Border left their best performance for last as they beat Free State 33-17 in the U18 Craven Week in Paarl on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
The boys from the Eastern Cape have entertained many throughout the week, but this was definitely a performance that will stay in the players’ memories, as they recovered from conceding an early try to shove Free State out of the park and remain unbeaten.
While it was truly a team effort from Border, wing Jordan Janse van Rensburg put in a sensational showing, grabbing a try in each half and setting up another when he was shifted to flyhalf in the second half.
Both teams should also be applauded for playing expansively on a Brug Street field that was more mud than grass.
Free State looked all but set for a win when flier Ian Small-Smith went over in the corner but it quickly became clear that Border were not simply going to lie down for the Grey College-laden lineup, with flank Jarrod Taylor powering over after a good period of pressure to level the scores.
Flank De Wet Marais scored from the back of a lineout drive to briefly give Free State the lead again, but Janse van Rensburg scored his first try after a strong quick-tap carry from hooker Jacques Goosen. Goosen then scored a try himself, again from a quick-tap penalty to put Border 19-10 up at the break.
The game seemed to have shifted in Free State’s favour when, minutes into the second half, prop Jan-Hendrik Wessels drove over to bring them within a couple of points. However, a yellow card to Marais seemed to give Border extra wind as they scored two tries in the period that he was off.
First, Janse van Rensburg completed his brace by making a brilliant individual run off the back of a scrum in the Free State 22, before he popped a pass on his inside to set up centre Mnombo Zwelendaba for a try that sealed the win.
Border – Tries: Jordan Janse van Rensburg (2), Jarrod Taylor, Jacques Goosen, Mnombo Zwelendaba. Conversions: Thomas Bursey (4).
Free State – Tries: Ian Small-Smith, De Wet Marais, Jan-Hendrik Wessels. Conversions: Zander du Plessis (2).
Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images