Defending champions, the Vodacom Blue Bulls, started the defence of their Absa Provincial Under-21 title in impressive fashion by beating the Leopards 59-17 in Potchefstroom.
KwaZulu-Natal overcame a tough Border side in East London and the Toyota Free State left it late against DHL Western Province in the opening round of the Absa Under-21 Provincial Championship.
In East London, the home scored five tries against the visiting KZN, but still lost 53-31. The visitors scored seven tries and converted six.
Border jumped into an early lead when Shaun Niewenhuizen scored a converted try in the third minute, but the KZN reply was swift.
Tyler Fisher (10th min) and a brace by Stefan Ungerer (22nd and 25th mins) saw KZN jumping out to a comfortable 32-15 lead at the break, and never looked back.
KZN U21 53 (32) – Tries: Andre Esterhuizen, Brendan Cope, Rob du Preez, Sean Robinson, Stefan Ungerer (2), Tyler Fisher. Conversions: Cope (4), Du Preez (2). Penalty: Du Preez. Drop Goal: Ungerer.
Border U21 31 (15) – Tries: Angus Cleophas (2), James Flynn, Juan Bester, Shaun Niewenhuyzen. Conversions: Wayne Gardner, Dillon Smit. Penalty: Gardner.
In Bloemfontein, a penalty three minutes from full time by fullback Marco Mason secured a tense 18-16 win to the Toyota Free State U21s in their match against visiting DHL Western Province.
Mason scored 13 of his side’s points and the winning penalty was a good reward for the home side’s comeback effort in the second half.
WP U21 scored early through inside centre Kobus van Wyk and when Tim Swiel converted and kicked a penalty, his side was 10-0 up in no time.
A try by Mason was cancelled out by another Swiel penalty and a 13-5 WP lead at the break.
Van Wyk was yellow carded early in the second half and the Free State pounced on that advantage. Mason converted Tertius Kruger’s try and kicked a penalty to put his side in the lead.
Swiel slotted a neat drop goal with five minutes left, but that counted for nothing as Mason kicked the winning penalty two minutes later.
Toyota Free State U21 18 (5) – Tries: Tertius Kruger, Marco Mason. Conversion: Mason. Penalties: Mason (2).
DHL WP U21 16 (13) – Try: Kobus van Wyk. Conversion: Tim Swiel. Penalty: Swiel. Drop Goal: Swiel.
In Potchefstroom on Friday, the Vodacom Blue Bulls U21 side started the defence of their title with a bang. They scored seven tries en route to a 59-17 win over the Leopards and after leading 23-3 at the break, never looked back.
Tries by Jacques Rossouw (fullback) and Rudi van Rooyen (scrumhalf) and three penalties by flyhalf Tony Jantjies consolidated the lead at half time.
A yellow card to Marno Geldenhuys early in the second half compounded the Leopards’ problems as the visitors scored three tries whilst the no 8 was off the field.
The home side’s discipline was not good, but Jantjies did not complain as he slotted four penalties in the match.
Vodacom Blue Bulls U21 57 (23) – Tries: Christoph Gouws, Dries Swanepoel, Jacques Rossouw, Kefentse Mahlo, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Rudi van Rooyen (2), Tony Jantjies. Conversions: Jantjies (3), Van Rooyen (2). Penalties: Jantjies (4).
Leopards U21 17 (3) – Tries: Louw Strydom, Thomas Meyer. Conversions: Ryno Smith, JJ du Plessis. Penalty: Du Plessis.