KZN likely to find Free State a tough nut to crack

2009-07-15 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL Under 18 have their first match at the 2009 Craven Week in East London this afternoon.

The match is a tough one against Free State, who are likely favourites with their 15 Grey College representatives.

Free State beat KZN last year and played in the final match, just losing to SWD.

Grey College are head and shoulders better than the opposition that they have played this season, and although they meet some tough opponents next term, they don’t look like losing.

When Grey are strong, and most of the squad of 22 players come from Grey, Free State will be a strong combination.

It will be interesting to see whether Free State will use their stronger players, as a win in the first game sets up stronger opposition in the second game.

To be in the final it is almost essential that the first two matches have been won.

The KZN coaches will be in a dilemma as they will want to beat Free State, but if they use their strongest combination, then they will have to play the second match with perhaps most of the reserves.

A melding of the top 15, with some reserves, must be used, also bearing in mind that a team must have four players of colour on the field at any one time.

With their strong Grey College line-up, Free State will be difficult to beat.

They have 10 players who played at last years Craven Week, including SA Schools player Pieter Rademan.

KZN have just three players with Craven Week experience.

Yesterday Western Province surprised Eastern Province with an impressive 49-15 win. WP outscored EP with six tries to three, with EP unable to convert any kicks.

The two Griquas teams both won, with the Country Districts team coming from behind to narrowly win 13-11 against Namibia.

SWD — with 13 players from Outeniqua in the side — are not the team they were in the last two Craven Weeks, and lost to the Golden Lions 6-34.

Results from Day 1:

Griquas CD 13 Namibia 11; Griquas 31 Pumas 22; Western Province 49 Eastern Province 15; Golden Lions 34 SWD 6; Border 15 Valke 10

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