The Blue Bulls produced a powerful second-half showing to beat Border 35-24 in their first match at the U18 Craven Week in Bloemfontein on Tuesday. DYLAN JACK reports.
While they were contained in the first half, the Bulls proved far too strong in the second, scoring 20 unanswered points to end Border’s three-game unbeaten run from last year.
The boys from Pretoria simply overpowered their opponents, especially at the breakdown, where flanks Miller Simon and MJ Janse van Rensburg were a constant menace, allowing the deadly Geraldo Flusk and Zeilinga Strydom the space they craved to operate in.
Impressive individual performances came from Border’s hooker Jacques Goosen, flank Jarrod Taylor and Mntungwa Mapantsela, but they struggled to get anything going for large periods of the match.
It looked as if Border were picking up where they left off last year as they stormed into a 10-5 lead, thanks to tries from Taylor and wing Indiphile Tydea, who finished off a break from scrumhalf Damion O’Connell. Border centre Mapantsela was at his opportunistic best when he pounced on a poor clearance to make it 17-5 to the Eastern Cape side.
However, the Bulls switched on from there as lock and captain Raynard Roets scooped up a handling error near the Border tryline to narrow the score to 17-10 at half time. From there it was one-way traffic as the scores were soon levelled after the break when replacement forward Chris Kamffer was driven over the line.
The Bulls took the lead for the first time in the match when Nsuku Baloyi was freed up out wide and showed good strength to break through a couple of tackles to score. Wickus Basson added a penalty before MJ Janse van Rensburg ran a good 30m for a try as the Bulls started to take control of the match.
The result was sealed when Baloyi went over for his brace to make it an 18-point game with five minutes left to play. Border did have the last say as Goosen went over in the final play of the game for their fourth try.
Blue Bulls – Tries: Geraldo Flusk, Raynard Roets, Chris Kamffer, Nsuku Baloyi (2), MJ Janse van Rensburg. Conversions: Wikus Basson (2). Penalty: Basson.
Border – Tries: Jarrod Taylor, Indiphile Tyeda, Mntungwa Mapantsela, Jacques Goosen. Conversions: Warrick Day (2).
Blue Bulls – 15 Gerado Flusk, 14 Nsuku Baloyi, 13 Zeilinga Strydom, 12 Austin-John Johnson, 11 Malcolm Langa, 10 Wikus Basson, 9 Jurich Classens, 8 Willie Potgieter, 7 Miller Simon, 6 MJ Janse van Rensburg, 5 Raynard Roets (c), 4 Kabelo Machimana, 3 Gerhard van der Merwe, 2 Jacques-Louis du Toit, 1 Dima Lebelo.
Subs: 16 Enrique Coutriers, 17 Nolan Pienaar, 18 Sbewu Fipaza, 19 Chris Kamffer, 20 Guy Kibongo, 21 Rowan Cloete, 22 Bradley Mayekiso, 23 Hope Sandisiwe.
Border – 15 Sibusiso Javu, 14 Ronaldo Daniels, 13 Josh Jonas, 12 Mntungwa Mapantsela, 11 Indiphile Tyeda, 10 Warrick Day, 9 Damion O’Connell, 8 Raiden Masters, 7 Jarrod Taylor, 6 Josh van Vreden, 5 Tylor-Jesse Glover, 4 Cullen Opperman, 3 Ali Gqaza, 2 Jacques Goosen, 1 Oscar Myataza.
Subs: 16 Oyisa Dyani, 17 Bubele Madiba, 18 Sim Gege, 19 Dean Stokes, 20 Jaylon Hamann, 21 Sihlalo Benge, 22 Mmangaliso Maphinda, 23 Bulumko Mfundisi.
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images