The Valke held out against a Leopards comeback to claim a 43-24 victory, while there were wins for SWD, Western Province and the Free State on day one of the U18 Craven Week on Monday.
The Valke started their clash with the Leopards with a bang, racing to a convincing 29-0 half-time lead. However, the Leopards fought back with intent to close the gap to 29-24, before the Valke’s No 8, Franco Enslin, wrapped up his hat-trick to nudge the side to a 43-24 victory.
The Gauteng side ran hard on attack in the first half and complemented this with good finishing, but after the break they met strong resistance from the Leopards, who retained possession and did well to apply pressure on attack. The Kempton Park outfit, however, remained composed until the end and held on for the win.
Meanwhile, the SWD Eagles were made to work hard for their 43-22 victory against the Pumas, with a good second-half fightback allowing them to overturn a 15-12 half-time deficit.
In the end the George side outscored their opponents seven tries to three, with fullback Ashchaldo Kiewiet earning two five-pointers, as they showed patience on attack and chipped away at the Pumas’ defence.
In other results, Western Province registered the biggest win of the day with a 50-24 victory over Boland, while Free State snuck home against the Sharks, winning 46-24.
There was a good mix of close encounters and big wins in the Academy Week, but again it was Western Province who made the strongest statement with their 73-10 victory against the Blue Bulls. With their Western Province XV counterparts also registering a victory, it proved to be a good day for the union, while Boland and the Limpopo Blue Bulls also scored more than 40 points in their wins.
The Sharks, Pumas CD and Leopards, in turn, all held on for three-point victories in hard-fought encounters.
Craven Week results (Day 1):
Valke 43 Leopards 24 (A Field)
Pumas 22 SWD Eagles 43 (A Field)
Academy Week results (Day 2):
Free State Cheetahs 38 Sharks 41 (A Field)
Border CD 17 Pumas CD 20 (B Field)
Sharks CD 24 Leopards 27 (B Field)
Western Province 73 Blue Bulls 18 (A Field)
EP Elephants CD 17 Western Province XV 41 (B Field)
Zimbabwe 29 Boland 45 (B Field)
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images