Dangerous with the ball

2013-07-02 00:00

THE first day of the Academy Week for U18 boys took place at Glenwood in Durban yesterday. The Academy Week is a step down from Craven Week, which starts next week. It is not clear why it is called Academy Week as an academy is usually an institution of higher learning. Perhaps it would be a better idea to get it its own name, as have the U18 Craven Week and U16 Grant Khomo Week.

The 13 matches involving 26 sides take place mainly at Glenwood, with the better sides on their A field and others on the B field. Kenya have withdrawn due to financial constraints and their place has been taken by the KZN Academy B side, hastily put together over the past week. KZN and the other major rugby unions also have Country Districts teams.

The Valke are represented by two teams, one the Red team and the other the Blue team. Namibia remain the only side from outside our borders. The 24th team is the SA selected team from the LSEN (Learners with Special Education Needs) week, which was held last week.

The two biggest wins of the day were the thrashing of the two Valke sides, the Reds by 93-0 by Western Province and the Blues losing 66-5 against Eastern Province. One match was drawn 19-all between Border and Limpopo Blue Bulls.

It was a good day at Glenwood for all three KZN sides who came home with comfortable wins. At the Grant Khomo Week in Vanderbijlpark, the KZN U16 side had a hard-fought win against Limpopo Blue Bulls. It was a day of surprise results in Durban as favourite sides Blue Bulls, Golden Lions and Free State all lost.

In the final match of the day, the KZN side looked full of running, with nine of their 10 tries all coming from some marvellous movements, making the ball do most of the work. Opponents Leopards scored three tries, making it a try-feast for the spectators.

The Leopards held a brief two- minute lead in the game when they scored early on with a well-struck penalty. KZN scored their first try just minutes after this with a move that spread the ball from right to left before eighth man Waelon Hippolite (Glenwood) scored.

This try epitomised most of the tries scored by KZN. If there was a downside in the KZN play, it was the lack of a reliable place kicker as four players were used and only the last two tries were converted, both kicks in front of the posts.

KZN looked dangerous with the ball in hand and the Leopards had to make many more tackles than the home side. Passes were slick and done at pace starting with man of the match scrumhalf Kwazi Khanyile (Glenwood), who got the line moving well.

The only time that the Leopards threatened was when they used the pick and drive among their heavier forwards from which the three tries resulted, the last two in the last few minutes of the second half. Their backline was too keen to kick possession away so that they never made inroads into the KZN defence with the three quarters.

At the break, the writing was on the wall as KZN led 25-3, having scored five tries. Hard-running centre Brad Ellse (Westville) used some silky skills as well as brute force to constantly put the Leopards under pressure when he had the ball, and he scored a brace in the first 35 minutes. Fullback Chris Lines (Kearsney) and lock Chris Schoeman (Michaelhouse), the latter with a turn of speed on the outside, also got over.

Another five tries were scored in the second half, with hooker Masikane Mazwi (Maritzburg College), centre Nkululeko Ncuma (Glenwood), Lines with his second, flank Gerhard Coetzee (Glenwood) and wing Lindo Buthelezi (Westville) all crossing the line.Lines converted his try and Curtis Jonas (Glenwood) converted the final try for a satisfying 54-20 win.

Academy Results: EP 66 Blue Valke 5; SWD 38 Lions 33; Pumas 26 Free State 22; WP 93 Red Valke 0; Boland 13 Blue Bulls 12; KZN 54 Leopards 20; Limpopo BB 19 Border 19; Namibia 52 SA LSEN 0; KZN XV 34 Griquas CD 0; Griffons CD 39 Griquas 25; Leopards CD 38 Border CD 0; Griffons 41 EP CD 15; KZN CD 31 Pumas CD 22

Grant Khomo Results: Namibia 13 Griquas 9; Lions 29 Valke 20; Boland 17 Pumas 10; Zimbabwe 15 Griquas CD 12; Valke XV 28 Border CD 3; Border 15 Free State 13; SWD 21 Griffons 10; Blue Bulls 30 EP 26; WP 50 Leopards 12 KZN 16 Limpopo BB 12

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