The Blue Bulls recorded their second big win over quality opposition at the Coca-Cola Under-18 Craven Week in Port Elizabeth when they hammered the Pumas 36-10 (halftime 24-3) in Day 4's main match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
The Blue Bulls picked up where they left off on Tuesday – when they beat Western Province 47-27 – to run in five tries against the boys from Mpumalanga, who themselves had impressed on Day 2 during their 48-24 win over the Griffons.
The Bulls, Lions and hosts Eastern Province are the only sides who remain unbeaten going into Friday's rest day, and all three have staked strong claims to be named to take part in the showpiece final match on Saturday.
There were also wins on Thursday for Griquas Country Districts, Limpopo, Griffons and WP, who beat SWD 39-33 in the main curtain-raiser in a highly entertaining match that produced 11 tries.
And in an unusual occurrence, 10 different players scored Limpopo's 10 tries during a 68-21 victory over Zimbabwe in one of the earlier matches.
In the main game, the Blue Bulls had things sewn up by halftime, thanks to first-half tries from Marquit September and Arend Bannink, who grabbed a brace. Fyhalf and man of the match Ryno Eksteen kicked two conversions.
The second half continued in much the same vein as the first, the Blue Bulls extending their lead to 36-3 thanks to further tries from George-Lee Erasmus and Eksteen.
The Pumas eventually touched down with 18 minutes left when flanker Willandre Kotzenberg went over for flyhalf Brandon Thomson to convert and cut the deficit to 26 points, but that is as close as they got to the tournament's form team.
Thursday's Results – Day 4:
Griquas CD (19) 38 – Tries: Shaun Crause, Pieter Lategan, Johannes Lenge, Jasper Wiese (3). Conversions: Dawid Burden (4).
Border CD (5) 5 – Try: Sihle Gontshi.
Limpopo (21) 68 – Tries: Trevor Nkwamba, Righardt Kachelhoffer, Matjikinyane Molapo, Marcel Scholtz, Johannes Smit, Floyd Ndlovu, Erick van Niekerk, Christopher Durow, Andries Welgemoed, Andre Jordaan. Conversions: Scholtz (5), James Vorster (4).
Zimbabwe (7) 21 – Tries: Lance Chikodzi, Craig Bydawell (2). Conversions: Brendon Mandivenga, Rukudzo Gona (2).
EP CD (6) 28 – Tries: Tsepho Mabitsela, Glen van Pletzen, Emelio Koeberg, Chris Steyn. Conversion: Jason Vers. Penalties: Vers (2).
Griffons (19) 33 – Tries: Sechaba Matsoele, Dillon Afrika, David Tippens. Conversions: David van Biljon (2). Penalties: Van Biljon (3).
WP (15) 39 – Tries: Wesley Adonis, Ramone Samuels, Petrus Bothma, Morne Nortje, Jason Worrall, Grant Hermanus. Conversions: Worrall (3). Penalty: Worrall.
SWD (14) 33 – Tries: Leighton Eksteen, Duhan van der Merwe (2), Dewald Human (2). Conversions: Human, Warrick Gelant (3).
Blue Bulls (24) 36 – Tries: Marquit September, Arend Bannink (2), George-Lee Erasmus, Ryno Eksteen. Conversions: Eksteen (4). Penalty: Eksteen.
Pumas (3) 10 – Try: Willandre Kotzenberg. Conversion: Brandon Thomson. Penalty: Thomson.