Western Province and the Blue Bulls on Tuesday took major steps toward contesting the unofficial final of the Coca-Cola Under-16 Grant Khomo Week on Thursday as they produced another round of classy displays in the top matches of the day.
The Cape-based side were in fine form from the kick-off against Eastern Province, as they capitalised on the opposition’s mistakes and backed their pace and skill on attack for their 34-22 victory. Their domination started in the third minute with Taigh Schoor crossing the tryline for the first of five first-half tries, which earned them a 31-8 lead at the break.
Eastern Province, however, regrouped in the second half and produced a solid performance on attack and defence to force their way back into the game. This determined effort limited Western Province to a single penalty in the second half, while Eastern Province scored two converted tries to increase their tally to three.
The Blue Bulls also outclassed their Gauteng rivals, the Golden Lions, 42-14 thanks to their power and slick handling skills. This earned them six tries in total, four of which were scored in the first half, as they ran circles around the Lions for their 28-0 half time lead. Similarly to the opening day, however, the Lions bounced back in the second half by retaining possession and working their way into the Bulls half, which allowed them to cross the chalk twice. But the Bulls matched this to push the game out of the Lions reach.
In the other matches SWD, Border, Namibia and KwaZulu-Natal also continued their winning ways as they too registered back-to-back victories in the series.
SWD produced a quality display in which they scored two tries in nine minutes to cancel out the Pumas early 7-0 lead. They built on this impressive form in the second half with four tries in the last 10 minutes to increase their total to six tries – three of which were scored by Christo Hamman. Hamman also made his presence felt with the boot as he slotted over four conversions to take his total for the match to 23 points.
Border, meanwhile, slotted over a late second- half penalty against Boland to break the 13-13 deadlock with a few minutes on the clock and registered a 16-13 win, while Namibia’s three tries to the Leopards’ one secured their 19-8 win.
In Durban big wins again characterised day two of the Coca-Cola Under-18 Academy Week with the Free State thumping the Limpopo Blue Bulls 88-5, while Namibia registered their second 50-point score with a 55-12 victory against Griffons Country Districts and the KwaZulu-Natal XV defeated Leopards Country Districts 66-0.
The upset of the day, however, was SWD pipping Western Province 22-19.
The players will have Wednesday at leisure to rest before the final day’s play on Thursday.
Coca-Cola Under-16 Grant Khomo Week day 2 results:
Blue Bulls 42 -14 Golden Lions
KwaZulu-Natal 32 - 20 Griffons
Western Province 34 – 22 Eastern Province
Zimbabwe 21 – 29 Limpopo Blue Bulls
Leopards 8 – 19 Namibia
Border 16 – 13 Boland
Valke XV 16 - 24 Griquas
Valke 10 – 17 Free State
Pumas 7 – 38 SWD
Border CD 3 – 57 Griquas CD
Coca-Cola Under-18 Academy Week day 2 results:
Western Province 19 - 22 SWD
KwaZulu-Natal 17 – 24 Eastern Province
Border 7 – 25 Griffons
Pumas 22 – 14 Boland
Leopards 3 – 24 KZN CD
Leopards CD 0 – 66 KZN XV
Blue Bulls 24 – 20 Golden Lions
Griffons CD 12 – 55 Namibia
Free State 88 – 5 Limpopo Blue Bulls
Red Valke 48 – 6 Border CD
EP CD 21 – 11 Pumas CD
Griquas 17 – 26 Blue Valke
SA LSEN 33 – 17 Griquas CD