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Golden Lions survive Free State scare in Absa Under-21 Championship

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Early pace-setters, the Golden Lions, survived a late fightback from the Toyota Free State to remain top of the standings after two rounds of the Absa Under-21 Provincial Championships played this weekend.

The Johannesburg side held out to a 36-33 win to remain unbeaten, while the defending champions, the Vodacom Blue Bulls, scored an even closer 24-23 win over the Cell C Sharks in Pretoria. In the only match played Saturday, the Leopards scored a bonus point win over EP Kings, who has now suffered consecutive losses in the opening weeks of the competition.

The EP Kings Under-19 team has now scored two wins away from home in the Under-19 competition though.

A summary of the weekend’s Under-21 action is featured below.

 

Golden Lions 36 (26), Toyota Free State 33 (14)

The Golden Lions almost let this one slip in the second half as a determined Toyota Free State team clawed their way back into the match at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg on Friday.

The hosts were out of the blocks in a flash, scoring in the opening minutes and then added another three tries for a comfortable 26-14 lead at the break with the bonus point already in the bag.

Another early try in the second half by Gerdus van der Walt extended the lead even further, but the visitors were far from done though. They scored three tries in the next 20 minutes to draw level. Only a late penalty by Shaun Reynolds saved the day for the home side, who are now top of the log after two rounds of play.

Scorers:

Golden Lions 36 (26). Tries: Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Christiaan Meyer, Gerdus van der Walt, Koch Marx, Jean-Pierre Du Preez. Conversions: Kobus Engelbrecht (4). Penalty: Shaun Reynolds

Toyota Free State 33 (14). Tries: Andre Swarts, Jan Albert Venter, Nicolaas Lee, Stephan Janse van Rensburg, Daniel Maartens. Conversions: Swarts (4).

 

Vodacom Blue Bulls 24 (7), Cell C Sharks 23 (6)

The Vodacom Blue Bulls Under-21 team scored a close 24-23 win over their Cell C Sharks counterparts in Pretoria on Friday.

The home side lead 7-6 at the break and scored four tries on way to an important win for the defending Absa Under-21 Provincial Championship winners of 2014.

Ganfried May opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a try and Joshua Stander converted the fullback's five pointer to put his side 7-0 up. The Sharks clawed their way back into the match with two penalties by Rowan Gouws bringing them within one point of the home side at the break.

A try just after the restart by prop Dayan van der Westhuizen extended the Blue Bulls lead to 12-6, but a converted try by Rowan Gouws saw the Durban side take in the 13-12 lead in the 47th minute.

A yellow card to the visiting prop Barend Potgieter in the 52nd minute cost the Sharks as Marquit September scored to regain the lead (17-13). The Sharks scored just after his return through Dan du Preez. Gouws converted for a 23-17 lead with 20 minutes to play. The Blue Bulls kept plugging away and when Marius Louw, Sharks prop, was shown a red in the 79th minute, they pounced. Van der Westhuizen scored his second and Kobus Marais converted with the winning kick from the touchline.

Scorers:

Vodacom Blue Bulls (Under 21) 24 (7). Tries: Dayan van der Westhuizen (2), Marquit September, Ganfried May. Conversions: Joshua Stander, Kobus Marais.

Cell C Sharks (Under 21) 23 (6). Tries: Rowan Gouws, Dan du Preez. Conversions: Gouws (2). Penalties: Gouws (3).

 

Leopards 28 (14), EP Kings 8 (5)

In Potchefstroom, the EP Kings scored first, but then were outplayed by a determined Leopards team, who scored a bonus point win over their coastal visitors. Two tries in each half, including a brace from outside centre Elden Schoeman, secured the win at Profert Olen Park in Potchefstroom on Saturday.

Scorers:

Leopards 28 (14). Tries: Jeandre Rudolph, Walt Steenkamp, Elden Schoeman (2). Conversions: Schalk Hugo (4).

EP Kings 8 (5). Try: Malcolm Jaer. Penalty: Simon Bolze.

Fixtures for round three:

Friday, July 24 2015

Sharks vs Free State, Growthpoint Kings Park, Durban

Leopards vs Golden Lions, Profert Olen Park, Potchefstroom

Saturday, July 25 2015

EP Kings vs Western Province, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

 

Absa Under-19 Provincial Championship

In the Absa Under-19 Provincial Championships, wins to the Vodacom Blue Bulls, Golden Lions and EP Kings highlighted some enterprising play by some of the country’s finest junior players.

The Blue Bulls stayed undefeated by beating the Cell C Sharks 39-21, while the EP Kings scored a second consecutive away win, this time beating the Leopards in Potchefstroom 41-24. The Golden Lions beat Toyota Free State 53-10, meaning that the Free State and Sharks side will be chasing a first win in round three of the competition next weekend when they meet in Durban.

 

Vodacom Blue Bulls 39 (29), Cell C Sharks 21 (0).

Scorers:

Blue Bulls 39 (29). Tries: Alandre van Rooyen, Franco Naude (2), Gavin van den Berg, Kurt Webster. Conversions: Tinus de Beer (4). Penalties: Tinus de Beer (2).

Sharks 21 (0). Tries: Brent Christoffels, S'busiso Nkosi, Tristan Tedder. Conversions: Tristan Tedder (3).

Leopards 24 (0), EP Kings 41 (19)

Scorers:

Leopards 24 (0). Tries: James Engelbrecht, Barend Janse van Rensburg, Eon Buhrmann, Wilbri Gunter. Conversions: Siyabonga Masuku, James Engelbrecht.

EP Kings 41 (19). Tries: Mabhutana Peter, Junior Pokomela, Jeremy Ward, Nicolaas Oosthuizen, Tango Balekile, Hayden Tharratt. Conversions: James Hall (3), Jordan Koekemoer. Penalty: James Hall.

Golden Lions 53 (36), Toyota Free State 10 (0)

Golden Lions 53 (36). Tries: Paul de Beer, Wynand Botha, Johann Vermaak, Hendrik Smit, Juandre Michau, Jaydrin Kotze (2). Conversions: Hendrik Mulder (6). Penalties: Hendrik Mulder (2).

Toyota Free State 10 (0). Tries: Victor Maruping, Rohan Roelofse.

Fixtures for round three:

Friday, July 24 2015

Sharks vs Free State, Growthpoint Kings Park, Durban

Leopards vs Golden Lions, Profert Olen Park, Potchefstroom

Saturday, July 25 2015

EP Kings vs Western Province, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth