The third day of the U18 SA Rugby Craven Week and SA Rugby Academy Week delivered another gripping round of rugby action at Grey College in Bloemfontein on Thursday, with a wave of tries resulting in high scores in many encounters.

Only two of the eight teams in action in the U18 SA Rugby Craven Week on Wednesday, in what marked their second round of matches, remained unbeaten, namely the SWD Eagles and DHL Western Province. Interestingly, only two of the teams scored less than 30 points on the day.


The rugby on the third day of the SA Rugby Academy Week was also red-hot, with big scores dominating a day’s play in which only three of the 14 teams in action on Wednesday remained unbeaten – the Limpopo Blue Bulls, Pumas CD and DHL Western Province.

The Limpopo Blue Bulls were particularly impressive on attack, scoring 50 points against the DHL Western Province XV, while six other teams registered scores of 30 points or more.

U18 SA Rugby Craven Week match summaries:

DHL Western Province took advantage of a red card to the Bizhub Free State Cheetahs 14 minutes into what was expected to be one of the main match-ups of the day to power their way to a 51-14 victory. The home side were down to 14 men for 56 minutes of the game, and this provided the extra space for the Capetonians to ease their way through the defence, which saw them touch down seven times.

DHL Western Province held a 20-0 lead at halftime and they continued their dominance in the second half to stretch their score to 51 points. Their scrumhalf Bobby Alexander scored a brace, while Kade Wolhuter (flyhalf) kicked four conversions and two penalty goals.

The Phakisa Pumas were in fine form against the Leopards as they delivered a balanced display for a rewarding 54-19 victory. Their forwards and backs made their presence felt and this paid off as they scored an impressive eight tries, seven of which were converted.

The Lowvelders’ flankers, Stirling Jaarse and Chyle van Zyl, scored two tries each, and they backed this up with a solid defensive effort to limit their opposition from North West to three tries. 

The clash between the SWD Eagles and Cell C Sharks was also a high-scoring affair, with the George team surviving a determined second-half fightback by the KwaZulu-Natalians for a 39-31 victory. SWD got on the scoreboard early with two tries in quick succession, and they continued to dominate throughout the half, which saw them cruise to a 33-5 lead.

But the Cell C Sharks staged a dramatic comeback in the second half as they retained possession and showed patience on attack, while they tightened up their defence. This saw them score 26 points in the second half to outscore their opponents five tries to four, while they limited the SWD Eagles to six points after the break. SWD’s two penalty goals, however, proved crucial in the result.

A strong first half by Boland paved the way for their 36-31 victory against NWU Valke, with a conversion and penalty goal proving to be the difference on the scoreboard in the end. Boland started the clash well and built up a 17-5 lead, and this proved to be invaluable as the East Rand side fought back with intent in the second half.

Boland centre Roann Jansen crossed the chalk twice, while Nathan Engelbrecht (flyhalf) contributed a try, four conversions and a penalty goal. NWU Valke No 8 Franco Enslin was the star performer for his team, as he earned a hat-trick.

U18 SA Rugby Craven Week Day Three results (Wednesday, 3 July):

Phakisa Pumas 54-19 Leopards

Boland 36-31 NWU Valke

SWD Eagles 39-31 Cell C Sharks

Bizhub Free State Cheetahs 14-51 DHL Western Province

U18 SA Rugby Craven Week Day Four fixtures (Thursday, 4 July):

09h30 – Unitrans Limpopo Blue Bulls v Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions XV (A Field)

11h00 – EP Elephants v New Vaal Griquas (A Field)

12h30 – Thepa Trading Griffons v Assupol Blue Bulls XV (A Field)

14h00 – Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions v Border (A Field)

15h30 – Assupol Blue Bulls v DHL Western Province XV (A Field)

SA Rugby Academy Week match summaries:

The Limpopo Blue Bulls banked their second win of the tournament as they defeated the DHL Western Province XV 50-31, with their seven tries to five and their accurate goal-kicking proving valuable. A red card for the Cape side, however, didn’t assist their cause.

The Limpopo outfit raced to a 36-7 halftime lead, and they built on this as the match progressed, although the DHL Western Province XV deserve credit for their spirited second-half fightback. Nathan van den Heever (centre) touched down twice for the Capetonians, while Zander Deridder (flyhalf) scored a try, six conversions and penalty goal for 20 points. 

DHL Western Province produced a smooth performance against the Cell C Sharks to earn a rewarding 41-19 victory. The team’s finishing was good and they scored seven tries – two each by Dalvon Bradley Blood (centre) and Duran Rayn Koevort (wing) – while they leaked three.

Such was the high quality of the Cape side’s first-half performance, they boasted a 29-7 halftime lead. The Cell C Sharks tried hard to force their way back into the match, but DHL Western Province proved too classy in the end.

Eastern Province dominated from the outset against Old Mutual Zimbabwe and built up an impressive 31-12 halftime lead en route to their 43-19 victory. The young men from the Eastern Cape did well to capitalise on their try-scoring chances and their efforts earned them seven tries – with two by Darrion Edwards (scrumhalf) – while the Zimbabweans to three.

The Pumas CD also maintained their good form with the side overcoming a tough first half against Eastern Province CD for a 41-21 victory. The Mpumalanga outfit held a slender 15-13 halftime lead, but they found their rhythm on attack after the break to increase their try tally to six, while they limited Eastern Province CD to three tries.

Donovan Theart, who played scrumhalf for the Pumas CD team, proved to be a key figure, scoring a try, four conversions and a penalty goal for a rewarding 16 points.

Hosts, the Free State Cheetahs, overturned a 19-17 halftime deficit against Boland thanks to a gutsy second-half showing to register a 45-26 victory.

The Free Staters scored six tries – with centres Franco Knoetze and Zane Bester each crossing the chalk twice – while Francois van Rooyen (flyhalf) had a good day with the boot, scoring six conversions and a penalty goal. Boland tried hard to make their presence felt and earned four tries for their efforts, but the home side had too much firepower. 

The Sharks CD secured their first victory of the tournament as they delivered a strong performance for a convincing 30-5 victory against Border CD, scoring three tries to one. The first half was tight as they held a narrow 10-5 lead, but Ruan Muller (flyhalf) played a vital role in keeping the scoreboard ticking as he converted all the tries and kicked two penalty goals and a drop goal for 15 points.

The clash between the Blue Bulls and Leopards was a tight tussle with neither team giving an inch, but the Pretoria side prevailed in the end winning 19-15.

In a closely fought first half the Blue Bulls scored a converted try and limited the Leopards to a penalty goal, and this proved vital as both teams scored twice in the second half. Blue Bulls centre Niel Beukes scored a brace and kicked two conversions, while Leopards flyhalf Stephan Van Niekerk scored all of his team’s points compliments of two tries, a conversion and penalty goal.

SA Rugby Academy Week Day Three results (Wednesday, 3 July):

Blue Bulls 19-15 Leopards

Border CD 5-30 Sharks CD

Limpopo Blue Bulls 50-33 DHL Western Province XV

Pumas CD 41-21 Eastern Province CD

Eastern Province 43-19 Zimbabwe

Free State Cheetahs 45-26 Boland

DHL Western Province 41-19 Cell C Sharks

SA Rugby Academy Week Day Four fixtures (Thursday, 4 July):

08h00 – Namibia v Griquas (A Field)

08h00 – Thepa Trading Griffons CD v SA LSEN XV (B Field)

09h20 – Griquas CD v SA LSEN (B Field)

10h40 – Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions XV v Blue Bulls XV (B Field)

12h00 – Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions v SWD Eagles (B Field)

13h20 – Border v Thepa Trading Griffons (B Field)

14h40 – Valke v Phakisa Pumas (B Field)