KZN outclassed by Bulls

2013-07-09 00:00

THE premier school rugby event, the Coca-Cola Craven Week, began yesterday in Polokwane, Limpopo.

This is the 50th year of the ­annual U18 tournament, named after the legendary rugby coach Danie ­Craven, but it is the first time it is being held in Limpopo.

The 18 SA sides and two non-SA sides — Namibia and Zimbabwe — will each play three matches during the week, culminating in naming a squad of players to take part in trials to name an SA U18 team.

Zimbabwe were impressive in a ­35-17 win with five tries against the Griquas in the first game of the week.

Western Province are another team who look full of promise, coming from behind to beat the Pumas.

KZN had a difficult task of playing the Blue Bulls, with their imposing pack, in their first game. The teams went into the half-time break deadlocked at 17-17, but the Blue Bulls showed their class in the second half to secure a comfortable 46-22 victory.

The Bulls dominated the lineouts with two towering locks, RG Snyman (Affies) and Hyron Andrews (Garsfontein), both over two metres tall.

In open play, both sides missed tackles and the handling was not as good as expected at this level.

At half-time the score was 17-17, with the Bulls having scored three tries to a penalty and two tries by KZN.

KZN had the wind behind them in the first half, but it was the Bulls that took better advantage of it in the second half.

Luck was against KZN, with one close try not being awarded and then having a dubious penalty try awarded against them.

KZN struggled to get their hands on quality ball and the lineouts turned out to be a nightmare with KZN showing little innovation to help overcome the tall Bulls.

For the Bulls, their outstanding centre combination of Franco Naude (Garsfontein) and Jurie Linde (Affies) stood out, but the foundation was laid by some good forward play. They were strong in the setpieces and backed it up with good consolidation at the breakdown.

No 8 Ayron Schramm (Kearsney) made a break in midfield and thundered over for the opening try. The Blue Bulls hit back almost immediately when SA Schools centre Linde showed good pace to get over for a try, which reduced the gap to 7-5.

A penalty from flyhalf Tristan Tedder (Kearsney) saw KZN 10-5 ahead, but the match was level at 10-10 soon afterwards when the two Blue Bulls locks combined well for Andrews to get over for a try.

The team from Pretoria grabbed the lead when a well-worked backline move saw right wing Jade Solomons (Garsfontein) dive over for their third try. KZN came straight back when Schramm got over for his second try on the stroke of half-time, and when Tedder added the conversion the sides were locked at 17-17.

The Bulls struck first in the second half when a broken tackle in midfield saw Linde go over for his second try, and that was followed up by a penalty try when KZN wing Morne Joubert (Glenwood) was shown a yellow card for tackling a player without the ball. Cover was coming across and it was doubtful whether a try would have been scored.

KZN again hit back with a try of their own when replacement No 8 Jacobus Coetzee (Glenwood) stole the ball at the breakdown and got it away to flank Mzwandile Mazibuko (Glenwood), who raced away to score.

A penalty from scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl (Affies) gave the Blue Bulls a little breathing room before late tries from inside centre Naude and Van Zyl on the stroke of full-time sealed the 46-22 victory.

There are another five matches ­today. The fixtures for tomorrow and Thursday will be announced after the completion of the matches on the first two days to match teams on a strength vs strength basis. Friday is a rest day and all teams then play their last matches on Saturday, with the final game between the two sides that have looked the strongest from their first two matches.

Yesterday’s results: Zimbabwe 35 Griquas 17; Border 38 Namibia 20; Western Province 40 Pumas 24; Blue Bulls 46 KZN 22; Limpopo 26 Boland 31.

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