DHL Western Province showed their class in the SA Rugby Academy Week on Saturday to emerge as the top side in the tournament for the second year in a row as they defeated Border 45-17 in the final match.
The victory saw them finish the tournament as one of four unbeaten sides, along with the Phakisa Pumas CD, the Limpopo Blue Bulls and the Valke.
The tournament once again delivered on the excitement factor, with 392 tries and 2609 points being scored over the 42 games in five days.
SA Rugby Academy Week match summaries:
Both DHL Western Province and Border entered the closing match of the competition unbeaten, but a seven-try romp by the Capetonians saw them outclass the East London outfit 45-17.
The first half was hard fought, with DHL Western Province taking a narrow 12-10 lead, but they moved into a higher gear in the second half, with Luke Burger (winger) and Canan Moodie (centre) each scoring braces, while Jandre Burger (flyhalf) had a good day with the boot, slotting over five conversions.
The Valke were in control of their clash against the Free State Cheetahs, which saw them build up a 31-21 lead en route to their 43-33 victory.
The East Randers’ flanker Bishop Mohono and Duane Bloem (centre) each scored twice, accounting for four of the team’s seven tries, while Jason Edwards (fullback) scored a try and kicked four conversions in a valuable display. The hosts tried hard to finish the tournament on a high note in front of their home crowd, but they could only score five tries, which left them short.
The EP Elephants saved their best form for last as they blew the Phakisa Pumas off the park to cruise to a memorable 80-7 victory. Such was their superiority they eased their way to a 59-7 halftime lead and they built on this in the second half to increase their try tally to 12 – with Cadan-wade Phillenzo Finnis (centre) accounting for four of those and Shemondrey Alex Hannes (wing) two. They supported this solid attack with water-tight defence, which limited the opposition to a single try.
Griquas CD hit their straps in the second half against Border CD to earn a rewarding 59-15 victory, after finding themselves 17-15 ahead at the break. Their superb attacking form saw them score an impressive 11 tries, while they backed this up with solid defence to deny the opposition from adding to their score in the second stanza. Griquas CD lock Hansie Fourie was in top form, scoring a hat-trick, while Shane Alexander (fullback) scored a brace and kicked two conversions.
The Cell C Sharks came out firing against SWD and continued to stamp their authority throughout the match for a solid 59-24 victory. Nine different players scored tries for the KwaZulu-Natalians in a fantastic team display after the side took an encouraging 26-5 halftime lead, while they limited SWD to four tries – two of which were scored by Berthal September (flyhalf).
An impressive eight tries by Griquas – with braces by lock Llewellyn Stadler and centre Jesse-Owen Denation – allowed them to overturn a 24-22 halftime deficit against the Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions XV for a 58-37 victory. The teams ran hard at one another in the first half, resulting in a tight affair, but Griquas found their rhythm in the second half and managed to finish the tournament on a winning note.
A stunning four tries by SA LSEN flyhalf Abbey Seseane and a brace by Ashley Gentle (No 8) steered the side to a convincing 50-22 victory against the SA LSEN XV.
The SA LSEN team were in hot form in the first half as they dominated on attack and rounded off their chances well to take a 38-7 halftime lead and the finished the match with an impressive eight tries. They faced tough resistance from the opposition after the break as they forced their way over the chalk three times, but it was a case of too little too late for them.
A strong second half by Thepa Trading Griffons CD saw them power their way to a 38-17 victory against EP Elephants CD, outscoring their opponents six tries to two.
The Eastern Cape outfit held a narrow 10-5 lead at the break, but Thepa Trading Griffons CD had too much firepower for them in the second stanza. AJ Botha (centre) scored twice for the victors, while EP Elephants CD fullback Anton van der Mescht tried hard to keep his team in the game with a try, two conversions and a penalty goal.
Two penalty goals by Leopards flanker Stiaan Loots proved to be the difference on the scoreboard in their 30-24 victory against the DHL Western Province XV in a competitive clash. Both teams crossed the tryline three times with successful conversions, but Loots’ kicked three penalty goals to one by the Cape side, which handed them the edge. Interestingly DHL Western Province XV inched 21-17 ahead at halftime, but they were unable to hold onto this in a tough second half.
The traditional international between Namibia and Old Mutual Zimbabwe was hard-fought, but Namibia’s effective goal-kicking allowed them to sneak through for a 20-15 victory.
The teams entered the break level on 10-10, and they continued to throw everything at one another in the second half, but Namibia’s two conversions and two penalty goals by Geraldo Beukes (flyhalf), to only one penalty goal and conversion by their African counterparts, sealed the win.
Boland edged the Blue Bulls 26-23 thanks to their four tries to two, with Carlton Pieterse (flyhalf) accounting for two of the Winelands’ team’s tries and three conversions. The clash was close from the outset, with Boland holding a slender 14-10 lead at the break.
The Blue Bulls battled to breach the defence, but they forced their way into the match with three penalty goals. This, however, still left them short on the scoreboard.
The Limpopo Blue Bulls wrapped up a successful tournament with their third win in as many games as they beat the Thepa Trading Griffons 37-26 thanks to their five tries to four. The Limpopo outfit started well and took a 20-12 lead at the break, and they continued to take their chances, with Junior Mnisi (winger) scoring two tries and Zander Deridder (flyhalf) kicking three conversions and two penalty goals to keep the scoreboard ticking.
A strong second-half showing by the Blue Bulls saw them bounce back from 21-15 down against their Gauteng neigbours, Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions, for a 36-28 victory. The teams were closely matched and it showed with the Pretoria side scoring five tries to four by the Jozi team. Blue Bulls winger Gopolang Makena scored two of his tries, while Ian Trollip (flyhalf) also made a valuable contribution with four conversions and a penalty goal, which kept the scoreboard ticking.
Phakisa Pumas CD held their nerve in a tightly-fought encounter against Cell C Sharks CD for a narrow 15-7 victory, which saw them finish the competition undefeated. The boys from Mpumalanga built up a 10-0 halftime lead, but they were only able to add five points in the second half and the opposition seven. Such was the closeness of the match, only three tries were scored.
SA Rugby Academy Week Day Five results (Saturday, 6 July):
Namibia 20-15 Old Mutual Zimbabwe
Griquas CD 59-15 Border CD
EP Elephants CD 17-38 Thepa Trading Griffons CD
Cell C Sharks CD 7-15 Phakisa Pumas CD
SA LSEN 50-22 SA LSEN XV
EP Elephants 80-7 Phakisa Pumas
Boland 26-23 Blue Bulls XV
Griquas 58-37 Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions Academy
Free State Cheetahs 33-43 Valke
Cell C Sharks 59-24 SWD
Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions 28-36 Blue Bulls
Leopards 30-24 DHL Western Province CD
Limpopo Blue Bulls 37-26 Thepa Trading Griffons
DHL Western Province 45-17 Border