|The MTN Golden Lions on Saturday claimed the remaining home semifinal in the Absa Under-19 Provincial Championship in style by registering a bonus-point victory against Border to finish the pool stages on a high note.
The four semifinalists cemented their places in the playoff stages last week, with the Vodacom Blue Bulls topping the table for a home semifinal. But the Lions, Sharks and Leopards all had a shot at securing the second home semifinal.
In the U19 playoff matches this weekend, the Vodacom Blue Bulls will meet the Leopards at Loftus Versfeld and the MTN Golden Lions will host the Sharks at Ellis Park.
In this past weekend’s fixtures, the Sharks thumped DHL Western Province 38-0 in Durban, the Vodacom Blue Bulls defeated Toyota Free State 52-14 in Bloemfontein and the MTN Golden Lions beat Border 47-17 in Johannesburg.
The Sharks 38 (38) DHL Western Province 0 (0)
The clash between the Sharks and DHL Western Province in Durban proved to be a match of two vastly different halves as the hosts cruised to a 38-0 lead at the break, but failed to build on that in the second half.
Six tries by the Sharks in the first 35 minutes of the match, two of which were scored by Thembalethu Williams, allowed them to build up an impressive lead at the break.
But Western Province tightened up their defence in the second half and denied the Sharks’ a single point in the final 35 minutes. Unfortunately for the Cape side, however, they were unable to breach the Sharks’ defence, which left them scoreless at the end of the match.
The Sharks 38 (38) – Tries: Alrin Eksteen, Cameron Wright, Michael Cloete, Thembalethu Williams (2), Wion Robbertse. Conversions: Bartholomeus le Roux, Colin Willemse, Jean-Luc du Plessis (2).
DHL Western Province 0 (0)
Toyota Free State 14 (0) Vodacom Blue Bulls 52 (31)
U19 log-leaders, the Vodacom Blue Bulls, got off to a strong start in their clash against the Toyota Free State in Bloemfontein, with the team earning their bonus point for four tries in the first half.
With the momentum favouring the visitors and captain Jesse Kriel in top form with the boot, as he slotted over four conversions and a penalty in the first half, the Free State faced a tough task to sway proceedings in the second half.
Two yellow cards for the Blue Bulls after the break allowed the Free State to claw their way back into the match with tries by Cameron van Heerden and Mthokozisi Mkhabela. But the visitors cancelled out these efforts with another three tries before the final whistle to increase their total for the match to seven.
Toyota Free State 14 (0) – Tries: Cameron van Heerden, Mthokozisi Mkhabela. Conversions: Warren Potgieter (2).
Vodacom Blue Bulls 52 (31) – Tries: Cornelius Els, Daniel Kriel, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Ganfried May, Hendrik Viljoen, Marcus Kleinbooi, Petrus Strauss. Conversions: Jesse Kriel (7). Penalty: Kriel.
MTN Golden Lions 47 (28) Border 17 (10)
The MTN Golden Lions U19s also started their clash against Border with a bang as they ran in four tries in the first 29 minutes. But Border hit back shortly before the break with Charl Carelse crashing over the tryline to add to an earlier penalty by Dylan Rust.
The Lions, however, continued to show their class in the second half with the side adding three tries to their score, two of which were scored by Sampie Hearn, to push the match out of reach for Border. The visitors, however, managed to sneak in a consolation try on the stroke of fulltime to push their score to 17 points.
MTN Golden Lions 47 (28) – Tries: Francois van Heerden, Jano Venter (2), Koch Marx, Sampie Hearn (2), Sikhumbuzo Mabuza. Conversions: Brandan Hewit (6).
Border 17 (10) – Tries: Charl Carelse, Devon van Eeden. Conversions: Dylan Rust (2). Penalty: Rust.
Absa Under-19 Provincial Championship log:
Top 10 Point Scorers: