There were good performances by the visiting teams in the opening weekend of the Absa Under-19 Provincial Championships this weekend, with KZN and the Vodacom Blue Bulls recording wins and the defending champions, DHL Western Province, earning a draw against the Toyota Free State in Bloemfontein.
Former Western Province schoolboy star, Jean-Luc du Plessis made his debut for the KwaZulu-Natal side in East London and converted three tries and kicked two penalties in a solid display.
Although they won by 32-24, the visitors never had it their own way though, as Border played with a lot of commitment.
The home side scored first when Funani Mabala drove over, but two tries in four minutes by KZN saw them take the lead they never surrendered.
Alrin Eksteen, Sandile Khubeka and Michael Cloete scored first half tries for KZN and Ray Williams dotted down early in the second spell.
KZN U19 32 (19) – Tries: Alrin Eksteen, Sandile Khubeka , Michael Cloete, Ray Williams. Conversions: Jean-Luc du Plessis (3). Penalties: Du Plessis (2).
Border U19 24 (14) – Tries: Connor-Terrah Brockschmidt, Funani Mabala, Johan Gericke. Conversions: Werner Barnard (3). Penalty: Barnard.
It was a tense affair in Bloemfontein where DHL Western Province U19 found the Toyota Free State team in an uncompromising mood. They drew 18-18.
Both kickers, the Cheetahs’ Pieter Jordaan and Chris Smith from WP, had an erratic afternoon with the boot. Jordaan first kicked a penalty and then missed another one, before Smith did the same to have scores level.
WP then took the lead with a converted try and although Smith missed a penalty attempt just after the break, extended that lead when fullback Jason Worrall raced through to score. Smith could not convert.
Free State’s comeback started with a converted try by Len le Roux and when Gilbert Chambers scored, it was all square again with 20 minutes to play.
Worrall then pulled a penalty attempt before kicking a 56th minute penalty to edge his side ahead. Jordaan levelled matters in the 59th minute.
Both Jordaan and Worrall both missed with efforts that could have won the match.
Toyota Free State U19 18 – Tries: Len le Roux, Gilbert Chambers. Conversion: Pieter Jordaan. Penalties: Jordaan (2).
DHL WP U19 18 – Tries: Jason Worrall,, Liam Hendricks. Conversion: Chris Smith. Penalties: Chris Smith, Worrall.
In Potchefstroom, it was one-way traffic as the Vodacom Blue Bulls U19s outplayed their counterparts from the Leopards on Friday, winning by 61-14.
The team from Pretoria scored nine tries and raced away in the second half after leading 26-7 at the break.
Junior Springbok utility back and Blue Bulls captain, Jesse Kriel, scored a brace as did prop Pierre Schoeman. Flyhalf Kobus Marais kicked seven conversions.
Vodacom Blue Bulls U19 61 (26) – Tries: Arno van Wyk, Corne Els, Daniel Kriel, Jesse Kriel (2), Leighton van Wyk, Nico van Rensburg, Pierre Schoeman (2). Conversions: Kobus Marais (2), Juan-Philip Smith.
Leopards U19 14 (7) – Tries: Courtney Cupido, Dean Stokes. Conversions: Schalk Hugo, Corne Swart.