Western Province ended day one of the U18 Craven Week with a 20-13 victory over the Blue Bulls in Stellenbosch.
The hosts came out top in a physical encounter with their long-time adversaries, thanks in part to scrumhalf Jondré Williams, who succeeded with five penalties. The sides were evenly poised during the opening stages as Williams and Bulls fullback Andell Loubser traded penalties, before Williams nailed a second to give his side a three-point advantage.
The Bulls then capitalised on a lost lineout by Province with outside centre Stedman Gans darting over for the opening try. But it was a lead they were unable to keep, as ill-discipline afforded Williams the opportunity to add another penalty goal, which he did. This was followed up with a fantastic try through left wing Nico Leonard who found space out wide, before Williams added a fourth penalty late in the half for a 17-8 lead at the interval.
That lead was extended to 12 points soon after the restart with their fifth and final penalty kick. WP continued to pile on the pressure, pinning the Bulls back in their own territory for the majority of the third quarter. The boys from Pretoria did manage to score in the last minute when inside centre Louis van der Schyff snuck through a gap to reduce the deficit, but it was too late to reverse the result.
In the penultimate game, the Griffons defeated Free State 41-27 in an exciting contest. Following a tight first half in which they led 19-15, the Griffons pulled away in the second stanza, scoring three further tries to get their campaign off to a winning start.
Earlier in the day, Boland swept aside the Limpopo Blue Bulls 52-7 in their opening match, thanks to a top performance from flyhalf Adriaan van der Bank. who top-scored with 22 points (two tries and six conversions).
In other results, Namibia outscored Border Country Districts six tries to two, to claim a 38-14 victory and Border showed great determination to edge the Pumas 32-28.
Western Province (20) – Try: Nico Leonard. Penalties: Jondré Williams (5).
Blue Bulls (13) – Tries: Stedman Gans, Louis van der Schyff. Penalty: Andell Loubser.
Griffons (41) – Tries: Siya Ngxesha (2), Richman Gora, Marco Labuschagne, Christiaan Steyn, Gift Dlamini. Conversions: Luan James (4). Penalty: James.
Free State (27) – Tries: Dian Schoonees, Siyabonga Luwaca, Jabo Mtshatsheni (2). Conversions: Christiaan Schutte (2). Penalty: Schutte.
Boland (52) – Tries: Adriaan van der Bank (2), Barend van der Westhuizen, Earll Douwrie, Jacobus Abel, Rick Jordaan, Erik Groenewald (2). Conversions: Van der Bank (6).
Limpopo Blue Bulls (7) – Try: Sibusiso Mlangeni. Conversion: Wernich Kachelhoffer.
Namibia (38) – Tries: Tobie van Zyl (2), Chad Plato (2), Brandon Groenewald, Tristan Mouton. Conversions: Cliven Loubser (4).
Border CD (14) – Tries: Josh Amstrong, Migcobo Bovu. Conversions: Alrich Plaatjies (2).
Border (32) – Tries: Heinrich Nieuwenhuizen (2), David Brits, Thaki Boloko, Daniel Froneman. Conversions: Josh Allderman (2). Penalty: Allderman.
Pumas (28) – Tries: Mlondi Mnisi, Cyprian Nkomo, JC Pretorius. Conversions: Wessel Muller (2). Penalties: Muller (3).
Day 2 fixtures:
09:00 – Griquas CD vs Zimbabwe
10:30 – Valke vs Eastern Province CD
12:00 – Leopards vs Griquas
13:30 – KwaZulu-Natal vs Golden Lions
15:00 – Eastern Province vs SWD Eagles
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images