The SARU Northern Sub-Union tournament, hosted by the Valke, got off to a thrilling start at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park on Monday with a mixed bag of results characterising the day’s play.
The upset of the opening round was the Leopards defeating the Blue Bulls 33-23, while the Golden Lions registered the biggest victory as they cruised to an emphatic 81-3 win against defending champions, Lowveld.
Hosts, the Valke, also started the tournament on a high as they secured a narrow 44-40 victory against the Limpopo Blue Bulls, and the Griffons thumped the Pumas 46-14.
The tournament features the best non-contracted players registered to non-premier league clubs of the northern unions.
The Leopards were in fine form in the opening match and took full advantage of the Blue Bulls’ lacklustre performance to run in a total of five tries to the Bulls’ two. Leopards flyhalf Hennie Carelzen added a conversion and two penalties to inflate the score, but a handful of missed goal kicks cost them an even bigger lead.
The Golden Lions, meanwhile, showcased their impressive attacking skills in a one-sided encounter against Lowveld, with the team crossing the chalk 12 times to outclass the opposition.
Wing Wayne Elliot, in particular, showed his ability to take advantage of gaps in the defence as he accumulated four tries for his efforts.
So dominant were the Lions, Lowveld had only a penalty, compliments of Pierre Nel, to show for their efforts.
The Valke, meanwhile, had to work hard for their victory against the Limpopo Blue Bulls as both teams showed their skills on attack, but battled to balance this with equally effective defence.
This resulted in a closely fought clash.
The Valke scored five tries to the visitors’ four, but the home team’s ill-discipline allowed Limpopo to keep the scoreboard ticking with four penalties to remain within range of a victory.
The Valke, however, prevailed as they managed to hold on to the 44-40 win.
The teams will have Tuesday off to rest ahead of the second round of matches on Wednesday.
Northern Sub-Union Day 1 results:
Leopards 33 – 23 Blue Bulls
Griffons 46 – 14 Pumas
Lowveld 3 – 81 Golden Lions
Valke 44 – 40 Limpopo Blue Bulls