EASTERN Province got their Coca-Cola under-18 Craven Week campaign off to a flying start when they thrashed the Falcons 41-17 in the main game at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium yesterday.
It was a ruthless performance by the hosts as they posted an ominous warning to their other opponents this week.
Two quick tries by EP’s speedy wing, Sergeal Petersen, in the fourth and 16th minute set the tone for the hosts.
Flyhalf Ernst Stapelberg, who looked good throughout, added three points with a penalty right in front of the posts after Falcons flyhalf Ruan Potgieter had successfully kicked a penalty in the 12th minute.
Good interlinking play between Selvyn Davis and vice-captain Cyril- John Velleman saw Velleman score EP’s third try in the 33rd minute.
EP’s decision to run the ball from their own half resulted in Ettiene Oosthuizen scoring for the Falcons. Potgieter converted to reduce the deficit to 24-10 going into the break.
EP dominated possession, won a lot of lineouts and managed to turn some balls over in a dominant performance. The Falcons could have registered more points were it not for a resolute EP defence.
The second half started slowly with both teams making mistakes.
It took a 48th-minute moment of brilliance from No 8 Aiden Davis to register EP’s first second-half points. Davis received the ball just outside the Falcons’ 22m area, stepped over a few players and avoided a couple of tackles to cross the line.
Prop Matthew Moore put his 116kg weight to good use when he forced a 50th-minute try for EP.
Stapelberg converted both tries and added another three points with a 53rd-minute penalty. The Falcons fought back and were rewarded when Leon Potgieter found a rare gap in EP’s defence to score a try under the posts in the 60th minute. His younger brother, Ruan, converted.
The 18-year-old Davis was voted the player of the match, while Stapelberg boasted with a 100% kicking record for the match.
ŭEarlier, KwaZulu-Natal started their game against the Free State like a house on fire with four tries in the first half by Carel Swart, Justin Moberly, Jesse Kriel and Bruce Arnott.
Peter Jordaan registered Free State’s first-half points with a penalty in the 17th minute.
KZN flyhalf Robert Anderson converted all the tries and successfully kicked a penalty in the 20th minute making sure his side went to the break with a comfortable lead of 36-3.
KZN started the second half as they ended the first, with tries from Cornelis Vermaak and Kriel.
Edward Schmidt, Othello Sebotsa and EW Viljoen scored tries for Free State with the skipper Jordaan stepping up to convert them. But it was little too late for any comeback as KZN won 48-22.
ŭThe Border-Golden Lions match produced an exciting first half with the Lions going into half time with a slim 16-14 lead.
Akhona Shinunu registered Border’s first points with two early penalties but Lions flyhalf Jaco van der Walt was equal to the task.
Frans van Wyk scored the first try of the game for the Lions.
A penalty by Shinunu, and an unconverted Lilitha Jonas try took Border into a 14-13 lead before a Van der Walt penalty.
In the second half, the Lions scored unconverted tries by Van der Walt and Chris Massyn. Innocent Radebe added three points for the Lions in the dying minutes for the Lions to earn a 29-14 victory.
In earlier games, the Leopards beat Namibia 36-29 while Boland did just enough to clinch a 16-12 victory in their clash against Griquas.