GARETH DUNCAN watched KZN deliver a better second half display in a 23-21 win over WP in day two’s feature match at the U18 Craven Week.
WP qualified for the Craven Week unofficial final in the past two seasons, winning one of them against Free State in 2009. However, this year’s class lacked the quality and physical presence of their predecessors as they we’re outclassed for most parts of the match.
Late tries against the run of play added respectability to the scoreline, and while KZN contributed to a scrappy first half, the boys from Durban were clearly the best drilled team after the break.
WP started off on a positive note as a strong rolling maul saw skipper Sikumbuzo Notshe drive over for an early try. But KZN hit back through influential flyhalf Robert du Preez, who broke the Province defence from close range. Wing Siyabonga Tom missed the resulting goal kick from right in front, which allowed WP to stay ahead.
Both teams displayed poor finishes to the first half because of numerous handling errors and lineout problems, and WP held on to their slender advantage.
KZN came out more composed in the second half and rallied into a 20-7 lead thanks to outside centre Tyler Fisher and hooker Jacques Taylor. WP created late drama at the death with two converted tries, but Tom’s six points with the boot was enough to seal the win.
WP 21 KZN 23
WP – Tries: Graig Corbett, Kyle Lombard, Sikumbuzo Notshe. Conversions: Handre Pollard (3).
KZN – Tries: Jacques Taylor, Robert du Preez, Tyler Fisher. Conversions: Siyabonga Tom. Penalties: Tom (2).