The Golden Lions beat Boland 51-16 in their final game at the U18 Craven Week in Paarl on Saturday to end their week on a high note. THEO GARRUN reports.
Boland had impressed with their tricky running in their earlier encounters, but they weren’t able to get going in the mud at Paarl Boys’ High. They weren’t able to get their hands on the ball against a rampant Lions pack, and when they did try to run with the little possession that did come their way they were cut down time and time again by a resolute Lions defence.
The Lions got their tactics dead right. They didn’t run the ball willy-nilly in the heavy, wet conditions and once their forwards began to dominate they played the pick-and-go game to great effect. They crossed the line at least four more times only to be adjudged as being held up each time.
The Lions led 32-7 at half-time, four tries to one, and the contest was effectively over by then. They got three more in the second half, with Boland’s only response coming from a long-range interception, scored by flyhalf Lionel April.
It’s difficult to single out individuals in a Lions pack that bullied their opponents physically, but Franco Schutte and Izak Esterhuizen were particularly effective for them, as was Lindokuhle Ncusane and Morné Brandon. Schutte got two of their seven tries and he was also invaluable in the lineouts where he stole a number of the Boland throw-ins.
Centre Boitumelo Tstansane was at the heart of the Lions defence, as he has been all week. He and fellow centre Henco van Wyk were watertight – Boland’s tries came from a kick ahead and a cruel bounce early on, and a long-range interception close to the end.
Van Wyk also shone on attack. He scored two tries and his angled incursions gave the Boland defence a lot of trouble throughout. Muzi Manyike, who played fullback for the Lions all week, was full of exciting running and his exit clearance kicking was sound.
April is a class act, but he never saw enough of the ball to stamp his authority on the game the way he did on days one and two.
Golden Lions – Tries: Henco van Wyk (2), Morné Brandon, Franco Schutte, Ruben Westraad, Tino Swanepoel. Conversions: Declan Raubenheimer (3), Muzi Manyike (2). Penalties: Raubenheimer (2).
Boland – Tries: Conner Mahoney. Lionel April. Conversion: April.
Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images