Free State scored a deserved 39-17 victory over the Blue Bulls in a thrilling encounter on day two of Craven Week. There were also wins for the Falcons, Pumas, Limpopo and Zimbabwe.
SARU’s Communications manager Rayaan Adriaanse compiled all match reports.
Free State (7) 39 Blue Bulls (10) 17
It was a “Grey” day for 2006 champions the Blue Bulls as they were put to the sword by a Free State team whose squad contains no less than 16 players from SA’s most famous rugby school – Grey College. The scores changed hands several times but Free
State showed a killer instinct that saw them score whenever they needed. The Blue Bulls led 10-7 at half-time after a pulsating first half in which both teams created an array of chances. Free State started briskly, taking the ball nicely through the phases and showing some deft touches, especially with getting the ball away in contact. They opened the scoring when lock Pieter Labuchagne completed a powerful forward drive to score in the corner and flyhalf Josias Ebersohn added the conversion to give his team a 7-0 lead. The Blue Bulls replied with a penalty by flyhalf Francois Brummer before hard working hooker Eduan Neeb gave them the lead with a strong drive over the Free State line. Brummer converted to give his side a three point cushion at the break. After missing three penalty attempts before the break Ebersohn rediscovered his touch to level the scores at 10-all early in the second half. The flyhalf then gave his team the lead with another penalty in the 47th minute and Free State went further ahead after the ball had been turned over on halfway to send fullback Wilton Pietersen on a run down the left. Pietersen kept his
cool to deliver the scoring pass to winger Mayibuye Ndwanda. Centre Josias Ebersohn scored try that turned the game in Free State’s favour, ghosting through after a scrum in the Bulls 22. His twin brother Josias converted to move the score to 25-10.
Enjoying territory and possession, Free State went further ahead in the 60th minute when fullback Pietersen rounded off after a sweeping move down the right. Ebersohn added the conversion to make it 32-10. The Bulls pulled a try back via winger
Yondela Stampu but Free State had the final say when centre Hadley Smith rounded off after an up and under by Ebersohn had the Bulls defence scampering. The flyhalf converted the final two scores for a comprehensive win
Pumas (25) 60 vs Border (8) 27
The Pumas produced the biggest win of the tournament so far, running in eight tries to four for a comprehensive 60-27 win over Border. After a bright start, Border struggled as the stronger Pumas pack gained the ascendancy to provide quality
possession for the talented backline to play with. This produced three spectacular tries in the 10 minutes before the break. The first came after 40m sprint by fullback Corne Janse van Vuuren, the next by centre Chris Botha after a great break by his midfield partner Bongi Luvuno inside the Border 22, and the third after the forwards had turned over possession in their own half to send speedy winger Deon Helberg on a run from halfway. Two of the tries were converted by flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff, who had earlier kicked two penalties, to give the Pumas a 25-8 halftime lead. Border’s first half points came via a try by wing Logan Basson and a penalty by centre Bradley Kretzman. Within ten minutes of the restart, the Pumas had added a further three tries, scored by Helberg, Botha and impressive outside centre Luvuno and converted by Boshoff to move the score to 53-8. This sparked Border into action and they replied with three well taken tries by fullback Kholo Ramashala, flank Sihle Mtwa and wing O Joyi, two of which were converted by Helberg, to trail 27-53 with four minutes to play. The Pumas had the final say, however, when Botha sailed in for his hat-trick after a quick tap penalty on the Border 22. Boshoff converted to complete the rout.
Falcons (10) vs Griquas (0)
The Falcons weathered a late comeback by Griquas to hold out for a 13-12 win in an entertaining clash between two evenly matched teams. The Falcons drew first blood when scrumhalf De Wet Le Roux went over for a try in the third minute. Flyhalf
Dewald Nel added the conversion. There were few opportunities for either side in a tight contest but the Falcons did enough to force two penalties, one on either side of the break, and both kicked by Nel, to lead 13-0. Griquas made better use of their
possession in the second spell, creating momentum by effectively getting their loose forwards to run onto the ball in broken play. This created the opening for their first points, a try by flanker Jamie Zwiegelaar after the ball had been taken through numerous phases. The try was not converted. Griquas finished the stronger of the two sides and spent most of the final quarter inside the Falcons half of the field. They were rewarded when flanker Byron Booysen scored a try, converted by fullback Andrew van Wyk, to leave them just a point adrift with three minutes to play. Despite several more spirited attacks at their line, the Falcons defence stood firm for a precious win.
Limpopo (12) 34 vs Namibia (0) 5
Limpopo had too much firepower for a passionate, but under-powered Namibian team, recording a satisfactory 34-5 win. Limpopo scored the first try of the match in the 12th minute when winger Alec Mhlanga went in under the posts after a superb solo
effort that saw him run 40m to the line after breaching the advantage line and dummying the cover defence with some clever sleight of hand. Flyhalf Morne Archer converted. The Limpopo lead was extended on the stroke of halftime when fullback
Nhlangamiso Sibanda finished off a great backline move that swept across the width of the field. Namibia pulled a try back five minutes after the break when flanker Theunis Jacobs went over after some solid forward play. Flyhalf Yarman Cloete, who
had a bad day with the boot, was unsuccessful with the conversion. Limpopo continued to dominate, however, and it was not long before their stronger pack had done the hard yards to create a further three tries. The first was scored by loosehead prop
Trevor Nyakane, who was not going to be stopped after taking the ball at pace just inside the 22, and the next by centre Johan Engelbrecht after some good work by the pack. Wing Mhlanga, later voted the Man of the Match, got the third and
flyhalf Archer added two conversions to stretch the Limpopo lead to 31-5. With four minutes to play, Archer succeeded with his team’s first penalty attempt at goal to complete a comprehensive victory.
Zimbabwe (3) 11 vs Border CD (3) 6
Zimbabwe scored the only try of the game to record a narrow 11-6 win over Border Country Districts. The win delighted the sizeable group of Zimbabwe supporters who had made the 2000 kilometer journey to the Cape. The teams were tied at 3-3 at the
break after a tight first half that saw neither team gain the ascendancy. Zimbabwe opened the scoring in the 11th minute with a penalty by fullback Raymond de Jong and Border CD leveled matters when flyhalf Angile Jita kicked a penalty in the 20th
minute. Border CD took the lead through a penalty by centre Jason Kaschula shortly after the break but de Jong drew them level with his second penalty as the game entered its final quarter. Border CD were reduced to 14 men after lock Albert
Stanley was yellow-carded and Zimbabwe made the most of the extra man to create a decisive try, also scored by de Jong, 15 minutes from the end. The match was characterised by a litany of missed penalties by both sides – each missing three attempts at posts.
Fixtures for Wednesday 11 July
11h30 Eastern Province vs Leopards
12h50 Griffons vs Boland
14h00 SWD vs KZN
15h30 Western Province vs Lions