Gauteng Youth Weeks continue to entertain
The SA Rugby Girls U18 Week kicked off on an action-packed note at Jeppe High School in Johannesburg on Tuesday, while the Learners with Special Education Needs (LSEN) Week delivered another thrilling round as the competition nears its conclusion at the Isak Steyl Stadium in Vanderbijlpark.
The opening day of the SA Rugby Girls U18 Week was characterised by big victories and skilful play, with Border, Border CD, the Pumas and hosts the Golden Lions registering convincing wins, while LSEN Week hosts, the Valke and Valke XV, Eastern Province and Western Province remained the only unbeaten teams in Vanderbijlpark.
In the Girls Week for U18s, DHL Western Province, who were the top team last season, started their tournament off on a winning note with a 15-5 victory against SWD, with three second-half tries – two of which were scored by Nomphelo Bokwe – earning them the victory. The Cape side ran hard on attack and forced the George team to defend for most of the match, and their patience on attack paid off.
Border were also in fine form against Limpopo, with their hard running, skilful attack and solid defence steering them to nine tries – with a hat-trick by Amahle Khohliso – and a rewarding 57-7 victory. Limpopo tried hard to make their presence felt throughout the match, but they were shut out by the committed Border defence.
The Golden Lions put on a good performance for their home crowd as they showed innovation on attack and backed this up with solid support play to register a 59-0 victory against Free State. Such was the high quality of their play they scored nine tries, while they denied the Bloemfontein outfit from scoring.
Border CD also got their campaign off to a strong start as they snuffed out the gaps in the defence and did well to retain possession and apply pressure on the Leopards, which earned them an impressive 10 tries and a 64-0 victory.
The Pumas were equally dominant in their clash against the Griffons which paid off with a 48-19 victory. The girls from Mpumalanga ran in eight tries, with Londiwe Mashinini earning a brace, while they limited the opposition to three, which were all scored by Shoti Mohalali.
Zimbabwe made a strong account of themselves as they beat the Blue Bulls 24-5 thanks to their ability to make the most of their try-scoring chances. The Blue Bulls showed promise on attack throughout the match, but the strong Zimbabwean defence kept them at bay.
A strong first-half by Eastern Province, meanwhile, guided them to a 17-0 victory against Griquas with all three of their tries being scored in the first half. Griquas tried hard to fight back in the second half and they tightened up their defence, but they were unable to break through the solid defence.
The clash between Boland and the Sharks was closely-fought from the outset as both teams gave everything on attack and defence, and in the end the Western Cape side’s five tries to the Durbanites’ four secured them a 27-22 victory.
In the LSEN Week, the Valke held on for a narrow 27-26 victory against the Blue Bulls to continue their solid form in a match in which the teams were closely matched on attack and defence. Both sides touched down four times, but a successful penalty goal proved to be definitive in home team’s win.
The Valke XV defeated Free State 21-7, as Farai Moyo scored two of their three tries. The home side crossed the tryline twice in the first half to take a 14-0 lead, and they managed to add another in a tightly-fought second half.
DHL Western Province got out of the blocks quickly in their match against their Western Cape neighbours Boland, as they led 19-0 at the break before extending their try tally to five – two of which were scored by Tsetse Kawaya – for their 36-19 win. Boland showed their fighting spirit after the break to score three times, but it was not enough.
Eastern Province fought their way back from a three-point deficit against the Pumas to win 32-15, after drawing their opening game on Monday, thanks to their five tries to two by the Mpumalanga side.
The Griffons bounced back from their opening round defeat with a fantastic performance as they outscored the Sharks nine tries to two for a comprehensive 53-10 victory, with Jean Pierre Geldenhuis scoring a hat-trick.
The Golden Lions also registered their first win as they overturned a 15-8 halftime deficit against the Leopards to secure a 35-24 victory, with a brace by Mendes Vangu and a fine kicking performance by Mazizi Mpolongwana, who slotted over three penalty goals and three conversions, proving vital.
SWD, meanwhile, outplayed the Golden Lions EE 75-3 after building up a 40-0 lead at the break, with three of their 11 tries being scored by Hartnick Marx, while Keano Brown scored one try and kicked eight conversions for a personal total of 21 points.
The U16 girls will be back in action on Wednesday, as their 18 counterparts have the day off, while the LSEN teams will have Wednesday off to recover before battling it out in the final day of the tournament on Thursday.
SA Rugby Girls U18 Week results (Tuesday, 26 June):
SWD 5-15 DHL Western Province
Leopards 0-64 Border CD
Boland 27-22 KZN
Griffons 19-48 Pumas
Border 57-7 Limpopo
Eastern Province 17-0 Griquas
Free State 0-59 Golden Lions
Zimbabwe 24-5 Blue Bulls
LSEN Week day two results (Tuesday, 26 June):
Griffons 53-10 Sharks
Golden Lions 35-24 Leopards
SWD 75-3 Golden Lions EE
Eastern Province 32-15 Pumas
Valke XV 21-7 Free State
Valke 27-26 Blue Bulls
Boland 19-36 DHL Western Province
SA Rugby Girls U16 Week day two fixtures (Wednesday, 27 June):
10h00 – Border CD v Griffons
10h00 – Eastern Province v Border
11h15 – Limpopo v SWD
11h15 – Leopards v Golden Lions
12h30 – Western Province B v Griquas
12h30 – Pumas v Free State
14h20 – Western Province v Blue Bulls
15h35 – KZN v Boland
LSEN Week day three fixtures (Thursday, 28 June):
09h00 – SWD v Valke XV
09h00 – Pumas v Leopards
10h20 – Golden Lions v Griffons
10h20 – Sharks v Golden Lions EE
11h40 – Eastern Province v Free State
13h00 – Boland v Blue Bulls
14h20 – Valke v DHL Western Province