Sport

UNDER-18 RUGBY

Blue Bulls and Western Province to contest Craven Week final after day four action

Blue Bulls and Western Province to contest Craven Week final after day four action
Abri van der Westhuizen of the Blue Bulls scores a try during their match against SWD on day four of the SA Rugby under-18 Craven Week at Rondebosch Boys High School in Cape Town on 7 July 2022. (Photo: Ashley Vlotman / Gallo Images)

The unofficial Craven Week final will take place on Saturday afternoon with home side Western Province taking on their northern rivals Blue Bulls.

Western Province and the Blue Bulls are the only undefeated sides left in Craven Week, with Province beating Border on Monday and the Sharks on Wednesday, while the Blue Bulls dismissed the Lions on Monday and showed their strength against South Western Districts on Thursday. 

Day four action 

Meanwhile, the Bulls’ Jukskei neighbours, the Lions, thoroughly outplayed  Free State 30-22, despite the close scoreline at the under-18 Craven Week on Thursday. 

The first match of the day on the Tinkie Heyns field at Rondebosch Boys High School in Cape Town saw the Limpopo Blue Bulls do just enough to get past a spirited Leopards side 24-17. 

In the second match, the Pumas ran rampant against the Griffons, who could not get out of third gear. The Pumas were more abrasive and dominated the collisions as they thumped the disjointed Griffons 48-18. A brace from winger Hendrik Smit helped secure the result. 

Free State and the Lions met in the third match of the day after both teams lost their first matches on Tuesday to South Western Districts and the Blue Bulls, respectively. It was the Lions who came out 30-22 victors after a second-half blitz. 

With the rain drizzling down intermittently, extravagant rugby was never on the cards. Nonetheless, both teams secured a well-executed try by their outside backs. Right-winger Jermairon Ruiters scored for Free State while fullback Sibongokuhle Kapank scored for the Lions. 

Kapank converted from the touchline as well as putting a penalty over the sticks to make the halftime score 10-8 to the Lions. 

A piece of individual brilliance shortly after the break by scrumhalf Deon Groenewald opened the floodgates for the Lions as the rain began to subside. Groenewald broke through from just inside Free State’s half, leaving defenders in his wake. He proceeded to chip-kick the ball over the last defender’s head and regather it himself to help stretch his team’s lead to 17-8. 

Kapank slotted another penalty shortly before a brilliantly executed maul try, scored by hooker Ruan Welman. 

Trailing 30-8, Free State struck back via a penalty try after the Lions collapsed a maul on its way to the tryline. 

Centre Ulrich Wahl proceeded to score a consolation try with the last play of the game as the match ended 30-22. 

David vs Goliath

The Blue Bulls met South Western Districts in the main match on Thursday. The pouring rain didn’t stop the rampant Bulls side as they made light work of SWD, who had beaten Free State two days before. 

The Bulls dominated the contact area as the free-running SWD never really had a foot in the game. 

SWD got the first points of the match through the boot of fullback John-Taylor Strydom. However, that was all the points the team from the Southern Cape would accrue in the first 35 minutes. 

An utterly dominant first half by the Blue Bulls saw them scoring 24 unanswered points. They got the ball rolling in the same fashion as they have all week, going over for their fifth rolling maul try in the space of two days — hooker De Wet Lottering reaping the rewards. 

No 8 Abri van der Westhuizen got the second shortly after the first as the Blue Bulls forwards surged towards the line and Van der Westhuizen was at the right place at the right time. 

SWD began to string a few phases together, but couldn’t get much leeway as the Blue Bulls’ defence continued to smother them. The pressure to score mounted, leading to a wild, long pass that was excellently intercepted by outside centre Demitre Erasmus who went over untouched, darting away for more than 50m. 

craven week bulls swd

Jacobus Stephanus Jacobs Nel of the Blue Bulls and Camden-Jay Schoeman of SWD on day four of the SA Rugby under-18 Craven Week at Rondebosch Boys High School in Cape Town on 7 July 2022. (Photo: Ashley Vlotman / Gallo Images)

Flyhalf Stephanus Heymans was in excellent form with the boot once again — he had a 100% kicking record against the Lions on Tuesday — as he converted all four of his team’s tries as well as slotting two penalties. 

“It’s just practice every day with my dad and I don’t want to miss this week,” said skipper Heymans to Daily Maverick. Heymans has kicked at goal 12 times this week and has seen all 12 sailing over. 

The second half kicked off with the Blue Bulls going to their famous rolling maul once again, and once again Lottering benefited from the effort of the rest of his pack. 

SWD wouldn’t leave without putting up a fight as they showed the power of their own pack when tighthead prop Michael Lamont forced his way over the line at close quarters to make it 31-10. 

Sharpshooter Heymans put another penalty over from the resulting kick-off as the score moved to 34-10.

SWD kept fighting and had the final say as they scored a try from another rolling maul, pushing the final score to 34-15. 

“It was tough with the conditions. It was never going to be easy but we knew it was going to be a big one,” said man-of-the-match and scrumhalf Jacobus Nel. DM

Day four score summary: 

Limpopo Blue Bulls 24 (12) – Tries: Odrediretse Rathokolo (2), Carl Dohse, Joy Ngobeni. Conversions: Tristan Brits (2).

Leopards 17 (5) – Tries: Teboho Sekonyela, Zandro Coetzee, Erich Snyman. Conversion: Erich Snyman. 

Pumas 48 (19) – Tries: Rinkals Smit (2), Fumaani Chauke, Grant de Jager, Danny van Staden, Philasande Ntshapela, Tyron Moolman, Francois Odendaal. Conversions: Hardus Visser(4).

Griffons 18 (3) – Tries: Jayleigh Arends, Ruben Kruger, Kaleb Kriek. Penalty: Ronaldo Kiewiet. 

Lions 30 (10) – Tries: JT Kapank, Deon Groenewald, Ruan Welman. Conversions: Kapank (3). Penalties: Kapank (3).

Free State 22 (8) Tries: Jermairon Ruiters, Ulrich Wahl, Penalty try. Conversion: Bradley Giddy. Penalty: Giddy. 

Blue Bulls 34 (24) – Tries: De Wet Lottering (2) Abrie van der Westhuizen, Demitre Erasmus. Conversions: Stehan Heymans (4). Penalties: Heymans (2). 

South Western Districts 15 (3) Tries: Michael Lamont, Ramon Uys. Conversion: JT Strydom. Penalty: Strydom

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