GARETH DUNCAN watched the Blue Bulls cruise to a 36-10 win over the Pumas in the U18 Craven Week day four feature match in PE.
It was a one-side contest, with the Bulls running in five tries to seal their second consecutive triumph of the tournament. Two of them were score via massive tighthead prop Johan Bannink (who weighs 130kg and and stands at 1.89m), who powered over from lose range on two occasions. TWing Marquit September, scrumhalf George-Lee Erasmus and flyhalf Ryno Eksteen also crossed the chalk.
Eksteen’s influence was pivotal in the win, especially with the boot. He kicked four conversions and a penalty to take the game away from the Pumas. While the Bulls forwards were also dominant, he spearheaded a backline that ran rampant at full force.
This saw the victors dominate the first half to lead 24-3 at the break. The Pumas opened the scoring via the boot of flyhalf Brandon Thomson, but it was all Bulls thereafter. Wing Marquit September finished smartly out wide to sneak in at the corner, while Bannick sniped the fringes to dive over under the posts. The Garsfontein front-rower then crashed over from a quick penalty tap on the stroke of half-time.
The game died down in the second stanza, with both teams guilty of errors on attack. But finishes from Erasmus and Eksteen was enough for the win. The Pumas grabbed a consolation via flank Willandre Kotzenberg.
This result will see the Bulls take on the Golden Lions in the unofficial final on Saturday.
Blue Bulls – 15 Jaco Hayward (Centurion), 14 Marcus Kleinbooi (Affies), 13 Jurie Linde (Affies), 12 Rohan Jansen van Rensburg (Waterkloof), 11 Caswell Khoza (Southdowns), 10 Ryno Eksteen (Affies), 9 Justin Phillips (Waterkloof), 8 Steven Meiring (Affies), 7 Heinrich Viljoen (Affies), 6 Thabo Mabuza (Centurion), 5 Janse van Rensburg (Affies), 4 Hyron Andrews (Garsfontein), 3 Johan Bannink (Garsfontein), 2 Vean Roodt (Centurion), 1 Pierre Schoeman (Affies, c)
Subs: 16 François Steyn (Affies), 17 Dayan van der Westhuizen (Centurion), 18 Johan Ras (Centurion), 19 Bobby de Wee (Southdowns), 20 George-Lee Erasmus (Centurion), 21 Chad McKay (Centurion), 22 Marquit September (Garsfontein).
Pumas - 15 Lindelwe Zungu (Piet Retief), 14 Karabo Makola (HTS Witbank), 13 Wygie Johnstone (HTS Middelburg), 12 Donavan Gissing (Standerton), 11 Vincent Sibiya (Middelburg), 10 Brandon Thomson (Ermelo), 9 Jacobus Wolmarans (Hoërskool Middelburg), 8 Jano Venter (HTS Middelburg), 7 Daniel Maartens (Nelspruit), 6 Willandre Kotzenberg (HTS Middelburg), 5 Christopher van Leeuwen (Middelburg), 4 Thulane Mkhonto (Middelburg), 3 Ivan Gouws (Middelburg), 2 Wilmar Arnoldi (Ermelo), 1 JP Herbst (HTS Middelburg).
Subs: 16 Siphephelo Vilakazi (Piet Retief), 17 Philani Ngwato (Generaal Hertzog), 18 Michael Basson (HTS Middelburg), 19 Menzi Nhlabathi (Nelspruit), 20 Impi Visser (Ermelo), 21 Harabith Mojalefa (Standerton), 22 Abednigo Mashabane (HTS Middelburg).