EASTERN Province produced a match- winning second-half performance to edge a determined Boland side 22-13 in their Coca-Cola under-18 Craven Week clash at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium yesterday.
Boland started the game the better team as they kept EP in their own half for most of the first half. They could have taken the lead as early as the third minute, but their flyhalf Colin Willemse missed the penalty.
EP flyhalf Ernst Stapelberg took the hosts into the lead six minutes later with a penalty.
Boland vice-captain Anzo Stubbs cancelled EP’s lead with a 13th-minute try after Boland intercepted a pass inside EP’s 22m area. Willemse converted it before successfully kicking a 15th-minute penalty.
EP’s Thembalethu Williams scored his side’s first try in the 25th minute after slippery wing Selvyn Davids had done the hard work, avoiding three tackles. It was easily converted by Stapelberg to level matters at 10-10 going into the break.
Whatever the EP boys were told during the break worked. They came back more determined, with captain Aidon Davis involved in almost every move.
Boland continued dominating the lineouts and forced EP to make mistakes.
Boland’s later points came from Corne Sharp’s boot, five minutes into the second half.
From that moment, EP kicked into gear and camped inside Boland’s half.
Man of the match Sergeal Petersen stretched the lead with his third try of the tournament in the 54th-minute, after EP switched play beautifully in a rehearsed move that caught Boland’s defence napping. Stapelberg, who had missed two penalties, converted.
Davis also got on the scoresheet for EP after a blindside pass from scrumhalf Johannes Nel after they won the lineout for the first time in the game.
Boland inside centre Courtney Cupido decided to spice things up with a well-timed tackle on Davids – which included taking out the TV cameraman on the touchline.
Boland had no answer for Petersen, who troubled them the whole game. In the 63rd minute he showed his strength and brushed off a few tackles before passing the ball to Phelo Mfini – who was tackled off the field as he was about to dive home.
An all-round performance by the Golden Lions was enough to beat KwaZulu-Natal 17-8 in the closely contested main game.
The Lions drew first blood with a penalty early in the game by vice-captain Jaco van der Walt. His opposite number Robert Anderson tied the scores soon after.
Malcolm Marx restored the lead for the Lions with a 30th- minute try. The big prop forced the try after some good work from the forwards. KZN fullback Jesse Kriel reduced the gap with a chip-and-chase try. Both teams missed a couple of penalties but the Lions held on to lead 10-8 at halftime.
The Lions came back stronger in the second half. Piling on the pressure, they were rewarded with a 49th-minute try by Clinton Theron, who bulldozed his way through to dive under the posts. Van der Walt converted.
KZN kept on going forward in search of points but the Lions’ defence stood its ground.
In earlier games, the Falcons proved too strong for the Leopards, thrashing them 38-5. Halftime: 24-5.
In a game of missed opportunities, Free State did enough to clinch a 14-9 victory over Border. Halftime: 14-3.
A clinical Namibia side beat the Griquas 29-15.
9.30am Griquas Country v Border Country, 11am Limpopo v Zimbabwe, 12.30pm Eastern Province Country v Griffons, 2pm Western Province v SWD, 3.30pm Blue Bulls v Pumas.
All matches will televised live on SuperSport 1.