GARETH DUNCAN, reporting from Durban, watched WP record a 22-18 comeback win over the Blue Bulls in the U19 provincial final.
The match was played on the Kings Park B field (outside of the stadium) to protect the main pitch ahead of U21 final and the senior domestic title-decider. The field was surrounded by fans, creating a schoolboy game-like atmosphere.
The boys from Pretoria were superior in size, and were boosted by the late clearance of Baby Boks inside centre and IRB Junior Player of the Year Jan Serfontein, who had featured for the Bulls seniors and U21s on the domestic scene all season. Serfontein was struggling with an ankle injury during the week.
However, it was Province who led at half-time thanks to a try via outside centre and WP U19 Back of the Year Justin Geduld. On the half-hour mark, the SA U18 Sevens representative pounced on a loose ball and had one defender to beat to the whitewash. A smart inside side step allowed the flyer to score the opening five-pointer.
WP’s Scottish flyhalf Tom Allan kicked the extras, in addition to his earlier penalty. Bulls fullback Jacques Rossouw only managed to convert one of four penalty attempts to see Province led 10-3 at the break.
The Bulls gained the ascendancy in the second stanza, and surged into 18-15 lead thanks to tries from midfielders Burger Odendaal and Serfontein. WP hit back via wing Werner Kok, but Bulls reserve prop Jan-Frederik Enslin (who took over the kicking duties from Rossouw) nailed a penalty and conversion to give his team a slim advantage.
The match loosened up during the closing stages, which saw Geduld score the match-winning try at the death.
WP U19s 22 (10) – Tries: Justin Geduld (2), Werner Kok. Conversions: Tom Allan (2). Penalty: Allan.
Blue Bulls U19s 18 (3) – Tries: Jan Serfontein, Burger Odendaal. Conversions: Jan-Frederik Enslin. Penalty: Jacques Rossouw, Enslin.