IT is going to be an all Cape main game at the 2014 U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week in Middelburg this year, with Eastern Province taking on South Western Districts in the week’s unofficial title game.
When the fixtures for the final day were announced on Thursday night no one was surprised to see the honour going to those two teams. SWD earned the right with their shock defeat of the favourites, Western Province on Wednesday and Eastern Province went through after beating Free State 19-5 in Thursday’s late game.
The Eastern Province side has a backline jam-packed with exciting runners, and they made full use of the chances that came their way in the first half, scoring three tries without reply, and the game was virtually over at that stage.
Free State scored the only points of the second half after Eastern Province chose to play more conservatively after the break. Eastern Province were always in control, however, and were deserved winners.
Eastern Province fullback Keanu Vers was the spark in their backline. He scored one try and had a hand in two others. The other tries were scored by Athenkosi Mayinje and Darren Lottering, Curwin Bosch slotted two conversions.
The lone Free State try was scored by Julian Jordaan.
The Golden Lions lost their second game in a row, 21-10 to the Blue Bulls, but they will be Wondering how they could have dominated territory and possession to such an extent in the second half and still end up on the wrong side of the scoreline.
The Blue Bulls scored three tries in the first half and led 21-3 at the break, with the Golden Lions making far too many mistakes to be competitive.
It was a different story after the break. The Golden Lions loose forwards,
flank Constand Beckerling and eighthman Juan Lemmer, in particular began to
take control of the break downs and they started to make good yards on the
Beckerling scored the only try of the half, in the sixth minute, and from then on the Golden Lions camped in Blue Bulls territory.
They still managed to cough up the ball at crucial moments and they conceded far too many penalties and at the end of 30minutes of non-stop attacking they had nothing to show for their efforts.
The Blue Bulls were made to tackle almost non-stop and they did that very effectively, holding the driving Lions forwards up when they were over the tryline on more than one occasion.
The first half Blue Bulls tries were scored by Juandre Michau, Ruan De Beer and Stedman Gans. All three were converted by Thinus de Beer. For the Lions, Ralton October converted Beckerling’s try and Wikus Van Biljon kicked an earlier penalty.
Jeppe wing Sibusiso Nkosi was the Golden Lions’ best player. He didn’t get many chances, but was exciting every time he got the ball.
Griquas beat Boland 38-27 to become one of only five sides to win both matches so far. The Leopards are another of the unbeaten teams, they beat the Valke 26-20 yesterday. The other teams to win two out of two are SWD, the Griffons and Eastern Province.
Tomorrow is a rest day at the U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week. All the teams will be in action on Saturday, with the unofficial final kicking off at 12.10pm.
Namibia 69 Border CD 0, Griquas 38 Boland 27, Leopards 26 Valke 20, Blue
Bulls 21 Golden Lions 10, Eastern Province 19 Free State 5.
Pumas vs Lions, Western Province vs Free State, KZN vs Blue Bulls, SWD vs
Hoerskool Middelburg A-Field
Zimbabwe vs Namibia, Border vs Griquas, Griffons vs Leopards
Hoerskool Middelburg B-Field
Griquas CD vd Border CD, Boland CD vs Limpopo, Eastern Province CD vs Valke