The U13 Coca-Cola Craven Week and U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week got off to a thrilling start at Grey College in Bloemfontein on Monday with a mixture of big wins and gripping encounters characterising the opening day’s play.
Free State, the Griffons, Limpopo Blue Bulls, SWD and Western Province registered the biggest scores of the day in the U16 Coca-Cola Craven Week, while Western Province, the Blue Bulls, Zimbabwe and Eastern Province stamped their authority in the U13 Coca-Cola Craven Week, with the lowest score by the winning teams being 32 points.
In the U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week, hosts, Free State dominated their clash against Zimbabwe completely to earn a 71-19 victory, while the Griffons registered a comprehensive 69-13 victory against Border CD, the Limpopo Blue Bulls defeated the Valke for a 48-19, SWD beat the Pumas 39-23 and Western Province outplayed the Blue Bulls 36-17.
In the U13 Coca-Cola Craven Week, meanwhile, Western Province cruised to a 71-0 victory against the Griffons, the Blue Bulls defeated hosts, the Free State, 45-12, Zimbabwe overpowered Border CD 41-0 and Eastern Province beat the Leopards 32-15.
U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week
Free State came out firing in their clash against Zimbabwe as they dominated upfront and ran riot on attack with their speedy backs, which saw them take a 45-0 halftime lead. Despite this Zimbabwe refused to give up and scored three times after the break, but they were unable to stop the orange machine from continuing their fantastic attacking form. The home team scored 12 tries in total for a 71-19 defeat.
The Griffons started the tournament with a bang as they delivered an impressive performance all round to cross the chalk 11 times, en route to their 69-13 victory against Border CD. Griffons winger Mpho Ntsutle and No 8 Keke Morabe each scored a hat-trick in what was a memorable start to the tournament.
The Limpopo Blue Bulls also showed their class on attack and they did well to capitalise on their try-scoring chances, which earned them an impressive eight tries, while they leaked only three to secure their 48-19 victory.
SWD also showed their mettle against the Pumas as they delivered a solid performance in all facets of their game to register a 39-23 victory, with five tries to three by the Mpumalanga side. SWD No8 Hendrick Victor and Pumas winger Michael Dlamini each scored a brace for their teams in the match.
Western Province, meanwhile, overcame a tight first quarter against the Blue Bulls in which the teams were level at 14-14 and found their rhythm on attack to cross the tryline five times in total to power their way to a 36-17 victory.
In the closer encounters, Border fought hard against the Golden Lions and did well to apply pressure and work their way into the opposition’s half at crucial stages, which allowed them to outscore the Johannesburg outfit four tries to two for a 24-13 victory. Both the Lions’ tries were scored by centre Henco van Wyk.
Namibia on the other hand staged a strong second-half fightback from 17-14 down against the Leopards at halftime to score five tries to three by the Potchefstroom side for their 31-23 victory.
Eastern Province had the upper hand against the Free State XV in the first half and they capitalised on this for a 13-3 lead. But the home team fought back in the second half and matched Eastern Province’s three tries in the match, while they also earned a penalty for a 24-21 victory.
The clash between Boland and Griquas was nail-biting as each team scored two converted tries in the match, but the difference on the scoreboard in the end was a crucial penalty goal by Boland.
KZN, meanwhile, snatched a 15-14 victory in the last minute of their clash against the Western Province XV, with a penalty goal and conversion to two successful conversions by the Cape side handing them the edge on the scoreboard.
U13 Coca-Cola Craven Week
Western Province, who came out tops in the last four U13 Coca-Cola Craven Week competitions, were in fine form against the Griffons as they cruised to a 71-0 victory. Their forwards laid a solid foundation upfront and their backs showed their class out wide, which paved the way for their 11 tries – four of which were scored by winger Ken Tchimanga.
Blue Bulls flanker Tiaan Engelbrecht, meanwhile, proved to be a star performer in his team’s 45-12 victory against hosts, the Free State, as he scored four of their seven tries. The team backed up this impressive display on attack with a solid showing on defence, and limited the Free State to two tries.
Zimbabwe also made a strong statement in their opening game as they defeated Border CD 41-0 thanks to their impressive attack and defence. In total they crossed the tryline seven times after taking a 22-0 halftime lead.
A hat-trick by Eastern Province No 8 Luvuyo Nkomphela, meanwhile, set up the Eastern Cape side for a convincing 32-15 victory against the Leopards, in which they ran in an impressive six tries and limited the opposition to only two.
The remaining matches were also exciting, with the Limpopo Blue Bulls and Boland involved in a tight tussle. The Limpopo side used their forwards to lay a solid foundation up-front for their backline to attack from, while Boland tried to run hard to gain ascendancy on attack. The Limpopo Blue Bulls, however, outscored the Western Cape outfit three-tries to two, which allowed them to secure a narrow 15-14 victory.
Border’s pin-point goal-kicking, meanwhile, earned them an 18-15 victory against the Pumas as flyhalf Bradley Giddy converted one of the teams tries and slotted over two penalty goals to add to their two tries, while the Pumas scored three unconverted tries.
SWD outscored the Valke 17-14 in a gripping match in which either team could have won. Three tries by the SWD to only two by the Valke, however, earned them the three point victory.
The Golden Lions and KZN ran hard at one another from start to end, but the Lions’ constructive attacking play and ability to break over the advantage line allowed them to take a 16-7 lead at the break thanks to their two tries. Each team were only able to add a try to their score in the second half, which earned the Johannesburg side the 23-14 victory.
Three penalty goals by Griquas flyhalf Theunis Hohls, meanwhile, allowed them to secure a narrow 21-19 victory against Namibia in what proved to be a tightly-fought encounter, despite the visitors scoring three tries to only two by Griquas.
U16 Coca-Cola U16 Grant Khomo Week fixtures (Monday, 8 July):
Golden Lions 13 – 24 Border
Leopards 23 – 31 Namibia
SWD 39 – 23 Pumas
Griffons 69 – 13 Border CD
Eastern Province 21 – 13 Free State XV
Western Province 36 – 17 Blue Bulls
Boland 17 – 14 Griquas
KZN 15 – 14 Western Province XV
Limpopo Blue Bulls 48- 19 Valke
Free State 71 – 19 Zimbabwe
U13 Coca-Cola Craven Week day one fixtures (Monday, 8 July):
KZN 14 – 23 Golden Lions
Limpopo Blue Bulls 15 – 14 Boland
Leopards 15 – 32 Eastern Province
Border CD 0 – 41 Zimbabwe
Western Province 71 – 0 Griffons
Namibia 19 – 21 Griquas
Border 18 – 15 Pumas
Free State 12 – 45 Blue Bulls
SWD 17 – 14 Valke