Western Province earn Youth-Week glory

2016-07-19 06:00
DHL Western Province U18 celebrate after their match against Bidvest Golden Lions U18 at Stott Field on the last day of the U/18 Coca-Cola Craven Week at Kearsney College. PHOTO: Gallo Images

DHL Western Province U18 celebrate after their match against Bidvest Golden Lions U18 at Stott Field on the last day of the U/18 Coca-Cola Craven Week at Kearsney College. PHOTO: Gallo Images

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WESTERN Province (WP) took top honours in the Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Week and the Coca-Cola Academy Week at Kearsney College in Durban in a satisfying day for the provincial union, which wrapped up the SA Rugby Youth Weeks.

WP defeated the Golden Lions 27-20 in an entertaining final match of the Coca-Cola Craven Week, while their Coca-Cola Academy Week counterparts fought until the end against the Blue Bulls for a 23-12 victory.

The victory for the Coca-Cola Craven Week team ensured that they retained their status as the top team after a 95-0 victory in the final match last season against Eastern Province, while the Western Province Academy Week team built on the success of the side in the final match since the 2014 season.

In a thrilling closing day to the Youth Weeks, a total of 22 matches featuring all 44 teams were played.

Over the five days in the Coca-Cola Craven Week 269 tries and 1 888 points were scored, while 268 tries and 1 902 points were scored in the Coca-Cola Academy Week.

The main game of the Coca-Cola Craven Week, between WP and the Lions, was scintillating.

WP scored the first try of the match in the 15th minute via Manuel Rass as they spread the ball wide, but this was cancelled out by Lions flyhalf Tyrone Green, who won a turnover and later touched down under the posts. The Cape side, however, had the final say with a try by Muller Uys to take a 20-10 halftime lead.

The second half was tightly-contested as the Lions struck first with a try one minute into the half, but this was cancelled out by WP two minutes later as they crossed the tryline for their third try. Both teams ran hard at one another as the match progressed, but neither could break through the defence. The Lions closed the gap on the scoreboard to 27-20 compliments of a penalty by centre Wandisile Simelane eight minutes before the final whistle, but that proved to be the last points of the match, and saw WP emerge as the top team for the second successive year.

In the final match of the Coca-Cola Academy Week, the Blue Bulls ran hard at WP from the opening exchanges and did well to break through tackles and work their way close to the tryline. But they were kept from crossing the chalk by the tenacious Cape side’s defence. Unfortunately for WP, however, penalties conceded in kickable positions allowed the Pretoria side to slot over three first-half penalties to take a 9-0 lead. But the opposition fought back and managed to apply pressure on attack as they put together phases on attack. They were unable to breach the Bulls defence, but they earned their first points five minutes before half time compliments of a penalty.

Both teams gave everything in the second half, but WP made the most of their chances with Johannes Steenkamp taking a gap and accelerating en route to the tryline to touch down under the posts, for a 10-9 lead. The teams exchanged penalties shortly after, but the Cape side made a breakthrough in the 63rd minute as Theo Boshoff scored a try, while Steenkamp added his second penalty to seal a 23-12 victory for the team. Steenkamp’s two penalties, two conversions and try earned him a personal total of 15 points.

The clash between the Pumas and Sharks was epic, with a win to the Sharks 26-23.

At the Coca-Cola Academy Week, the Golden Lions staged a strong second-half comeback in their clash against the Sharks to recover from a 17-8 halftime deficit and win the match 29-22, while Eastern Province overcame a tough challenge by Namibia to win 17-15.

The Sharks touched down for the first time in the ninth minute, and added another shortly before the break, while they also slotted over a penalty. They supported this with a solid defensive effort, which saw the Lions score only one try and a penalty.

The Lions, however, came out firing in the second half as they stepped up their attack and tightened their defence, which earned them three back-to-back tries to inflate their score to 29. The Sharks refused to give up and scored their third try of the match on the stroke of fulltime to go down 29-22. — Sport24.

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