THERE was another good day of rugby at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on the second day of the 49th Craven Week. It ended with a very close encounter between historically two of the top sides in the country, Blue Bulls and Western Province.
An amazing first half saw the lead change five times and Province leading 27-26 at the break. There had been seven tries scored with some magnificent running and handling by both teams. The young Blue Bulls had scored four tries, prop and captain Pierre Schoeman (Affies), centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg (Waterkloof), wing Marcus Kleinbooi (Affies) and prop Dayen van der Westhuizen (Centurion), with three converted by flyhalf Ryno Eksteen (Affies) to three by WP, eighth man Rikus Bothma (Paarl Gym), fullback Jason Worrall (Paul Roos) and hooker Chad Solomons (Paul Roos), all three converted and two penalties by South African under 19 flyhalf Handre Pollard (Paarl Gym).
The second half did not produce the scintillating running of the first half and it was only with 15 minutes remaining that the first points were scored. This produced a purple patch for the Bulls as they ran in three converted tries in the space of six minutes to take the game away from Province. Centre Jurie Linde (Affies), fullback Jaco Hayward (Centurion) and Kleinbooi with his second, all converted by Eksteen, gave Bulls a 47-27 win. Scrum half Justin Phillips (Waterkloof,) who had set up some of the tries and made some telling tackles and box kicks, was awarded the “Chosen One” of the match.
Earlier, the Griffons had made a late charge to close the gap against Pumas who had stormed ahead to 24-31, but the Pumas then scored two tries at the death to win 48-24. Two Country Districts sides, Griquas and Eastern Province, had a tight tussle, with EPCD winning 28-27. Other scores on the second day were Zimbabwe 31- Border CD 9 and SWD 46 - Limpopo 18.
KZN play the Golden Lions as the final game this afternoon.