The SA Rugby Youth Weeks kicked off in spectacular fashion on Monday with a barrage of tries in Bloemfontein and Johannesburg where the Learners with Special Education Needs (LSEN) Week and the Under-16 SA Rugby Girls Week were held at High School Sentraal and Jeppe Boys High respectively.
The Sentraal crowd were treated to five tries by SWD centre, Keano Brown, who also slotted over five conversions, in his team’s romp over Boland, while the U16 SA Rugby Girls Week delivered no less than 60 tries in the eight matches played.
The action will resume on Tuesday, when the Under-18 SA Rugby Girls Week will start in Johannesburg, with round two of the LSEN Week playing out in Bloemfontein.
LSEN Week day one summary
The tournament kicked off in sizzling fashion, with 14 tries scored in the opening match between the Griffons and Sharks. The Welkom side had too much skill and power for their opponents, winning 69-17, after leading 45-12 at the break.
The Griffons scored 11 tries to three, with their No 8 Simon Binkatabana earning four tries and MC Jacobs (flyhalf) and Abbey Seseane (centre) two a piece respectively. The Sharks had no answers, although No 8 Splelele Charmane will be happy with his efforts, which bagged him a brace.
The Valke got their campaign off to a strong start, beating the more fancied Blue Bulls 38-13. This was due to a great second half, with their backline running riot, scoring four tries to none.
The Blue Bulls held a slender 13-10 lead at the break, but two tries by Juan van den Heever (scrumhalf) and one each from Rivano do Amaral (fullback) and Kenan Grond (wing) resulted in a commanding score.
The Golden Lions EE team’s hopes of outplaying fellow provincial outfit, Gauteng XV, were unsuccessful as they were defeated 29-0 on Sentraal’s B-field.
The Gauteng XV scored three second-half tries to pull away for a solid win, after leading 5-0 at the break. Three were scored by speedy fullback, Eddie Barns, with Peter Mienanzambi (centre) getting the fourth.
A running game was always on the cards in the match between Boland and SWD, and it did not disappoint with 14 tries scored in the match. Of the nine scored by the Eagles in their 59-29 win, no less than five came from Keano Brown. The midfielder’s five conversions pushed his personal tally to 35 points in the match. Winger Leroy Kiewiet was also full of running, scoring a brace.
Boland were up against it from the start and trailed 5-35 at the break. Their second half effort was a bit better, aided by a hat-trick from No 8 Elgerno Smith, with fellow looseforward, Henrico Jansen, also earning two.
The clash between the Golden Lions and Leopards had the spectators in suspense until the very end.
The Gauteng team prevailed 26-24, but few will fault the comeback by the North West side.
Trailing 26-12 at the break, they came back to score the only two tries in the second half, but fell just short with their final effort. Three tries by scrumhalf Lesego Seikaneng and another by Miquel Engelbrecht (no 8) almost proved enough, but a penalty try to the Golden Lions proved the difference in the end.
The DHL Western Province team opened their tournament with a solid, but hard-fought 34-18 win over Eastern Province.
The WP side had to come from behind and did so in spectacular fashion. They trailed 15-10 at the break following a quick-fire brace by EP flanker, Nando Kemp, but they scored four tries without reply to storm to victory. It was a good all-round performance by the Western Cape side and they will be tough to beat in the remainder of the tournament.
The Free State Cheetahs started like a wild fire in their match against Pumas, scoring four unanswered tries and a 24-0 lead in the opening half.
That effort did not last however and the Mpumalanga side crawled their way back into contention.
They scored three tries of their own in the second half, but the Bloemfontein team held out to win their opening match 24-15, much to the delight of the home crowd.
LSEN Week day one results:
Valke 38-13 Blue Bulls
Gauteng XV 29-0 Golden Lions EE
Griffons 69-17 Sharks
SWD Eagles 59-29 Boland
Golden Lions 26-24 Leopards
DHL Western Province 34-18 Eastern Province
Free State 24-15 Pumas
LSEN day two fixtures – Tuesday, 18 June 2019
09h00: Free State Cheetahs v Leopards
10h20: Gauteng XV v Eastern Province
11h40: Boland v Blue Bulls
13h00: DHL Western Province v Griffons
14h30: Valke v SWD
09h00: Sharks v Golden Lions EE
10h20: Golden Lions v Pumas
SA Rugby Under-16 Girls Week summary:
In the SA Rugby U16 Girls Week, the Pumas started their campaign with a strong 39-10 win over Leopards. They held a 29-5 lead at the break, and although the Leopards’ defence firmed up in the second half, the Pumas side could muster two more scores for a solid win. Snethemba Mkhoza (lock) and Nonhlanhla Ngwenya (fullback) scored a brace each.
The Limpopo Blue Bulls had the better of their counterparts from Griquas, beating them 36-12.
The northern side scored six tries to two and dominated the match from early on, holding a 24-5 lead at the break. Industrious lock, Vaina Ubisi, was rewarded with two tries.
The early morning action was set alight with the hosts’ performance, as the Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions had way too much firepower for the Griffons and scored nine tries in their 53-0 win. The Griffons, however, deserve credit for overcoming their first-half jitters, which saw them concede 39 points, with the side delivering a better performance in the second.
A hat-trick by flanker, Kathlego Legodi, and a brace by flank partner, Tanya Shava, indicated the impact they had in the match.
There was another hat-trick on offer when the Free State Cheetahs outplayed the Valke 29-10. The Free State No 8, Rachel Kock, dotted down three times against her Gauteng opponents, with winger Kgomotso Maisela also getting a brace in the five try romp.
The Free Staters held a 17-0 lead at the break, but the second half was more even, with both teams getting two tries a piece.
DHL Western Province delivered a strong second half performance against Border Country Districts to show their intent at the tournament, winning 40-0.
The Cape side scored two tries in the first half for a 12-0 lead, but then pulled away in the second, as they found their rhythm and their combinations started to click.
Border was impressive in their 41-22 win over SWD Eagles. It was a tight match throughout, but the stronger start by Border helped them winning the match.
They held a 29-12 lead at the break and in the end outscored their opponents six tries to four. Four of those were converted by Sne Maliwa, while SWD could only convert one of theirs.
The Blue Bulls had too much in the tank for Boland, winning 41-7. They held a 24-0 lead in the first half and built on that for a convincing win.
The Blue Bulls have a solid all-round game and will be hard to stop if they continue with this style of play. They had six different try-scorers, showing the threat they pose.
The final match of the day proved to be the most competitive, with Eastern Province getting the better of Kwa-Zulu-Natal for a 22-14 win.
It was a tight affair in the first half, with both teams scoring twice with KZN benefitting from a penalty try, but EP held onto a 17-14 lead going into the break.
The second half delivered few scoring chances, but when Johnerecia Booysen (fullback) was offered one, she scored the try that eased her team to victory.
SA Rugby Girls U16 Week day one results:
Pumas 39-0 Leopards
Limpopo Blue Bulls 36-12 Griquas
Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions 53-0 Griffons
Free State Cheetahs 29-10 Valke
Blue Bulls 41-7 Boland
Border 41-22 SWD
DHL Western Province 40-0 Border CD
Eastern Province 22-14 KwaZulu-Natal
SA Rugby U18 Girls Week fixtures, Tuesday 18 June
10h00 – Griquas v Blue Bulls (A-field)
10h00 – Border v Limpopo Blue Bulls (B-field)
11h15 – Free State v Pumas (A-field)
11h15 – Golden Lions v Griffons (B-field)
12h30 – Boland v Leopards (A-field)
12h30 – Border CD v SWD (B-field)
14h25 – Eastern Province v Western Province (A-field)
15h40 – KwaZulu-Natal v Zimbabwe (A-field)