The U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week got off to a thrilling start at Grey College in Bloemfontein Monday (10 July) with a mixture of big wins and gripping encounters characterising the opening day’s play.
The Free State, Griffons, Limpopo Blue Bulls, SWD and Western Province registered the biggest scores of the day in the U16 Coca-Cola Craven Week.
Hosts, the Free State dominated their clash against Zimbabwe completely to earn a 71-19 victory, while the Griffons registered a comprehensive 69-13 victory against Border CD, the Limpopo Blue Bulls defeated the Valke for a 48-19, SWD beat the Pumas 39-23 and Western Province outplayed the Blue Bulls 36-17.
Free State came out firing in their clash against Zimbabwe as they dominated upfront and ran riot on attack with their speedy backs, which saw them take a 45-0 halftime lead. Despite this Zimbabwe refused to give up and scored three times after the break, but they were unable to stop the orange machine from continuing their fantastic attacking form. The home team scored 12 tries in total for a 71-19 defeat.
The Griffons started the tournament with a bang as they delivered an impressive performance all round to cross the chalk 11 times, en route to their 69-13 victory against Border CD. Griffons winger Mpho Ntsutle and No 8 Keke Morabe each scored a hat-trick in what was a memorable start to the tournament.
The Limpopo Blue Bulls also showed their class on attack and they did well to capitalise on their try-scoring chances, which earned them an impressive eight tries, while they leaked only three to secure their 48-19 victory.
SWD also showed their mettle against the Pumas as they delivered a solid performance in all facets of their game to register a 39-23 victory, with five tries to three by the Mpumalanga side. SWD No8 Hendrick Victor and Pumas winger Michael Dlamini each scored a brace for their teams in the match.
Western Province, meanwhile, overcame a tight first quarter against the Blue Bulls in which the teams were level at 14-14 and found their rhythm on attack to cross the tryline five times in total to power their way to a 36-17 victory.
In the closer encounters, Border fought hard against the Golden Lions and did well to apply pressure and work their way into the opposition’s half at crucial stages, which allowed them to outscore the Johannesburg outfit four tries to two for a 24-13 victory. Both the Lions’ tries were scored by centre Henco van Wyk.
Namibia on the other hand staged a strong second-half fightback from 17-14 down against the Leopards at halftime to score five tries to three by the Potchefstroom side for their 31-23 victory.
Eastern Province had the upper hand against the Free State XV in the first half and they capitalised on this for a 13-3 lead. But the home team fought back in the second half and matched Eastern Province’s three tries in the match, while Free State also earned a penalty for a 24-21 victory.
The clash between Boland and Griquas was nail-biting as each team scored two converted tries in the match, but the difference on the scoreboard in the end was a crucial penalty goal by Boland.
KZN, meanwhile, snatched a 15-14 victory in the last minute of their clash against the Western Province XV, with a penalty goal and conversion to two successful conversions by the Cape side handing them the edge on the scoreboard.