DHL Western Province on Thursday delivered a fine performance against the Blue Bulls in the unofficial final of the Coca-Cola under-16 Grant Khomo Week at the Isak Steyl Stadium in Vanderbijlpark to affirm their status as the most impressive team in the tournament.
This victory completed a double header for the union in the Youth Weeks, as their under-13 team also beat their Pretoria rivals in the final match played in Bela-Bela last week.
In a thrilling finale to the tournament, Western Province’s innovative attack and solid defence earned them a well-deserved 22-15 victory against the Blue Bulls in a match featuring a mixture of tense and magic moments.
The team stamped their authority early on as they created two try-scoring chances in the opening minutes, but the Blue Bulls’ tenacious defence shut them out. The tables soon turned to attack as the Bulls scored two tries in quick succession to take a 12-0 lead. This, however, was short lived as Western Province right wing Moegamat Cassiem-February sprinted to the tryline in the 21st minute, which was supported by a second try minutes later by centre Taigh Schoor, to level the scores at 12-12 at the break.
A penalty by Blue Bulls flyhalf Eduard Fouche two minutes into the second half broke the deadlock and pushed the team into a 15-12 lead. But the arm-wrestle continued as Western Province scrumhalf Jondre Williams slotted over a tough penalty to leave the scores locked at 15-15 with 10 minutes to go.
Western Province backed this up with a stunning try by Juandre Grobler whose dummy pass earned him a clear path to the tryline. Province had the opportunity to inflict further damage and seal the victory with five minutes to go as, but they failed to use an overlap, which cost them a bonus point try. The Bulls, however, refused to lie down and worked their way into Province’s red zone in the dying minutes, but their efforts were countered as the Cape side put their bodies on the line on defence to secure the victory.
KwaZulu-Natal, Namibia and Border also continued their success in the tournament as they completed a clean-sweep of victories. KwaZulu-Natal defeated the Valke 33-19, while Namibia beat Zimbabwe 33-22 in the traditional “international match” and Border registered a 27-10 win against SWD.
The most notable victory of the day, however, was the Leopards’ 106-6 victory against Border Country Districts in which they ran in an impressive 16 tries. Eastern Province also finished the series on a high as they withstood a second-half fight back from the Lions to for their 29-10 victory.
Coca-Cola under-16 Grant Khomo Week final results:
DHL Western Province 22 – 15 Blue Bulls
Border 27 – 10 SWD
Boland 14 – 16 Free State
Pumas 35 – 7 Griffons
Eastern Province 29 – 10 Golden Lions
Zimbabwe 22 – 33 Namibia
Border CD 6 – 106 Leopards
Valke 19 – 33 KwaZulu Natal
Valke XV 18 – 21 Griquas CD
Griquas 29 – 27 Limpopo Blue Bulls