The Sharks, Blue Bulls and SWD on Wednesday stood out as the top teams in an entertaining second round of the Under-16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week at Paarl Gymnasium, as they registered vital victories to emerge as the top contenders to contest the final match of the tournament on Friday.
The Sharks defeated Boland 10-5, while the Itec Blue Bulls held their nerve to secure a 35-31 victory against the Bidvest Golden Lions and SWD ran in an impressive seven tries for a 39-7 victory against the Leopards.
The Sharks defended like demons to shut out an over-eager Boland side in the first half, who created several try-scoring chances but battled to convert them into points due to errors at crucial times. The Sharks, meanwhile, showed composure and a calmness on attack and defence, which they supported with a strong counter-attack. But with Boland showing heart on defence, the Durban side scored the only points of the first half compliments of a penalty goal.
The Sharks came out firing in the second half and their efforts paid off with a well-worked try for a 10-0 lead seven minutes after play resumed. But Boland hit back with a try eight minutes before the final whistle to keep alive their hopes of a victory. These hopes, however, were dashed as neither team was able to add to their score.
The Itec Blue Bulls, meanwhile, were firmly in control in the first half against the Bidvest Golden Lions as their forwards and backs combined well, while they backed this up with solid support play. This effective performance earned them four first-half tries to only two by their Gauteng counterparts for 25-14 halftime lead.
The Blue Bulls added their fifth try shortly after the break to extend their lead, but the Golden Lions fought back with intent to score three tries in 14 minutes to reduce the deficit, but a handy penalty by the Pretoria team three minutes before the final whistle inflated their lead sufficiently to hold on for the 35-31 victory.
SWD, meanwhile, were in fine form from the outset in their clash against the Leopards and scored their first of four-first half tries in the eighth minute as they used their skills and speed to outplay the Leopards.
The George side led 17-7 at the break and they continued to build on this momentum in the second half to add their more tries to take their tally for the match to seven. The Leopards, meanwhile, battled to make their presence felt and had to settle for a 39-7 defeat.
Hosts, DHL Western Province, meanwhile, bounced back strongly from their round-one defeat against neighbours, Boland, by registering a convincing 29-7 victory against Griquas, while the DHL Western Province XV beat the Konica Minolta Free State 34-14.
Western Province showed promise on attack early on in their clash against Griquas as they worked their way close to the tryline on a few occasions, but were shut out by the determined defensive effort. They finally broke through for their first try in the 24th minute and earned another five minutes later, which added to a an early penalty goal, handed them a 15-0 lead at the break.
The team built on this momentum in the second half and added two more tries to stretch their lead to 29-0. Griquas hit back with a late try to go down 29-7.
In the other matches, Eastern Province defeated the Griffons 16-6, the Limpopo Blue Bulls registered an emphatic 46-0 victory against Border CD, the Pumas cruised to a 32-7 victory against Namibia while the Valke beat Old Mutual Zimbabwe 20-12 and Border overpowered Boland XV 42-0.
U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week day two results (Wednesday, 6 July):
|Border CD||0||-||46||Limpopo Blue Bulls|
|Free State||14||-||34||WP XV|