Craven Week - Blue Bulls 48 - 25 Border
In a match where everybody expected the Bulls to overpower Border with their massive players, Boland surprised everybody with their tactics. This proved to be the correct way to play the Bulls but unfortunately the smaller Border could not keep up their effort the whole match. It must be said that the score does not reflect the play on the field. Border was a better side than that reflected on the score board.
The teams for the match were interesting. Border chose their team 15-1 and 16-23 as originally announced, presumably their first choice side. By contrast the Blue Bulls used all their 16-23 players in their starting line-up, presumably preserving their first-choice players for what they imagined were sterner opponents to come.
The Blue Bulls got their clash against Border off to a flying start as they ran hard on attack, which earned them three tries in the first 27 minutes. They supported this with a solid defensive effort, and limited Border to scoring only a penalty in the first half, for a 19-3 lead. Border, however, showed their fighting spirit as they scored two tries in two minutes almost immediately after the break to force their way back into the match. Both teams showed intent on attack as the match progressed, but while the Pretoria side converted their chances to score four more tries, unforced handling errors denied Border from adding to their score. This forced them to settle for a 48-15 defeat.
Craven Week - Golden Lions 59 - 26 SWD
This match will be remembered as the Wandisile Simelane show.
The Golden Lions were in fine form from the outset in their clash against SWD as they showed innovation and skill on attack, which set them up for a striking 59-26 victory. The Lions ran hard at the George side and supported this with slick handling and solid support play, while they also did well to sneak through the gaps in the defence.
The Lions ran riot in the first half to lead 40-12 at the break, and while SWD put up a better fight in the second half, they still conceded another four tries.
The Lions combination of flyhalf Tyrone Green and centre Wandisile Simelane was instrumental as they set the field alight on attack, with Simelane securing the man-of-the-match award after a hat-trick of tries and seven conversions for a personal total of 29 points. In stark contrast SWD battled to get to their hands on the ball in the first half, while they tried hard to make their presence felt in the second half, but mistakes at crucial times cost them dearly.
Craven Week - Free State 68 - 26 Valke
The Free State, meanwhile, overcame a strong first-half challenge by the Valke to cruise to a 68-26 victory thanks to a remarkable 11 tries. The first half was tight as the Valke hit back after trailing 13-0 to take a 26-23 lead at the break. But the Free State hit their straps and ran riot on attack to score seven second-half tries, while they denied the Valke from adding to their score.
The first time on day two we witnessed a back line who let the ball do the work. Sublime handling and play at full pace was exhibited, which deservedly produced tries of a high quality.
Craven Week - Leopards 26 - 24 EP CD
The Leopards dominated much of the opening minutes. Poor handling and infringements by the Leopards kept EP CD in the game during the first half. When the match did get going after a poor ten minutes it was clear that defence was not a priority by both sides.
This game will be remembered, if at all, as a scrappy affair with both sides giving away easy penalties and no defence.
Waves of attacks by Eastern Province Country Districts in the dying minutes were not enough as Leopards' defence stood the test and survived the onslaught. This Leopards was relieved when the referee Jaco Pretorius disallowed the try of EP CD, judging the last pass as forward, in the dying seconds of the match.
Academy Week - Boland 20 - 14 Free State
In the last match of the day, Boland and the Konica Minolta Free State were involved in a tight tussle, with each team having two strikes at the goal posts in a hard-fought first half. While the Free State’s efforts were unsuccessful, Boland took full advantage of their penalty goals to take a 6-0 lead at the break.
Boland opened up the second half with back-to-back penalty goals and then scored the first try of the match in the 51st minute compliments of Wihan Burger to take a comfortable 17-0 lead. But Konica Minolta Free State struck back with two converted tries in 11 minutes to work their way onto the scoreboard. A fifth successful penalty goal by Boland, however, guaranteed them a 20-14 victory.
Academy Week - Blue Bulls 57 - 15 Eastern Province
The Blue Bulls made their intentions clear early on against Eastern Province with the first of their five first-half tries being scored in the fifth minute. Such was the quality of the Pretoria side’s performance, they built up a convincing 31-5 lead at the break. They continued this impressive form in the second half, which allowed them increase their try tally to nine for a 57-15 victory. To Eastern Province’s credit, they tried hard to force their way into the match and scored two second-half tries for their efforts, but the strong start by the Blue Bulls left the Port Elizabeth side with a mountain to climb.
Academy Week - Leopards 53 - 31 Limpopo Blue Bulls
The Leopards registered a solid 53-31 victory against the Limpopo Blue Bulls after a competitive first half in which the Potchefstroom side took a narrow 18-17 lead. The Leopards, however, took control of the match in the second half and used their point-scoring chances well to add five tries to their tally, which inflated their score to 53.