Province make unconvincing start

Western Province rounded out day one of the U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week with a narrow 33-32 victory over the Pumas, reports BRENTON CHELIN in Middelburg.

It was a game of two halves, with Western Province racing into a solid lead before the Pumas clawed back in a thrilling second half. Province, the unofficial 2013 champions, bossed the hosts in the first half with their powerful forward pack providing the platform for their talented backs to express themselves. The Pumas weren't helped by their poor discipline at the breakdown as eighthman Oscar Schuld and then lock Driaan Bester were sent to the sin bin for ruck infringements, leaving them to play 20 minutes with 14 men. Western Province capitalised on their numerical advantage, scoring 21 points during this period to move into a 30-15 half-time lead.

The hosts, spurred on by a partisan home crowd, put in a stirring second-half performance. They grabbed two tries through scrumhalf Stephan Enslin and Driaan Bester, while all Province could muster was a penalty from the boot of Tiaan Swanepoel.

In the day's penultimate match, SWD beat KwaZulu-Natal 18-13 in a tightly contested affair. Having trailed 13-12 at half-time, two penalties from centre JT Jackson were enough to get SWD across the line and start their week off with a win.

Earlier in the day, the Limpopo Blue Bulls overcame a half-time deficit of their own to defeat Griquas CD in an entertaining opening clash, thanks in part to an inspired performance from flyhalf Diederick Oberholtzer. In other results, the Griffons brushed aside Border 47-20 and Zimbabwe gave a good account of themselves in going down 54-43 to Eastern Province CD.

Pumas (32) – Tries: Barend Smit, Mfundo Ndlovu, Stephan Enslin, Driaan Bester. Conversions: Muller Joubert (3). Penalties: Joubert (2).
Western Province (33) – Tries: Jaco Willemse, Duncan Saal (2). Conversions: Tiaan Swanepoel (3). Penalties: Swanepoel (4).

SWD (18) – Tries: Ruan Barnard, Shadward Fillies. Conversion: JT Jackson. Penalties: Jackson (2)
KwaZulu-Natal (13) – Try: Morné Joubert. Penalties: Tristan Tedder (2).

Border (20) – Tries: Jerry Danquah, Courtney Winaar. Conversions: Morgan Steyn (2). Penalties: Steyn (2).
Griffons (47) – Tries: Erik Knoetze (2), Boeta Vermaak, Ezrick Alexander (2), Francois Stemmet, Jaywinn Juries. Conversions: Jaywinn Juries (6).

Eastern Province CD (54) – Tries: Ethen September, Craig Williams, Joshua Shelley, Xandre Vos, Bradley Christian (2), Nicolaas Oosthuizen. Conversions: Cameron Hertz (5). Penalties: Hertz (3).
Zimbabwe (43) – Tries: Brian Mhuriyengwe, Tawanda Ngosi (2), Tinashe Gonesse, Matthew Ushewokunze (2). Conversions: Campbell Nyakudya (5). Penalty: Nyakudya.

Limpopo Blue Bulls (25) – Tries: Mitch Mametsa, Diederick Oberholtzer, Madot Makobela (2). Conversion: Diederick Oberholtzer. Penalty: Oberholtzer.
Griquas CD (19) – Tries: Elmo Jantjies, André Share, Dian Dry. Conversions: Coenie Lamprecht (2).

Fixtures Day 2

10:10 – Griquas vs Border CD
11:30 – Namibia vs Leaopards
12:50 – Valke vs Boland
14:10 – Blue Bulls vs Eastern Province
15:30 – Golden Lions vs Free State

Photo: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images