Western Province confirmed their pre-tournament status as the top team of the 2012 Coca-Cola Academy Week when they beat the Blue Bulls 16-9 in a hard-fought final match at Boland Stadium in Wellington.
This win secured their undefeated status at the tournament, which again confirmed the quality of rugby players at this age group.
Western Province left it late against a Blue Bulls side that defended very well, but once Jarrod Sage scored with only a few minutes left on the clock, the result was inevitable.
The Blue Bulls missed an early opportunity to score when flyhalf Kobus Marais pulled a penalty attempt wide, but WP flyhalf Jean Luc du Plessis took his first opportunity well to put his side 3-0 up.
Marais kicked a penalty to draw the scores level and found his range again soon after as the Blue Bulls started to put pressure on the Western Province defence. Du Plessis lost his radar though and missed two penalty attempts before the break and it was up to WP hooker Arno van Wyk to put his side into the lead.
Following numerous drives by his pack, Van Wyk ran onto a pass from Du Plessis to score and put WP 8-6 up.
Marais rewarded some good play by his pack by kicking his third penalty, but after Du Plessis kicked a second penalty the Sage effort sealed the win.
In an earlier match, the Boland XV scored early against Red Valke in the main curtain-raiser on a muddy Boland Stadium, but the team in red came back well towards the end of the half and a try by Henry Badenhorst (no 8) gave the Falcons a 12-5 lead at the break. A strong burst by Badenhorst after the restart edged his side further ahead and when Gift Twili raced 80 meters after intercepting a ball near his try line, it was all over bar the shouting. The Red Falcons won 25-5.
In the match between SWD and the Free State, the latter only secured their 27-24 win in the last minutes of the match when flyhalf Heinrich Benzi kicked a penalty.
The Eagles raced into a 19-0 lead in the opening minutes, with a superb try by Lorenzo Gordon giving his side the perfect start. He scored his second minutes later, but credit to the Free State, who fought back well.
Two tries, one a good effort by lively hooker Markus Odendaal, put them back in the match. A try by Carel Coetzee (centre) and a penalty by Benzi edged the Cheetahs ahead, before another try by the Eagles saw them recapturing the lead. Benzi had the last say in the match though.
Other results on day 3 were:
EP 53, Griquas 22
Pumas CD 23, Leopards 12
Boland 13, Lions 7
Leopards CD 10, Griffons CD 38
KZN 41, Limpopo 25
Border CD 3, Griquas CD 60
Eastern Province CD 10, Blue Falcons 25
KZN CD 24, Pumas 30
Griffons 29, Border 31
SA LSEN 11, Namibia 7