The Blue Bulls cemented their reputation as the best team at the 41st Coca-Cola Under-13 Craven Week when they came from behind to beat Western Province 19-8 (halftime 5-8) in the final match of the tournament played at Grey College in Bloemfontein.
Apart from the Bulls, the only other team to record four wins over the five days were Griquas, who kept their unbeaten record intact with a nail-biting 13-10 win over the Valke in the main curtain-raiser. There were also wins on the final day for Border, Pumas, EP, Border Country Districts, Leopards, Free State and Boland.
In what proved to be a highly competitive tournament, no fewer than 13 of the 18 competing teams won two or more matches. Surprisingly, the Lions lost all four of their games while KZN could manage only one win. Hosts Free State finished off the Week on a positive note with back-to-back wins after suffering consecutive losses in the opening two days’ main matches.
On a perfect winter’s afternoon, WP, who boasted perhaps the player of the tournament in eighthman Zakareeyah Salie, drew first blood in the final when lock Philip van Dyk crashed over in the fourth minute. Flyhalf Henry Chamberlain missed the conversion but was on target five minutes later with a penalty to give his side an 8-0 lead.
The Blue Bulls began their fightback on the stroke of halftime when loosehead prop Gerhard Bierman dotted down to cut the deficit to three points. Flanker Divhan du Preez and scrumhalf Johan Mulder then scored converted tries with five minutes of each other to give the boys from Pretoria a lead they defended without conceding another score.
Friday’s Results – Day 4 (Grey College):
Border (5) 15 – Tries: Keith Kroutz, Cody Els, Andre Rust.
Limpopo (5) 10 – Giniel Kock, Allie Sefole.
Pumas (24) 43 – Tries: Dolf Rossouw, Juane Coetzee, Khanya Gama, Manga Ntimba, Ryno Beukes, Stefan Krieg, Stephan van der Bank. Conversions: Trent Askew (4).
KZN (5) 5 – Try: Dylan Richardson.
EP (17) 20 – Tries: Shane Pote, Waqar Solaan. Conversions: Johan Lombaard (2). Penalties: Lombaard (2).
Namibia (3) 3 – Penalty: Delron Brandt.
Border CD (7) 15 – Tries: Solibanzi Nkonzo, Deda Mfundiso. Conversion: Vuyo Mriti. Penalty: Mriti.
Griffons (0) 5 – Try: JW Viljoen.
Leopards (12) 17 – Tries: Edward Mokgwetsi, Leander du Plessis, Steven Rossouw. Conversion: Louis van Schalkwyk.
Free State (12) 17 – Tries: Ronaldo Davids, Johan Wilken, Dillan Schultz. Conversion: Schultz.
Lions (0) 12 – Tries: James Msimango, Ruché Bergsma. Conversion: Henry Sinclair.
Boland (0) 22 – Tries: Francke Horn, Mbulelo Giba (2). Conversions: Keagan Lee Whitten (2). Penalty: Whitten.
SWD (12) 12 – Tries: Ricaldo Steyn, Dawid Meiring. Conversion: Pieter Uys.
Griquas (7) 13 – Try: Desmond Jacobs. Conversion: Rikus Pretorius. Penalties: Pretorius (2).
Valke (10) 10 – Try: Luke de Beer. Conversion: Lionel Ueckermann. Penalty: Ueckermann.
WP (8) 8 – Try: Philip van Dyk. Penalty: Henry Chamberlain.
Blue Bulls (5) 19 – Tries: Gerhard Bierman, Divhan du Preez, Johan Mulder. Conversions: Werner Nel, Charles Goedhals.
Thursday’s Results – Day 3 (Free State Stadium):
Zimbabwe 0-34 Free State
Pumas 7-10 Namibia
Border CD 19-5 Lions
Border 5-24 Leopards
Limpopo 0-22 Griffons
Boland 22-12 EP
Griquas 11-5 KZN
Blue Bulls 28-5 SWD
Valke 0-17 WP
Tuesday’s Results – Day 2 (Grey College):
Lions 7-12 EP
Limpopo 0-15 SWD
Pumas 7-19 Griffons
Border CD 0-10 Griquas
Valke 8-7 Boland
Leopards 0-45 WP
Zimbabwe 5-36 Namibia
Blue Bulls 34-10 Border
Free State 12-26 KZN
Monday’s Results – Day 1 (Grey College):
Namibia 0-36 Griquas
Griffons 0-15 Boland
KZN 3-18 Valke
Zimbabwe 0-56 Leopards
EP 6-31 Blue Bulls
Lions 8-10 Border
WP 36-5 Pumas
Limpopo 14-12 Border CD
Free State 10-15 SWD