The Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Week and Coca-Cola Academy Week continued to keep fans gripped on day two of the SA Rugby Youth Week events at Kearsney College in Durban as a handful of teams stamped their authority in an entertaining day’s action.
The Enrista Blue Bulls, Bidvest Golden Lions and Konica Minolta Free State registered impressive victories to open up their campaign in the U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, while the Blue Bulls, Leopards, Pumas CD, Sharks CD and Namibia secured big wins in the Coca-Cola Academy Week.
Boland, meanwhile, overcame a determined Konica Minolta Free State team 20-14 in a tight closing match in the Coca-Cola Academy Week.
In a thrilling second day 333 points were scored in the U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week with 50 tries scored, while 390 points and 56 tries were scored in the Coca-Cola Academy Week.
In the U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, the Blue Bulls defeated Border 48-15, while the Golden Lions overpowered SWD 59-26 and the Free State beat the Valke 68-26.
The Blue Bulls got their clash against Border off to a flying start as they ran hard on attack, which earned them three tries in the first 27 minutes. They supported this with a solid defensive effort, and limited Border to scoring only a penalty in the first half, for a 19-3 lead. Border, however, showed their fighting spirit as they scored two tries in two minutes almost immediately after the break to force their way back into the match. Both teams showed intent on attack as the match progressed, but while the Pretoria side converted their chances to score four more tries, unforced handling errors denied Border from adding to their score. This forced them to settle for a 48-15 defeat.
The Golden Lions were in fine form from the outset in their clash against SWD as they showed innovation and skill on attack, which set them up for a striking 59-26 victory. The Lions ran hard at the George side and supported this with slick handling and solid support play, while they also did well to sneak through the gaps in the defence.
The Lions combination of flyhalf Tyrone Green and centre Wandisile Simelane was instrumental as they set the field alight on attack, with Simelane securing the man-of-the-match award after a hat-trick of tries and seven conversions for a personal total of 29 points. In stark contrast SWD battled to get to their hands on the ball in the first half, while they tried hard to make their presence felt in the second half, but mistakes at crucial times cost them dearly.
The Free State, meanwhile, overcame a strong first-half challenge by the Valke to cruise to a 68-26 victory thanks to a remarkable 11 tries. The first half was tight as the Valke hit back after trailing 13-0 to take a 26-23 lead at the break. But the Free State hit their straps and ran riot on attack to score seven second-half tries, while they denied the Valke from adding to their score.
In the early U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week matches, the Komati Fruit Limpopo Blue Bulls outplayed Border CD 38-3 thanks to a well-balanced performance on attack and defence, while a forward pass on the stroke of fulltime with a two-man overlap denied Eastern Province CD a victory against the Leopards, and forced them to settle for a 26-24 defeat.
Day two of the Coca-Cola Academy Week was dominated by big wins as five of the six winning teams scored more than 34 points.
The Blue Bulls charged to a 57-15 victory against Eastern Province, the Leopards defeated the Limpopo Blue Bulls 53-31, and Pumas CD cruised to a 46-7 win against Border CD.
The Sharks CD, meanwhile, outplayed GWK Griquas 63-35 and Namibia beat the Red Valke 34-15.
In the last match of the day, Boland and the Konica Minolta Free State were involved in a tight tussle, with each team having two strikes at the goal posts in a hard-fought first half. While the Free State’s efforts were unsuccessful, Boland took full advantage of their penalty goals to take a 6-0 lead at the break.
Boland opened up the second half with back-to-back penalty goals and then scored the first try of the match in the 51st minute compliments of Wihan Burger to take a comfortable 17-0 lead. But Konica Minolta Free State struck back with two converted tries in 11 minutes to work their way onto the scoreboard. A fifth successful penalty goal by Boland, however, guaranteed them a 20-14 victory.
The Blue Bulls made their intentions clear early on against Eastern Province with the first of their five first-half tries being scored in the fifth minute. Such was the quality of the Pretoria side’s performance, they built up a convincing 31-5 lead at the break. They continued this impressive form in the second half, which allowed them increase their try tally to nine for a 57-15 victory. To Eastern Province’s credit, they tried hard to force their way into the match and scored two second-half tries for their efforts, but the strong start by the Blue Bulls left the Port Elizabeth side with a mountain to climb.
The Leopards, meanwhile, registered a solid 53-31 victory against the Limpopo Blue Bulls after a competitive first half in which the Potchefstroom side took a narrow 18-17 lead. The Leopards, however, took control of the match in the second half and used their point-scoring chances well to add five tries to their tally, which inflated their score to 53.
In the other matches Namibia produced a dominant performance against the Red Valke to score four tries to two for a 34-15 victory, while a solid second half performance guided the Sharks Country Districts to an emphatic 63-35 victory against GWK Griquas. The Sharks CD team got off to a firing start with three tries in the first 24 minutes and built on this fine display as the match progressed to run in an impressive nine tries, which featured a hat-trick by centre Mvuzo Nhlozi.
Pumas CD also secured a confidence boosting 46-7 victory against Border CD as they crossed the chalk eight times, while they shut out Border CD for most of the match, and limited them to a first-half try, which proved to be their only points of the match.
In Wednesday’s matches, the Thepa Trading Griffons will meet GWK Griquas Rural in the opening match of the U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, and Eastern Province CD and SWD will go head-to-head in the opening match of the Coca-Cola Academy Week.
The main games in the U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week will see DHL Western Province go up against hosts, the Sharks, and the Pumas will meet Namibia.
In the top match-ups in the Academy Week, meanwhile, the Sharks will meet Border, while DHL Western Province will take on the Bidvest Golden Lions.
U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week day two results (Tuesday, 12 July – Kearsney Stott Field):
U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week day three fixtures (Wednesday, 13 July – Kearsney Stott Field):
09h35 – Thepa Trading Griffons vs GWK Griquas Rural
11h00 – GWK Griquas vs Old Mutual Zimbabwe
12h25 – Boland vs Eastern Province
13h50 – Pumas vs Namibia
15h15 – DHL Western Province vs Sharks
Coca-Cola Academy Week day two results (Tuesday, 12 July – AH Smith Oval):
Coca-Cola Academy Week day three fixtures (Wednesday, 12 July – AH Smith Oval):
08h35 – Eastern Province CD vs SWD
09h55 – Blue Valke vs GWK Griquas Rural
11h15 – Thepa Trading Griffons vs Pumas
12h35 – DHL Western Province vs Bidvest Golden Lions
13h55 – Sharks vs Border
15h15 – Griffons CD vs SA LSEN