Western Province put up a dominant second-half showing to beat the Bulls 56-31 in the closing match of the U18 Craven Week in Bloemfontein on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
In an end-to-end finale to the Craven Week both sides went tit for tat on the scoreboard in the first half, but Province were ultimately too strong in the second period as they scored 28 unanswered points to end with a comfortable win.
There were impressive performances from WP lock Connor Evan, who along with his brace of tries proved to be a constant nuisance at the lineout, as well as fullback Tharquinn Manuel and No 8 Gideon van Wyk. For the Bulls, centre AJ Johnson was a threat with ball in hand while captain Raynard Roets and flanks Simon Muller and MJ Janse van Rensburg were always in the thick of things.
The Bulls got the game off to a flying start when Simon Muller and Raynard Roets combined excellently to put Malcolm Langa over in the corner for the opening try. As they did throughout the match, Province responded and went ahead through a converted try from Tharquinn Manuel.
AJ Johnson then ran a perfect line on to a pass from Jurich Classens to cut through the defence and score as the Bulls regained the lead, but Bryan le Roux muscled over for Province. Johnson turned provider to put centre partner Zeilinga Strydom in for the Bulls’ third try, but Province again responded through No 8 Gideon van Wyk, going 21-19 up at the break.
WP extended their lead a minute into the second half when Pierich Siebert drove over the line, but the Bulls kept it competitive when they went upfield from the kick-off and scored through MJ Janse van Rensburg.
However, Province were not to be outdone and once again extended their lead through a brace from lock Connor Evans, who made it 42-24 with just over 15 minutes remaining. The game was all but settled when Quan Horn put wing Jacques Rosseau into space out wide to score Province’s seventh try.
They were not done there as Sacha Mngomezulu came off the bench to set up Manuel’s second try with a wonderful cross-field kick. The Bulls did manage to have the final say as they were awarded a penalty try after a powerful driving maul.
Western Province – Tries: Tharquinn Manuel (2), Bryan le Roux, Gideon van Wyk, Pierich Siebert, Connor Evans (2), Jacques Rosseau. Conversions: Kade Wolhuter (8).
Blue Bulls – Tries: Malcolm Langa, AJ Johnson, Zeilinga Strydom, MJ Janse van Rensburg, penalty try. Conversions: Wickus Basson (2).
Western Province – 15 Tharquinn Manuel, 14 Curwin Gertse, 13 Quan Horn, 12 Tyler Bocks, 11 Jacques Rousseau, 10 Kade Wolhuter, 9 Bobby Alexander (c), 8 Gideon van Wyk, 7 Pierich Siebert, 6 Romeo Ntumba, 5 Dylan de Leeuw, 4 Connor Evans, 3 Bryan le Roux, 2 Allister Williams, 1 Rhynardt Rijnsburger.
Subs: 16 Lukhanyo Vokozela, 17 Louwtjie Marais, 18 Jovan Bekker, 19 Marco de Witt, 20 Isaiah Warton, 21 Liam Kloosman, 22 Sacha Mngomezulu, 23 Angelo Osch.
Blue Bulls – 15 Geraldo Flusk, 14 Nsuku Baloyi, 13 Zeilinga Strydom, 12 Austin-John Johnson, 11 Malcolm Langa, 10 Wickus Basson, 9 Jurich Claassens, 8 Willie Potgieter, 7 Simon Miller, 6 MJ Janse van Rensburg, 5 Raynard Roets (c), 4 Chris Kamffer, 3 Gerhard van der Merwe, 2 Jacques-Louis du Toit, 1 Nolan Pienaar.
Subs: 16 Enrique Courtiers, 17 Dima Lebelo, 18 Sbewu Fipaza, 19 Kabelo Machimana, 20 Onk Segooa, 21 Rowan Cloete, 22 Bradley Mayekiso, 23 Hope Mashabane.
Craven Week results (day five):
Sharks 53 Griffons 13
Griquas 31 Golden Lions XV 38
Golden Lions 49 Free State Cheetahs 26
Leopards 43 Limpopo Blue Bulls 15
Border 43 Boland 26
NWU Valke 26 Blue Bulls XV 63
SWD Eagles 30 Western Province XV 45
EP Elephants 38 Pumas 28
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images