SA Academy beat SA Schools 30-24 in the curtain raiser at Loftus on Saturday afternoon. Simon Borchardt reports.
It’s the second year in a row that the Academy side has beaten their supposedly stronger opponents.
The Golden Lions were by far the best team at Craven Week this year, yet had just one player included in the SA Schools starting XV. After watching today’s game, the Lions players will feel even more hard done by.
SA Schools initially dominated up front and scored their first try after nine minutes when No 13 Petrus Vermeulen went over in the right hand corner.
Having already missed a long-range attempt at goal, SA Academy flyhalf Burton Francis opted to put a kickable penalty into touch. The Academy boys won the line-out, sent the ball out wide and right wing Wynand Willis brushed side two poor tackles to level the scores.
Francis then slotted a penalty from 45m out to give the Academy side a 8-5 lead with 10 minutes to go before the break.
SA Academy spent the first five minutes of the second half deep in SA Schools’ territory and were rewarded with a try when a perfectly timed pass put fullback Johan Jackson into space. Replacement flyhalf Ruan Boshoff missed the conversion, but was successful with a penalty soon after which gave the Academy side a 16-5 lead.
Then came a try-scoring frenzy.
SA Schools winger Aubrey McDonald went over to reduce the deficit to six points, before SA Academy No 11 Ghalliel Markus hit back with a try of his own.
McDonald then grabbed his second to make it 23-17, before Willis crossed the line again to restore the Academy’s 13-point lead.
Replacement Vincent Gwavu dived over just before the full-time hooter, to add some respectibility to the final score, but it was the Academy boys who threw their hands into the air at the final whistle.
SA Schools – Try: Petrus Vermeulen, Aubrey McDonald (2), Vicent Gwavu. Conversions: Stefan Watermeyer.
SA Academy – Tries: Wynand Willis (2), Johan Jackson, Ghalliel Markus. Penalty: Burton Francis, Ruan Boshoff. Conversion: Boshoff.
SA Schools: 15 Christopher Mickelwood (KZN), 14 Aubrey McDonald (EP), 13 Petrus Vermeulen (Griquas), 12 Stefan Watermeyer (Bulls), 11 Charlton Prinsloo (SWD), 10 Andre Smith, 9 Marlon Lewis (EP), 8 Dewald Potgieter (c, EP), 7 Pieter Meyer (Bulls), 6 Conraad Britz (SWD), 5 Malungisa Nkozi (Lions), 4 Hendik Root (Leopards), 3 Josephus Oosthuizen (Free State), 2 Divan Kapp (Pumas), 1 Zander de Kock (Falcons)
Subs: Edgar Marutiulle (Leopards), Riacco Eiland (Griquas),
SA Academy: 15 Johan Jackson (Leopards), 14 Wynand Willis (Bulls), 13 Senzo Sibiya (KZN), 12 Jacobus Pienaar (Lions), 11 Ghalliel Markus (Lions), 10 Burton Francis (Leopards), 9 Grant Paulse (Boland), 8 Ockert Kruger (Bulls), 7 Kirwan Frieslaar (EP), 6 Johan van Deventer (c, Lions), 5 Mthunzi Mabeta (Bulls), 4 Marnus van Huyssteen (Lions), 3 Frederick Kirsten (Bulls), 2 Michael Lockyer (WP), 1 Henri van Eedveldt (Bulls)