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Thirteen-man WP hold their nerve in dramatic coastal clash

WRAP: Western Province was among the big winners on an eventful opening day at the Under-18 Craven Week staged at Hoërskool Monument in Krugersdorp.

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Twenty-nine tries were scored in the four games on Monday.

Four teams – WP, South Western Districts, the Falcons and Boland – surpassed the 30-point mark.

WP started well in their battle against the Sharks, but the complexion of the game changed after the KwaZulu-Natalians scored a converted try in the 60th minute and reduced the deficit to four points.

The Sharks’ chances of completing a comeback victory received a further boost after two WP players were shown red cards for separate foul-play offences.

But the 13-man WP side held its nerve in the closing stages, and flyhalf Yaqeen Ahmed slotted two late penalties to seal a 36-26 win.

Ahmed finished the game with a personal tally of 21 points.

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Earlier in the day, SWD edged the Falcons in a 12-try thriller, with wing Lee-win Pretorius scoring a brace.

After trailing at half-time, the Eagles powered their way to a 41-34 win.

Boland played with plenty of attacking intent in their clash with the Leopards.

Flyhalf Luan Giliomee slotted five conversions and two penalties to consolidate his team’s lead, while the Leopards scored three late tries to add some respectability to the final scoreline of 41-21.

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Eastern Province racked up 18 first-half points to take charge of the Eastern Cape derby against Border.

The Bulldogs clawed their way back into the contest after half-time before EP kicked a couple of penalties to secure a 24-18 victory.

The tournament will continue Tuesday, with the Western Province XV taking on Griquas in the first match.

The Golden Lions, the hosts of this year’s competition, will tackle local rivals the Blue Bulls in the final match of the day.

Day One results:

South Western Districts 41 (17) beat Falcons 34 (19)
Boland 41 (17) beat Leopards 21 (0)
Eastern Province 24 (18) beat Border 14 (7)
Western Province 36 (16) beat Sharks 26 (14)

Tuesday, June 25, fixtures

10.00: WP XV v Griquas
11.30: Pumas v Limpopo Blue Bulls
13.00: Free State v Griffons
14.30: Blue Bulls v Golden Lions

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