The Vodacom Blue Bulls, MTN Golden Lions and Sharks continued to stamp their authority in the Absa Under-19 Provincial Championship this past weekend, allowing them to maintain their lead over the chasing sides on the log standings.
The Blue Bulls were in fine form as they cruised to a 56-21 victory against the Toyota Free State at Loftus Versfeld to stretch their unbeaten run to five matches, while the MTN Golden Lions defeated Border 19-3 in East London and the Sharks registered a 25-19 victory against DHL Western Province at Newlands.
DHL Western Province 19 (0) Sharks 25 (3)
The wet weather in Cape Town set the scene for a scrappy first half between DHL Western Province and the Sharks, with the only points in the half scored compliments of a penalty by Sharks flyhalf Jean-Luc Du Plessis.
The second half, however, proved to be tightly-fought as each side scored three tries.
Sharks right wing Michael Cloete crossed the tryline first, but their lead was short-lived as Western Province replacement hooker Ramone Samuels crashed over for their first try.
The Sharks, however, continued to make their presence felt on attack and they managed to create some daylight between themselves and WP thanks to two tries in six minutes by Neil Maritz and Cameron Wright respectively.
The home team, however, hit back strongly in the last 11 minutes as they crossed the tryline twice to match the Sharks’ three tries.
But a drop goal by Sharks centre Sandile Kubeka and Du Plessis’ penalty proved to be the difference for the KwaZulu-Natal team on the scoreboard.
DHL Western Province 19 (0) – Tries: Jonathan Bredell, Joshua Moon, Ramone Samuels. Conversions: Christopher Smith (2).
Sharks 25 (3) – Tries: Cameron Wright, Michael Cloete, Neil Maritz. Conversions: Jean-Luc du Plessis (2). Penalty: Jean-Luc du Plessis. Drop Goal: Sandile Kubeka.
Border 3 (3) MTN Golden Lions 19 (5)
The clash in East London proved to be a tight affair from the outset as the teams threw everything at each other on attack and defence.
Such was the closeness of the first half only eight points were scored in total, with Border slotting over a penalty, while MTN Golden Lions flank Jaun Vorster crashed over for a try.
The Lions, however, took control of the match in the second half, and made the most of their attacking opportunities, which earned them two second-half tries.
The sustained pressure by the forwards allowed Vorster to crash over for his second try in the 41st minute, while captain and No8 Sikhumbuzo Mabuza scored another 11 minutes from time as Border were reduced to 14 men with Conor-Terrah Brockschmidt sin-binned. This earned them a 19-3 win.
Border 3 (3) – Penalty: Werner Barnard.
MTN Golden Lions 19 (5) – Tries: Juan Vorster (2), Sikhumbuzo Mabuza. Conversions: Gabriel du Toit (2).
Vodacom Blue Bulls 56 (21) Toyota Free State 21 (9)
The Vodacom Blue Bulls completely outplayed Toyota Free State in front of their home crowd for a convincing 56-21 victory, which allowed them to continue their winning run in the competition and stretch their lead at the top of the table to five points.
Such was the high standard of their play they racked up nine tries and leaked only two, in what proved to be a balanced display between their forwards and backs.
Two tries in six minutes handed the Blue Bulls a 14-0 lead 10 minutes into the clash, but a drop goal and two subsequent penalties by Free State flyhalf Warren Potgieter closed the gap.
Four tries by the Bulls in 15 minutes before and after half time, however, pushed the game out of reach for the visitors. But the home team were not done yet, as Ganfried May and Hendrik Viljoen took the tally to nine tries.
With the victory in the bag with a few minutes to go and the Bulls let their guard down and allowed the Free State to score two late tries. But with the damage already done, the Bulls were satisfied with their 50-point score.
Vodacom Blue Bulls 56 (21) – Cornelius Els, Ganfried May, Hendrik Viljoen (2), Keagon Gordon, Kobus Marais, Pierre Schoeman, Rohan Janse van Rensburg. Conversions: Kobus Marais (8).
Toyota Free State 21 (9) – Tries: Len le Roux (2). Conversion: Warren Potgieter, Penalties: Potgieter (2). Drop Goal: Potgieter.