U21: Bulls at home as Lions sneak in
The Blue Bulls at the weekend booked an invaluable home semifinal in the Under-21 provincial championship.
The Blue Bulls at the weekend booked an invaluable home semifinal in the Under-21 provincial championship, while the Golden Lions delivered a fine performance to snap up the last semifinal berth in an exciting finish to the round-robin stages.
Log-leaders Western Province will host the Golden Lions in Cape Town in their semifinal this weekend, while the Blue Bulls will take on the Sharks in Pretoria in the other play-off match.
In the weekend's games Western Province thumped the Sharks 51-24 in Durban, the Blue Bulls pipped Free State 29-27 in Bloemfontein and the Golden Lions annihilated Border 76-6 in Johannesburg.
Sharks 24-51 Western Province
In Durban Western Province bounced back from an early try by the Sharks to dominate the half and build up a morale-boosting 34-5 lead at the break. In total Western Province scored four tries in the opening 40 minutes, with flyhalf Tim Swiel scoring one and converting all four successfully, while also adding a penalty to his tally.
The Sharks fought back strongly in the second half, with fullback Sean Robinson scoring the first try of the half to reduce the deficit. But this was undone soon after as back-to-back five-pointers by Western Province nudged them to a 50-point score. The Sharks, however, fought until the death to finish the match strongly with two tries in the last 10 minutes, which earned them a bonus point for their efforts.
The defeat for the Sharks, however, came at the cost of a possible home semifinal, as they finished one point behind the second-placed Blue Bulls on the log standings.
Tries: Meikle, Meyer, Matsushima, Robinson
Cons: Campbell 2
Tries: Barry, Kotze 2, Ackerman, Coetzee, Swiel
Cons: Swiel 6
Pens: Swiel 3
Sharks: 15 Sean Robinson, 14 Kotaro Matsushima, 13 Garath Robert Meikle, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Alcino Marchiano Izaacs, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Guy Alexander, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Khaya Majola, 5 Wade Dean Elliot, 4 Wiehan Hay, 3 Nico Van Dyk, 2 Franco Marais (captain), 1 Allan Dell.
Replacement: 16 Gregory Bauer, 17 Marné Coetzee, 18 David Allan Fisher, 19 Dylan Mike Nel, 20 Hanco Venter, 21 Duncan Campbell, 22 Michael Rudger Gerhardus Bernardt.
Western Province: 15 Craig Barry, 14 JP Lewis, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Patrick Howard, 11 Devon Williams, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Frederik Jean Nel, 8 Rayn Smid, 7 Sikumbuzo Notshe, 6 Joshua Katzen (captain), 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Justin Ackerman, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Oliver Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Jacobus Christoffel Etienne Swanepoel, 18 Ruan Botha, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Godlen Masimla, 21 Dillyn Leyds, 22 Juan Janco Gunter.
Free State 27-29 Blue Bulls
The Free State produced a competitive performance in their clash against the Blue Bulls despite trailing 20-12 at half time.
The visitors, however, held their nerve despite Nardus van der Walt receiving a yellow card to hold onto their two-point lead for the victory and a resultant home semifinal. Three tries by the Blue Bulls to only two by the Free State in the opening 40 minutes earned the visitors an encouraging lead.
The second half was tightly fought as the teams threw everything at each other, with the Free State, in particular, beginning to find their rhythm. Tries by the home team's Kevin Luiters and Tienie Burger to add to a penalty by captain Niel Marais allowed the team to come within range of winning the match.
But an unsuccessful penalty attempt in the last minute dashed the Bloemfontein team's hopes of a victory. The Blue Bulls meanwhile added two penalties and a drop goal to their score after the break thanks to flyhalf Kobus Marais.
Tries: Luiters, Claassen, Griesel, Burger
Cons: Marais 2
Tries: Engelbrecht, Van Wyk, Ismaiel
Pens: Marais 3
Free State: 15 Kevin Luiters, 14 Maputha Dolo, 13 Tertius Kruger, 12 Niel Marais (captain), 11 Francois Pretorius, 10 Noel Marx, 9 Stephen Griesel, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Neil Claassen, 4 Wikus Davis, 3 Philip Rudolf Botha, 2 Ockert du Toit, 1 Chase Wayne Morrison.
Replacements: 16 Wickus Deysel, 17 Carl van Heerden, 18 Pieter Matthee, 19 Henco Greyling, 20 Kay-Kay Hlongwane, 21 Pieter Gerhard Morton, 22 Leroy Bitterhout.
Blue Bulls: 15 Jacques Nelius Rossouw, 14 Kefentse Seshego Mahlo, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Travis Ismaiel, 10 Kobus Marais, 9 Carlo Engelbrecht, 8 Nardus van der Walt, 7 Wiaan Liebenberg (captain), 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Dennis Visser, 4 Irne Philip Herbst, 3 Hencus van Wyk, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Justin Forwood.
Replacements: 16 Ruan Steenkamp, 17 Andrew Beerwinkel, 18 Clyde Davids, 19 Shaun Adendorff, 20 Andre Riaan Warner, 21 Dries Swanepoel, 22 Jade Kyle Stighling.
Golden Lions 76-7 Border
The Golden Lions were in fine form in their clash against Border as they ran in a total of 12 tries to only one by the visitors for their impressive 76-7 victory.
Such was their dominance they built up a 38-7 lead at the break, while they balanced this with a brave defensive effort, which left the opposition scoreless in the second half.
The result will give the Johannesburg team confidence as they prepare for their semifinal against Western Province, who have suffered only one defeat in 12 matches this season.
Tries: Engledoe 2, Booysen, Vorster, Nel, Erasmus 2, Schmidt, Torrance, Lerm, De Wit 2
Cons: Van der Walt 3, Schmidt 5
Golden Lions: 15 Marais Schmidt, 14 Peter-John Walters, 13 Jacques Jehan Nel, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Damian Courtney Engledoe, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ruan Janse van Rensburg, 8 Ruaan Lerm (captain), 7 Fabian Booysen, 6 Stephan de Wit, 5 Jean-Pierre Du Preez, 4 Lourens Erasmus, 3 Nico Visser Du Plessis, 2 Mark Pretorius, 1 Devon Martinus.
Replacements: 16 Rikus van Niekerk, 17 Henri Boshoff, 18 Deucullen van der Merwe, 19 David Jacobus Oosthuizen, 20 Albertus Stephanus Smith, 21 Matt Torrance, 22 Hanco Deale.
Border: 15 Duane Adams, 14 Stephan Phuti Kekana, 13 Riaan Van Zyl, 12 Etienne Taljaard, 11 Shaun Nieuwenhuyzen, 10 Hendri Christian Rust, 9 Ryan Carmichael, 8 Stephan Deyzel, 7 Fanelesibonge Sikhumbuzo Sifiso Zwane, 6 Claude Jason Johannes, 5 Johan Wagenaar, 4 Siya November, 3 Nhlanhla Ngcamu, 2 Jan Hendrik Botha, 1 Johannes le Roux du Plooy.
Replacements: 16 Nicol du Plessis, 17 Siphesihle Praisegod Ngubane, 18 Marlyn Williams, 19 Ernst Ladendorf, 20 Dillon Smit, 21 Lukhanyo Am, 22 Leroy Afrika.
Standings (under headings games played, won and points):
Western Province - 12 - 11 - 54
Blue Bulls - 12 - 8 - 41
Sharks - 12 - 8 - 40
Golden Lions - 12 - 7 - 36
Free State - 12 - 6 - 31
Leopards - 12 - 2 - 15
Border - 12 - 0 - 3
Top point scorers:
146 - Tim Swiel (four tries, 39 conversions, 15 penalties, one drop-goal)
140 - Marais Schmidt (five tries, 32 cons, 17 pens)
108 - Robert du Preez (four tries, 23 cons, 14 pens)
98 - Ashley Esau (three tries, 31 cons, seven pens)
96 - Ruan Allerston (33 cons, 10 pens)