GARETH DUNCAN watched KZN thrash Free State 48-24 in the U18 Craven Week day one feature match in PE.
There was much spoken about the Blue Bulls, WP and SWD heading into this year’s tournament, but KZN made a strong statement as they ripped into 2011 unofficial champions Free State.
The schoolboys from Durban ran in seven tries in a convincing attacking display. Fullback Jesse Kriel was the star with ball in hand as the chief playmaker, with clever passes and breaching the opposition’s defensive line regularly. He was later named Man of the Match. His influence, along with great interplay among backs and forwards, saw the Sharks surge into a 36-3 half-time lead.
Wing Bruce Arnott grabbed a brace as he showed good finishing skills to sneak into the corner on two occasions. Locks Daniel du Preez and Justin Moberly, and Kriel also crashed over. Flyhalf Rob Anderson completed the first-half rout by slotting four conversions and a penalty.
Free State struggled to build continuity on attack and were poor on defence. They only managed a penalty through skipper Pieter Jordaan.
KZN weren’t as convincing in the second half as they only managed two more tries through wing Corne Vermaak and Kriel. This allowed Free State to score three consolation tries via No 8 Edward Schmidt, prop Othello Sebotsha and fullback EW Viljoen.
Nevertheless, it was evident in this match that KZN could be the team to beat for the 2012 unofficial champion crown.
Free State – 15 EW Viljoen (Grey College), 14 Olwethu Ndakisa (Louis Botha), 13 Pieter Jordaan (Grey College, c), 12 Stephan Janse van Rensburg (Grey College), 11 Lee-hane Ontong (President Steyn), 10 Luke Cyster (Louis Botha), 9 Juandré van der Berg (Sentraal), 8 Edward Schmidt (Grey College), 7 Stefan Kruger (Sentraal), 6 Refiloe Rampeta (Louis Botha), 5 Dillon Harlen (Grey College), 4 Awie Thompson (Grey College), 3 Ruan Kramer (Grey College), 2 Corniel Els (Grey College), 1 Ox Nche (Louis Botha).
Subs: 16 Markus Odendaal (Grey College), 17 Othello Sebotsha (Louis Botha), 18 Andrew du Plessis (Grey College), 19 Byron Matthews (Louis Botha), 20 Barend Bornman (Grey College), 21 Gomolemo Minnie (HTS Louis Botha), 22 Chelton Fortuin (Louis Botha), 23 Gareth de Bruin (Grey College).
KZN – 15 Jesse Kriel (Maritzburg College), 14 Bruce Arnott (Michaelhouse), 13 Michael Mvelase (Michaelhouse), 12 Sandile Kubheka (Kearsney), 11 Corne Vermaak (Glenwood), 10 Rob Anderson (Michaelhouse), 9 Cameron Wright (Hilton), 8 Josh Moon (Michaelhouse), 7 Jean-Luc du Preez (Kearsney), 6 Carel Swart (Glenwood), 5 Daniel du Preez (Kearsney), 4 Justin Moberly (Michaelhouse), 3 Mvevo Khumalo (Maritzburg College), 2 Vuyo Khatide (Maritzburg College), 1 Pat Sikhosana (Port Shepstone).
Subs: 16 Steven Hardman (Michaelhouse), 17 Mzizi Zondi (Westville), 18 Sihle Nqxabi (Glenwood), 19 Michael van Aardt (Glenwood), 20 Mondli Nkosi (George Campbell), 21 Nkululeko Marwana (Glenwood), 22 Mthokozisi Makhabela (Glenwood).