The Sharks staked their claim for high honours at the U18 Craven Week with a 46-28 win over South Western Districts on day two in Paarl on Tuesday. THEO GARRUN reports.
The sides produced an attractive spectacle, scoring 10 tries between them, and although SWD never looked likely to win, they kept coming at their bigger opponents. They scored a couple of good tries, including one that was probably the try of the game – a long-range affair rounded off by centre Janco Klink after giant lock Hannes Gouws ran 40m to get him close to the line.
The Sharks lost their big lock Deon Slabbert to a knee injury early on, but still got the first try via wing Joe Jonas. SWD bounced back almost immediately with a forward try, finished off by prop Pieter Maritz, before Sharks flyhalf Dylan Pretorius got the first of his two tries to take his side into a 17-13 lead at the break.
The KZN team came out storming after the break and lost the ball twice across the tryline before Pretorius managed to hold on and get his second touchdown.
The Sharks extended their lead to 36-13 via two quick tries by centre Lwandile Menze, but SWD got the next two touchdowns to close the gap to 38-23.
SWD were getting into the game more and more, and it took a Pretorius penalty to settle the Sharks down at 41-23.
The sides got one further try apiece after that, the final one by the Sharks on full time to bring an end to an exciting encounter.
The Sharks were good value for their win. No 8 Celimpilo Gumede had a big game for them, with flank George Luzo and scrumhalf Christopher Schreuder also showing up well.
SWD have a number of exciting backs in their ranks. Fullback Clyde Lewis was always tricky with ball in hand and wing Ridge Gaffley has plenty of pace. Up front, Gouws used his physical presence well and Pieter Ferreira put in some big drives.
The win means that the Sharks will in all likelihood play in Thursday’s late game, against the winners of the Free State vs Blue Bulls game.
Sharks – Tries: Joe Jonas, Dylan Pretorius (2), Lwandile Menze (2), Andrew James. Conversions: Pretorius (5). Penalties: Pretorius (2).
SWD – Tries: Pieter Maritz, Abraham van Huysteen, Janco Klink, Derick Jooste. Conversion: Jan Strydom Penalties: Strydom (2).
Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images