Boland produced one of the performances of the U18 Craven Week to beat the Blue Bulls 19-17 in Paarl on Thursday. DYLAN JACK reports.
Powered by a brilliant effort from flyhalf Lionel April, who scored an early interception, Boland showed great composure in front of a fired-up crowd to beat the Pretoria-based side at Craven Week for the first time since 1995.
One of the most impressive aspects of the game was that both sides showed a willingness to run the ball from deep, despite playing on a muddy Brug Street field that had been torn up slightly by the earlier matches and could have turned the game into a stale, tactical battle.
The victory perhaps provides another reason to give some of the ‘smaller’ unions a chance at playing in the final game of the week on Saturday, as Boland and Border have entertained the crowd with some sparkling attacking rugby.
Bulls fullback Capwill Willemse also turned in a strong performance, scoring one of two tries to give them the lead in the first half ― after a penalty from flyhalf Regardt Roets ― which they held until the last minute of the half when Boland centre Shane Williams skirted around his defender to dive over to give the Cape team a 14-10 half-time lead.
The Bulls enjoyed a period of dominance at the start of the second half, helped by Williams being sent to the sin-bin for an intentional knockdown. However, Boland did well to concede only one try during that period, which was scored by Bulls No 8 Divan Venter after scrumhalf Jurich Classens made a break from a scrum.
Minutes after that try, Boland worked their way upfield and won a 5m scrum, from which fullback Conner Mahoney powered over the line for a two-point lead.
The closing minutes of the game were tense, with Roets missing a golden opportunity to snatch a win for the Bulls with a penalty on the 22, while Willemse just could not get his hands onto the ball to score an intercept try from his own half.
Boland – Tries: Lionel April, Shane Williams, Conner Mahoney. Conversions: April (2).
Blue Bulls – Tries: Capwill Willemse, Divan Venter. Conversions: Regard Roets (2). Penalty: Roets.
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images