griffons
Free State 0 – 7 Griquas
SWD 7 – 5 Golden Lions
KZN 12 – 15 Blue Bulls
Zimbabwe 43 – 5 Limpopo Blue Bulls
Western Province 59 – 3 Boland
Border 17 – 10 Eastern Province
National Girls U18 Week day three fixtures (Friday, 8 July):
08h00 – SWD vs Pumas (A Field)
08h00 – Valke vs Free State (B Field)
09h10 – Griquas vs KZN (A Field)
09h10 – Leopards vs Griffons (B Field)
10h20 – Boland vs Blue Bulls (A Field)
10h20 – Limpopo Blue Bulls vs Golden Lions (B Field)
11h30 – Zimbabwe vs Eastern Province (A Field)
12h40 – Western Province vs Border (A Field)