The unofficial final of this year’s U18 Craven Week will be contested by Western Province and the Sharks, reports THEO GARRUN.
The game kicks off at 2pm on Saturday at Paarl Boys’ High’s Brug Street stadium and it’s going to be a sellout. To make the occasion even more attractive to local supporters, Boland take on the Golden Lions in the curtain-raiser, at 12:30pm.
There is not supposed to be a winner at Craven Week, but everyone knows that the week’s concluding fixture is contested by the top two performers over the first two rounds of matches, and that whoever wins it becomes the unofficial champions.
There’s no doubt that Saturday’s contestants deserve to be there. The Sharks beat Free State 29-20 on Thursday to earn the right to meet the hosts, who had come out on top of an arm wrestle with the Golden Lions 13-5 in their second game.
Both finalists were convincing winners of their opening games – WP beat the Pumas 72-10 and the Sharks beat SWD 46-28.
It’s not easy to predict who is going to come out on top on Saturday. Both sides have big, effective forward packs, and both have exciting backs. The Sharks have the forward who has had the people in Paarl talking – No 8 Celimpilo Gumede – while in centre Dawid Kellerman, WP have the most talked about back. One fancies that the support of the home crowd, and familiarity with what’s likely to be the wet conditions on Saturday, will swing it Province’s way.
Boland have been a revelation at this week. They unexpectedly beat the Blue Bulls on Thursday, 19-17, after trouncing Griquas 61-14 in their first outing. They have been playing exhilarating running rugby and thoroughly deserve their late game, against the Golden Lions. With the flair that the Lions have in their backline, this is going to be a great game.
U18 Craven Week Day 5 fixtures (Saturday, Brug Street Grounds):
08:00 – SWD vs Pumas (A Field)
08:00 – Griquas vs Blue Bulls (B Field)
09:30 – Western Province XV vs Blue Bulls (A Field)
09:30 – Eastern Province vs Leopards (B Field)
11:00 – Border vs Free State (A Field)
11:00 – Blue Bulls XV vs Golden Lions XV (B Field)
12:30 – Golden Lions vs Boland (A Field)
12:30 – Valke vs Griffons (B Field)
14:00 – Sharks vs Western Province (A Field)
U18 Academy Week Day 5 fixtures (Saturday, Paarl Gymnasium):
08:00 – Sharks vs Golden Lions (A Field)
08:00 – Griquas vs Eastern Province CD (B Field)
08:00 – Blue Bulls CD vs Western Province CD (C Field)
08:00 – Leopards vs Griquas CD (D Field)
09:30 – Border vs Blue Bulls (A Field)
09:30 – Boland vs Golden Lions CD (B Field)
09:30 – Griffons CD vs Sharks CD (C Field)
09:30 – Pumas CD vs Valke CD (D Field)
11:00 – SWD vs Valke (A Field)
11:00 – Eastern Province vs Griffons (B Field)
11:00 – Limpopo Blue Bulls vs Pumas (C Field)
11:00 – Border CD vs SA LSEN (D Field)
12:30 – Western Province vs Free State (A Field)
12:30 – Zimbabwe vs Namibia (B Field)
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images