Sharks take a big bite out of Bulls
THE KwaZulu-Natal Sharks were the most impressive side on view of Day 2 of the Coca-Cola Craven Week at St Stithians College yesterday, beating the Blue Bulls 53-33 in the final game of the day.
It was a try-fest, with the teams scoring 13 between them, eight by the Sharks.
The KZN side raced to a 38-0 lead before the Bulls began a spirited fight back in the second half, closing the gap to 38-26 at one stage, but the Sharks got two late tries and a penalty to make the game safe.
The Sharks backs are small in stature but full of tricky running and they made a lot of friends in the big crowd at Saints, dazzling with their footwork which ran the big Bulls players ragged.
It was a great team effort by the young Sharks, with No 8 Pepsi Buthelezi and flank Dylan Richardson impressive up-front, while Sanele Nohamba, Cham Zondeki and Siyande Cele were exciting with ball in hand.
Richardson, Buthelezi, Nohamba – who also slotted five conversions, Dylan Pretorius, Cham Zondeki, Rhynhardt Jonker, Conan le Fleur and Cele scored tries for the Sharks.
Diego Appolis scored two tries for the Bulls and Ulrich Maritz, Zach Briel and Jaco Labuschagne one each. Maritz kicked four conversions.
SWD put up their hands to be in the mix in the big fixtures later in the week, by beating a highly-fancied Eastern Province side 27-22 in an entertaining curtain-raiser to the Bulls v Sharks game. They scored five tries and led 19-10 at the break. EP crossed the tryline three times themselves, but they were always chasing the game and they couldn’t match SWD for power up front in the end.
The SWD tries were scored by Dian Bleuler (two), Hanu Heunis and Curtley Scheepers. JC Nel slotted two penalties. Rodwill Baaitjies, Juandre Slabbert and Waqar Solaan dotted down for EP, with Dylan Le Roux adding two conversions.
The Sharks and SWD will probably meet tomorrow, with the winner there having an inside track to Saturday’s main game.
A bit of history was made in the SWD v EP game when Aimee Barrett-Theron became the first woman to referee a game at the Craven Week.
Barrett is an ex-international player and she will be one of the referees at the Women’s World Cup next month.
In the pick of today’s action, the Golden Lions take on Western Province in the last game of the day, with Free State meeting the Pumas in the curtain-raiser.
The winners there will, in all likelihood, have booked their spot in Saturday’s main game.
RESULTS Coca-Cola Craven Week: Namibia 52 Valke 36, Leopards 72 Zimbabwe 17, Griquas 42 E Province Country 20, SWD 27 Eastern Province 22, Sharks 53 Blue Bulls 33
Coca-Cola Academy Week: Golden Lions XV 62 Zimbabwe 14, Blue Valke 51 Border Country 12, SA LSEN Schools 57 Griffons Country 36, Namibia 16 Pumas Country 15, Border 35 Leopards 15, Blue Bulls 27 Free State 22, Pumas 23 Golden Lions 20 TODAY’S FIXTURES Coca-Cola Craven Week: Griffons v Border Country, Boland v Griquas, Border v Limpopo Blue Bulls, Free State v Pumas, Golden Lions v Western Province
Coca-Cola Academy Week: Limpopo Blue Bulls v Griquas Country, Griquas v Sharks Country, E Province v SWD, E Province Country v Valke Blue, W Province v Sharks