GARETH DUNCAN watched Free State rally to a 56-32 victory over the Pumas in day one’s feature match at the U18 Craven Week on Monday.
Last year’s unofficial champions eased to victory in their opener in Kimberley with seven tries. Flyhalf Pieter Jordaan, younger brother of Baby Boks centre and Springbok Sevens rookie Paul Jordaan, was the star of the game as crossed the chalk four times with an impressive all-round individual performance. Wings Francois Pretorius and Jannie Strumpher, and inside centre Jan Serfontein dotted down too while skipper Dries Swanepoel also excelled with several linebreaks that created scoring opportunities.
Free State showcased a great attacking display with their expansive approach while Strumpher kicked 21 points via six conversions and three penalties to seal a convincing victory.
The Pumas managed to keep within touch in the early moments of the first half as lock Jacques du Plessis (who was the outstanding forward of the match) put them 10-7 ahead after a promising start. But poor goal kicking and defensive lapses at crucial periods saw them struggle in the second stanza.
The Grey College contingent of Pretorius, Jordaan and Serfontein secured a 24-15 advantage at the break before Free State ran rampant in the second half, scoring 36 points.
The Free State U18s proved they have the talent to replicate last season’s achievements, but head coach Dirkie Groenewald will need to ensure his players work on their discipline ahead of their next fixture on Wednesday.
Free State 56 Pumas 32
Free State – Tries: Francois Pretorius, Jan Serfontein, Jannie Strumpher, Pieter Jordaan (4). Conversions: Jannie Strumpher (6). Penalties: Strumpher (3).
Pumas – Tries: Kwagga Smith, Anele Blaauw, Jan Visser, Jeremia Gouws, Willem du Plessis. Conversions: Tyrone Pienaar, Jacobus Wolmarans. Penalties: Pienaar.