Western Province beat the Sharks 47-8 in the main game of the U18 Craven Week in Paarl on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
Given Province’s domination of territory and possession, the Sharks were perhaps fortunate to go into the break trailing by only six points. Much of the credit for that should go to fantastic last-ditch defending, with No 8 Celimpilo Gumede leading the charge with some bone-crunching tackles.
However, the dam wall was always bound to burst and when it did in the second half, Province were ruthless, running in five unanswered tries to steamroll the KwaZulu-Natalians.
WP flew into a 14-0 lead thanks to tries from hooker JJ Kotze and flyhalf Juan Mostert, who would pick up a brace in a memorable performance. Only a brilliant tackle from Sharks flyhalf Dylan Pretorius on lock Juan Beukes stopped it from becoming 19-0.
The Sharks were at their best on the counter-attack as demonstrated when wing Siyanda Cele broke from his own 22, offloading a pass that looked suspiciously forward. It was gathered by Rynhardt Jonker, who popped the ball up to Pretorius for the Sharks’ only try of the match.
The home side came out flying in the second half, with No 8 Evan Roos, who has enjoyed one of his finer weeks of rugby, slicing through the Sharks defence to score early on. That try boosted WP, while the Sharks heads started to drop, and three further tries from Mostert, flank Mihlali Mgolodela and replacement hooker Jason Alexander put the game to bed.
Things got worse for the Sharks as they lost flank Sibusiso Sangewni to a yellow card for a tip-tackle late in the match, with WP centre Brendan Venter scoring a further try to round off a polished display.
Western Province – Tries: JJ Kotze, Juan Mostert (2), Evan Roos, Mihlali Mgolodela, Jason Alexander, Brendane Venter. Conversions: Kade Wolhuter (5), Darren Hendricks.
Sharks – Try: Dylan Pretorius. Penalty: Pretorius.
Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images