Ju­niors aim to show the se­niors how it’s done

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - MIKE DE BRUYN

WESTERN PROV­INCE’S ju­niors have shown up their se­niors this sea­son. The Craven Week and Acad­emy teams went un­beaten at the na­tional tour­na­ments as did the Un­der-13s.

Now, it’s the turn of the U19s and U21s to win some sil­ver­ware. They will be in ac­tion against the Golden Lions at Free State Sta­dium to­day, kick­ing off at 11am and 1pm re­spec­tively.

WP U21 coach Jerome Paar­wa­ter is con­fi­dent his charges can get the job done against a Lions side who edged them 26-24 ear­lier this sea­son. “It’s a game we should never have lost; we were the dom­i­nant side through­out and would have come out on top had our goal-kick­ers not fluffed their lines,” he said.

WP had opened their cam­paign with a 29-all draw away to the Blue Bulls and then won the next one at a can­ter, be­fore com­ing un­stuck against the Lions.

They then smashed the Sharks and ham­mered the EP Kings be­fore a scare at home against the win­less Leopards. Prov­ince scored a penalty to break the dead­lock and se­cure a 34-31 vic­tory.

It en­abled them to top the seven- team stand­ings and se­cure a home semi- fi­nal against the Cheetahs, who they beat 26-23 last week­end.

“We’ll get the job done if the lads play to their full po­ten­tial,” said Paar­wa­ter, who won the ti­tle in 2007. “At times we’ve played some bril­liant rugby… but ev­ery now and again we haven’t made the most of our op­por­tu­ni­ties due to lapses in con­cen­tra­tion and iffy de­ci­sion-mak­ing.”

Prov­ince have made one change to the run-on XV from last week, with Jaco Willemse start­ing in the sec­ond row.

Mean­while, the U19s, who were cham­pi­ons in 2014, have a great chance of more suc­cess.

They, too, ended top of the log be­fore the knock­out rounds but with an im­pres­sive record of 10 wins from 12, seven of them on the trot be­fore los­ing 43-36 to the Lions. WP won their first en­gage­ment 23-18. Western Prov­ince U21s: 15 Grant Her­manus, 14 Sibahle Maxwane, 13 Ed­uan Keyter, 12 Ryan Oosthuizen, 11 Ed­will van der Merwe, 10 Bran­don Thom­son, 9 Justin Phillips, 8 Jaco Coet­zee, 7 Jac­ques Ver­maulen, 6 Luke Stringer (cap­tain), 5 Ed­uard Zand­berg, 4 Jaco Willemse, 3 Frans van Wyk, 2 Percy Mn­gadi, 1 Kyle Whyte. Bench: 16 Hanno Sny­man, 17 Michael Kumbi­rai, 18 Nyasha Tarusenga, 19 Christo van der Merwe, 20 Her­schel Jan­tjies, 21 Den­nis Cox, 22 Le­olin Zas. Western Prov­ince U19s: 15 Tris­tan Leyds, 14 Nico Leonard, 13 David Brits, 12 Cor­nel Smit, 11 Ryan Muller, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jon­dre Wil­liams, 8 Juarno Au­gus­tus, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Zain Davids, 5 David Mei­huizen, 4 Ernst van Rhyn (cap­tain), 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Matt Wise­man, 1 Ricky Nwag­bara. Bench: 16 Shane Farmer, 17 Roux Swart, 18 Lee-Marvin Maz­ibuko, 19 Joa Swart, 20 Jo­han Visser, 21 Bran­don Salomo, 22 Adri­aan van der Bank, 23 Troy Payne.

Prov­ince took a 50-30 past­ing at home against the Bulls in their fi­nal league fix­ture, but picked up a bonus point to se­cure top spot on the stand­ings. They then beat the Cheetahs 30-15 to book their place in to­day’s fi­nal.

“We have to be at our best to take down the Lions. Our two pre­vi­ous meet­ings have been close af­fairs and a re­peat is on the cards,” said U19s coach Nazeem Adams. “I’m con­fi­dent we can de­liver a ti­tle-win­ning per­for­mance. Our form this sea­son has been out of the top­drawer.

“And I be­lieve we haven’t reached our peak yet. What bet­ter way to do so than in the game that counts. We’ve got the pack and the backs, it’s now a case of stay­ing con­cen­trated and mak­ing the most of the chances that come our way.”

Ju­nior Spring­bok Zain Davids starts at open­side flank for WP at the ex­pense of Nama Xaba.

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