Western Province beat the Golden Lions 13-5 at the U18 Craven Week in Paarl on Tuesday. DYLAN JACK reports.
In the first unofficial semi-final to determine which side will play in the main game on Saturday, Province handled the windy conditions better to sneak home despite the Lions seeing far more of the ball.
While the boys from Johannesburg did brilliantly on defence in the first half, led by an impressive performance from inside centre Boitumelo Tsatsane, they struggled to convert their best chance of the game in the second half.
A half-time score of 6-5 to the home side, thanks to a couple of penalties from WP flyhalf Kade Wolhuter, tells its own story about the tempo of the game and it is perhaps unfortunate that ― due to the structure of the competition ― a team playing in the original spirit of the week won’t get a shot at playing in the unofficial final.
The Lions certainly played the more enterprising rugby and got within a whisker of the lead thanks to a fantastic try scored by inside centre Henco van Wyk ― named Hero of the Day ― who cut inside onto a pass from flyhalf Declan Raubenheimer.
The turning point of the game came in the 50th minute of the match, when, after a succession of penalties, Lions hooker Morné Brandon was yellow-carded. Province immediately punished the infringement by going for a lineout with captain and lock Adrian Alberts going over from the back of a strong maul.
The Lions had a golden opportunity to pull the game back shortly afterwards as they camped down in Province’s 22, and won a number of penalties themselves. However, they strangely chose to quick-tap most of them, allowing the Province defenders to see out the game.
Western Province – Try: Adrian Alberts. Conversion: Kade Wolhuter. Penalties: Wolhuter (2).
Golden Lions – Try: Henco van Wyk.
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images