- WP come out tops fourth successive time in U13 Coca-Cola Craven Week
- Blue Bulls take top honours in U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week
- Border finishes as top side in National Girls U18 Week
DHL Western Province, the Itec Blue Bulls, and Border on Friday proved their worth as the top teams in the Under-13 Coca-Cola Craven Week, Under-16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week and National Girls Under-18 Week respectively as they overcame challenging final round encounters to remain unbeaten.
DHL Western Province defeated the Sharks 12-5 to win the final match of the U13 Coca-Cola Craven Week for the fourth year in a row, while the Itec Blue Bulls pipped the Sharks 23-20 in the Under-16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week, and Border secured a 15-10 victory against Western Province in the National Girls Under-18 Week.
The closing match of the U13 Coca-Cola Craven Week between DHL Western Province and the Sharks at Paarl Gymnasium was hard-fought as both teams did their best to try to work their way onto the front foot. The hosts dominated possession in the first half, and these efforts paid off with a well-worked try by wing Jade Filanie, who found space out wide to beat the defence. The Sharks, however, hit back five minutes later as a well-timed pass to Londani Mpungose allowed him to score in the corner, which left the teams tied on 5-5 going into the break.
Western Province struck again shortly after half time with a strong run up-field and a handy kick-through was gathered by Reece Montsumi, who scored to push them 12-5 ahead. The Sharks fought back with intent on attack and took the ball through phases, but the effective defence shut them out. With the clocking winding down, the Cape side once again took control of the match as they ran hard at the Sharks, but they were unable to add to their score as the their impatience on attack came at the cost of errors and turnovers at crucial times.
The grand finale of the U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo was equally tight. The Sharks dominated territory and possession early on and showed patience on attack, and this paid off as they scored the first points compliments of a try by Celimpilo Gumede. But the Blue Bulls levelled the scores at 7-7 three minutes later as Jurich Claasens touched down for them. With neither team giving an inch on defence both sides opted for penalty goals to inflate their scores as the half progressed, with the Blue Bulls slotting over two penalties to only one by the Sharks for a 13-10 halftime lead.
The Blue Bulls added their third penalty after the break and then added their second try after a series of phases to stretch their score to 23 points. The Sharks, however, showed composure on attack by taking a penalty before fighting back with a try in the corner minutes before full time to reduce the deficit on the scoreboard to 23-20. In a thrilling end to the match the Sharks opted for a penalty goal on the stroke of full time, but the attempt fell short, which sealed the three-point win for the Pretoria side.
In the other top match-ups in the U13 Coca-Cola Craven Week, a strong start by the Itec Blue Bulls against the TW Profile Services Valke set them up for a 38-20 victory, while SWD fought back in the second half to defeat the Bidvest Golden Lions 23-14 and the Pumas registered a narrow 14-7 victory against the Leopards.
Namibia, meanwhile, defeated Old Mutual Zimbabwe 18-14 in what proved to be a tight international match, while Konica Minolta Free State produced a strong second-half showing to beat the Griffons 31-26, and Griquas recorded a 14-3 victory against Border.
In the remaining matches Eastern Province scored an impressive eight tries to outplay Border CD 48-0, while the Forever Resorts Limpopo Blue Bulls and Boland played to a 7-7 draw in a match in which all the points were scored in the first half.
In the U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week, hosts, DHL Western Province, finished off their campaign on a high note with an emphatic 45-8 victory against Eastern Province after a competitive first half in which they led 14-8, while the DHL Western Province XV finished the competition unbeaten as they defeated Griquas 25-19.
The Bidvest Golden Lions, meanwhile, forced their way back against SWD after the George side scored two tries in the first four minutes, with the Lions taking a narrow 19-18 lead at the break. The Johannesburg side came out firing after play resumed and scored their first of another three tries five minutes into the half, while SWD were able to force their way over the chalk once more and had to settle for a 34-35 defeat.
The Pumas also finished the tournament with a solid 35-14 victory against the Leopards after finding their rhythm after the break, while the Boland XV went down 26-16 against the Free State and the Limpopo Blue Bulls beat the Valke 33-17.
In the international match, Zimbabwe toppled Namibia 15-5, and the Griffons thumped Border CD 57-0 in their clash.
- In the National Girls U18 tournament, meanwhile, Border edged the Western Province 15-10 to emerge as the top team in the tournament at the Northern Cape High School in Kimberley.
Border opened up their campaign with a victories against the Blue Bulls and Eastern Province to book their place in the final match against Western Province, while the Cape side came out tops against Eastern Province and Boland before taking on Border.
The final match was close, but Border managed to build on the success of their senior team as they held their nerve to secure the victory.
Interestingly, Zimbabwe and the Pumas, who entered the final round unbeaten, both went down in their closing matches, with Eastern Province defeating Zimbabwe 10-5, while SWD defeated the Pumas 19-5.
In the other matches, Free State overpowered the Valke 40-0, Griquas defeated KwaZulu-Natal 17-5, the Leopards registered a convincing 48-7 win against the Griffons, the Blue Bulls pipped Boland 15-12 and the Golden Lions beat the Limpopo Blue Bulls 15-12.
U13 Coca-Cola Craven Week final round results (Friday, 8 July):
Namibia 18 (10) – 14 (7) Old Mutual Zimbabwe
Griquas 14 (5) – 3 (3) Border
Eastern Province 48 (24) – 0 (0) Border CD
Konica Minolta Free State 31 (12) – 26 (19) Griffons
TW Profile Services Valke 20 (5) – 38 (33) Itec Blue Bulls
SWD 23 (5) – 14 (14) Bidvest Golden Lions
Forever Resorts Limpopo Blue Bulls 7 (7) – 7 (7) Boland
Leopards 7 (7) – 14 (14) Pumas
DHL Western Province 12 (5) – 5 (5) Sharks
U16 Cola-Cola Grant Khomo Week final round results (Friday, 8 July):
Namibia 5 (0) – 15 (5) Zimbabwe
DHL Western Province 45 (14) – 8 (8) Eastern Province
Limpopo Blue Bulls 33 (5) – 17 (17) Valke
Griffons 57 (31) – 0 (0) Border CD
Bidvest Golden Lions 34 (19) – 25 (18) SWD
Boland 31 (17) – 10 (5) Border
Pumas 35 (7) – 14 (7) Leopards
Boland XV 16 (3) – 26 (12) Free State
DHL Western Province 25 (10) – 19 (5) Griquas
Sharks 20 (10) – 23 (13) Blue Bulls
National Girls U18 Week final round results (Friday, 8 July):
SWD 19 – 5 Pumas
Valke 0 – 40 Free State
Griquas 17 – 5 KZN
Leopards 48 – 7 Griffons
Boland 12 – 15 Blue Bulls
Limpopo Blue Bulls 12 – 15 Golden Lions
Zimbabwe 5 – 10 Eastern Province
Western Province 10 – 15 Border