The Sharks, Pumas, Western Province and Golden Lions showed great intent on day two of the U13 Craven Week in White River on Tuesday.
The Sharks and WP produced the most dazzling efforts, with the KwaZulu-Natal side getting nine tries in a seamless win against EP Elephants, while the Cape side scored some sensational tries in their seven-try victory over Forever Resorts Limpopo Blue Bulls.
The Gauteng side and the hosts also played constructive rugby, which nudged them to their second victories in as many days.
The Itec Griquas and Leopards also remain undefeated with two of their four fixtures completed.
The Leopards overcame Border 20-15 thanks to a strong first-half effort and some good game management. The North West team were 20-5 up at the break, scoring two tries and, more importantly, kicking two penalty goals which proved the difference.
Border came back strongly in the second half, scoring the only two tries of the match, but thanks to the Leopards’ first-half lead, they raised their arms when the final whistle sounded.
Zimbabwe set the tone for the day’s play with a strong 29-5 win over Border Country Districts. They were 12-5 up at the break.
The visitors from up north scored five tries to one in a good reflection of their dominance. Centre Ethan Chaponda, in particular, had a strong performance, getting a hat-trick of tries and generally dictating play.
Thepa Trading Griffons had the better of the first half during their match against Namibia, and their 14-3 lead at the break was well deserved. The Namibians pushed back hard in the second half and a superb try by centre Waldre Kotze, which he also converted, had them back in the match, trailing by four.
A great run by Griffons winger Sandile Manyana, who scored in the first half as well, extended the lead again and when lock Rylen Kirsten crashed over following an angled run, it was all over, with the Northern Free State side prevailing 26-10.
The home team, Phakisa Pumas, continued their strong run in White River. They beat Thepa Trading Griffons 22-0 on Monday and built on this by outplaying the Free State Cheetahs 15-5.
This was a much closer affair, with both teams creating numerous opportunities. The home side did well with a pressing defence and that resulted in the Bloemfontein team making a number of handling errors that prevented them from scoring.
Leading 10-5 at the break, the home side scored a crucial second-half try that gave them the edge. As hard as they tried, the Free Staters could not break their defences again.
One of the tightest matches were played between Griquas and Valke. The team from the Northern Cape prevailed 10-0, thanks to two tries in the first half. Flank Stiaan van Loggerenberg was again a standout for this team, scoring one of the tries that helped them over the line and generally made a nuisance of himself at the breakdowns, often preventing the Gauteng team from getting quick ball.
The SWD Eagles won a fast-paced match against Blue Bulls, scoring three tries to two for a 21-12 win. The first try from SWD could easily rank as the best of the tournament so far. Left wing Rowan Mafutu scored a gem when he outpaced a number of defenders in a 50m-plus run to the line.
The Blue Bulls got one back before the break, but two more tries by SWD after the restart gave them the momentum needed to make it to the line. The final play ended near the SWD line, but the hard work was done and the Southern Cape side could celebrate a well-deserved win.
The Sharks totally outplayed the EP Elephants, winning 55-0 to register the biggest win of the day. The KZN side were meticulous in their finishing and did very few things wrong. They held a 17-0 lead at the break and accumulated points steadily in the second half.
The EP team had their moment, but battled to physically check their opponents, who often made numerous metres with defenders hanging on. Ramatuku Sikhakhane, in particular, was hard to stop and it was no surprise that the wing scored three of the team’s nine tries.
The Golden Lions showed some enterprise in their 36-12 win over Boland. The match was won up front, where the Gauteng team had the upper hand, but they also used their backs to good effect. Adding to this, they were not scared to kick for territory when needed.
This resulted in Boland being strangled, and they could not get going until the final couple of minutes when impressive fullback Viaan Mentoor scored two good tries.
Western Province were 19-0 up against Limpopo Blue Bulls after a blistering start. Their speedy backs scored three tries, one from a counter-attack and two more from well-worked moves to leave the Limpopo side reeling. Credit to the northern team who rallied well but battled to score any points in the opening stanza.
The Capetonians started the second half strong again with two quick tries, while they conceded their first try after almost 50 minutes of play. Two more tries sealed a convincing 41-5 win, giving some in White River the feeling that they are the side to beat at this year’s tournament.
U13 SA Rugby Craven Week day two results:
Zimbabwe 29-5 Border Country Districts
Leopards 20-15 Border
Griffons 26-10 Namibia
Pumas 15-5 Free State Cheetahs
Griquas 10-0 Valke
SWD 21-12 Blue Bulls
Sharks 55-0 EP Elephants
Golden Lions 36-12 Boland
Western Province 41-5 Limpopo Blue Bulls
- The U16 SA Rugby Grant Khomo Week resumes on Wednesday with 10 matches being played. This round will feature highly anticipated clashes between DHL Western Province and Free State Cheetahs, and the Sharks and SWD.
The players had a combined 17,090 minutes of action on the field on Monday and scored 80 tries in the 10 matches played.
The matches will be live-streamed here as well as on the SA Rugby Youth Weeks Facebook page.
Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images