Western Province earn title of unofficial champions at Craven Week

2013-07-15 00:00

WESTERN Province made it three wins and the title of unofficial champions at the 50th Craven Week, which ended in Polokwane on Saturday. They were the only team at the week to win all three of their games and were rewarded with the inclusion of seven of their players in the SA Schools squad of 28 that was announced at the end of the tournament.

Western Province also won both the U13 Craven and the U16 Grant Khomo weeks, showing that they seem to have the correct structures in place.

Western Province dominated the first half against the Golden Lions and led 23-0 at the break, after two converted tries and three penalties. Grant Hermanus (Paarl Gym) had his kicking boots on as he did not miss a kick in the half. WP scored two tries in quick succession — the first by 120 kg prop Thomas du Toit (Paarl BHS) from a tap penalty close to the Lions’ tryline and the second by scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies (Paul Roos).

The Lions clawed their way back into the game early in the second half with a well-worked try by fullback Erwin Harris (Florida) who took advantage of an overlap on attack. A counter-attack by Hermanus resulted in flank Jacques Vermeulen (Paarl Gym) going over in the left corner and with a splendid conversion by Hermanus, WP led 30-7 after 40 minutes.

Not daunted, the Lions upped their game and scored three tries to two by Province in the second half. Tries by scrumhalf Hamer Esterhuizen (Monument), flyhalf Innocent Radebe (St Stithian’s) and wing Sibusiso Nkosi (Jeppe) with a penalty and a conversion by Harris, saw the Lions outscore WP in the second half. The latter scored a penalty by Hermanus and a try to wing Dewald Naude (Paarl BHS) to bring the Lions to 29-38 behind with 10 minutes to play.

WP’s centre Daniel du Plessis (Paul Roos) sealed the win with three minutes to spare as he scored his team’s fifth try and the conversion by Hermanus made it 45-29.

KZN had their best performance of the week with a 77-14 win against Border after leading 42-7 at the break. Eleven tries were scored, all converted, as they blew Border away. Playing without any reservations and no television, after having to play the Bulls on the first day and then the Pumas, KZN showed what the side were capable of doing.

Marcel Coetzee (Maritzburg College) and Jean-Luc du Preez (Kearsney) both scored a brace, with the others being scored by Akhona Nela (Glenwood), Tristan Tedder (Kearsney), Jaco Coetzee (Glenwood), Reece McHardy (Westville), Ayron Schramm (Kearsney), Dan du Preez (Kearsney) and Morné Joubert (Glenwood). Tedder converted seven of the tries and Kurt Webster (DHS) the other four.

The Pumas and Free State were involved in a tight tussle in the main curtain-raiser, with both teams striking a balance between strong forward displays and innovative attacking rugby. Pumas ran out surprise 25-22 winners after Free State led 19-16 at half-time.

In the earlier game, another surprise was SWD beating the Blue Bulls 37-29.

Paarl Gym and Outeniqua each supplied four of the SA Schools’ players. Kearsney, with the Du Preez twins, Paarl BHS, Grey College, Affies and Louis Botha were the schools that had more than one representative in the squad. There are 10 players who were selected for their second year — Ox Nche, Dan and Jean-Luc du Preez, Abongile Nonkwantano, Justin Phillips, Duhan van der Merwe and Jurie Linde, JD Schickerling and Warrick Gelant.

The 28-man squad will make up the teams that will play games against their counterparts from England, Wales and France. They meet England in Cape Town on August 9, followed by clashes against France in George on August 13 and Wales in Wellington on August 17.

SA Schools 2013 Squad: Props- Ox Nche (Louis Botha-FS), Thabani Mtsi (Selborne-Bdr), Thomas du Toit (Paarl BHS-WP), Conraad van Vuuren (Nelspruit-Pumas), Ruan Kramer (Grey-FS); Hookers- Daniel du Plessis (Paarl BHS-WP), Francois Steyn (Affies-BB), Joseph Dweba (Florida-GL); Locks-Daniel du Preez (Kearsney-KZN), JD Schickerling (Paarl Gym-WP), Abongile Nonkwantano (St Alban’s-BB); Loose Forwards- PJ Toerin (Garsfontein-BB), Refiole Rampeta (Louis Botha-FS), Jacques Vermeulen (Paarl Gym-WP), Jean-Luc du Preez (Kearsney-KZN), Rikus Bothma cpt (Paarl Gym-WP); Scrumhalves- Justin Phillips (Waterkloof-BB), Remu Malan (Outeniqua-SWD); Flyhalves-Brandon Thomson (Ermelo-Pumas), Dewald Human (Outeniqua-SWD); Centres-Warrick Gelant (Outeniqua-SWD), Daniel du Plessis (Paul Roos-WP), Leolin Zas (Hermanus-Bol), Jurie Linde (Affies-BB); Wings- Duhan van der Merwe (Outeniqua-SWD), Grant Hermanus (Paarl Gym-WP); Fullbacks-Malcolm Jaer (Die Brandwag-EP), EW Viljoen (Grey-FS)


Western Province 45-29 Golden Lions; Free State 22– 25 Pumas; Blue Bulls 29–37 SWD; Eastern Province 29– 18 Valke; Griffons 34–27 Boland

Griquas CD 17–34 Leopards; Border 14 –77 KZN; Zimbabwe 10–33 Namibia; Border CD 5–94 Griquas; Limpopo Blue Bulls 36–39 EP CD

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