Border’s clash with the Blue Bulls and the Golden Lions’ match against the Western Province XV prove difficult to predict on day two of Craven Week, writes DYLAN JACK.
Griquas vs Limpopo Blue Bulls (9:30am, A field)
The Griquas are the favourites in day two’s opener. With most of their squad coming from either Noord-Kaap or Diamantveld, the boys from the Northern Cape should have far too much firepower for the Limpopo side, who will be well coached and competitive but ultimately not able to keep up in the second half. Look out for Griquas No 8 Stefan Swart, a Diamantveld pupil, as well as Noord-Kaap wing Elzandro Fredericks.
Prediction: Griquas by 19
Blue Bulls XV vs Golden Lions XV (11am, A field)
The first of a few tough games to call after the Blue Bulls XV surprisingly beat the Lions XV in a warm-up game before the tournament. However, the Lions side, with a total of eight players from Monument mixed with a few from KES, Jeppe and Helpmekaar, should win this one. The Bulls XV squad is a bit mix-and-match, with no one school providing a majority of players, which should make it interesting to see how quickly they gel. Keep an eye on the Monument front row of Dehan Niemand, Franco Prinsloo and Heiko Pohlman as well as Helpmekaar centres Frans Weideman and Melbert van der Spuy.
Prediction: Golden Lions XV by 11
EP Elephants vs Griffons (12:30pm, A field)
An easier one to call. Eastern Province, with a number of Framesby players providing their spine, will be too strong for the Griffons. EP flyhalf Jeandre Liebenberg, one of said Framesby boys, is a promising talent as is scrumhalf Octavian Muller, who attends Brandwag.
Prediction: EP Elephants by 23
Blue Bulls vs Border
One of the highlights of day two. The Bulls come into the tournament with a much better squad than last year, when they failed to win a single match. Such is the talent in their squad that they are possibly favourites to win the game, with their main weapons coming in the form of Affies loose-forwards MJ Janse van Rensburg and Adolph Visser as well as Garsfontein lock Raynard Roets and Menlopark wing Nsuku Baloyi. Border once again have a team packed with Selborne players, and if the game is to be won up front, one senses that they will be reliant on hooker Jacques Goosen and flank Jarrod Taylor as well as lock Cullen Opperman and No 8 Raidan Masters. I have the Bulls to win this one, but by no means am writing off an excellent Border team.
Prediction: Blue Bulls by 9
Golden Lions vs Western Province XV
This is a fascinating clash. Even though the Golden Lions are playing a WP B side, there are plenty of players in that squad who could count themselves unlucky to miss out on selection for the A squad. Players such as hooker Keagan Blanckenberg, flyhalf Kian Meadon, flank Jarred Cairns and wing Javier Farmer, to name but a few, could all have made the Western Province team. As it is, they come up against a Lions team with plenty of firepower of their own, particularly in lock Connor van Buuren, and flanks Zander du Toit and Izan Esterhuizen, while they will also look to the centre pairing of Henco van Wyk and Joseph Iye to give them go-forward in the backline. A tough one to call, but if the Lions get momentum, they should bag the win.
Prediction: Lions by 12
Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images