DHL Western Province and the Vodacom Blue Bulls are sitting pretty on top of the Absa Under-19 A-division Provincial Championship table after both recorded important away wins on Saturday.
The Blue Bulls, who are on top of the standings due to point’s difference, scored late in their game against KZN to record a 22-21 win, while WP managed a 40-31 win over the Toyota Free State in Bloemfontein.
In the opening round of the First Division competition, wins were recorded by EP Kings, Valke and Griquas.
The Blue Bulls were trailing 18-7 against Kwazulu-Natal and looked jittery in the opening stages. This probably had something to do with their flight to Durban earlier in the day being delayed, but once they found their composure in the second half of a match played in a strong, swirling wind, KZN had no answers.
A try in the last minute was brilliantly converted from out wide by flyhalf Francois Tredoux to give the Blue Bulls the win.
In Bloemfontein, both teams scored four tries in a match that was very competitive all the way.
WP held a 20-17 lead at the break. A try by Free State flyer Seabola Senatla put the home side in front, but that was short-lived as Jean-Paul Lewis and Janco Gunther scored in quick succession and flyhalf Tomasso Allan kicked two penalties to give WP an unassailable lead.
There was mixed feelings in George, where the home side lost 46-5 to the MTN Golden Lions. Eldred James scored the first try in the competition for the battling SWD Eagles after 387 minutes of rugby, but defence again cost the home side. The Golden Lions scored eight tries with Harold Verster and JJ Nel each getting a brace.
There were tries aplenty in the first round of the First Division.
Eight tries were scored in Port Elizabeth, where the EP Kings beat Boland Kavaliers 25-21. The Kings will have to work on their goal kicking though as none of their five tries were converted.
In Nelspruit, Griquas edged out the Pumas 32-27 after leading 19-17 at half time.
Andrè Roberts kicked five penalties and two conversions and Thomas Middelton a drop goal to secure the win. The Pumas scored four tries, but could only convert two.
Ten tries were scored in Welkom’s North West Stadium, where the Valke beat the Griffons 40-35. It was an entertaining game, with both sides scoring some long distance tries. Estehan Visagie, the lively Valke No 8 scored two tries for the visitors.