Free State powered their way to top honours in the U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week at Hoërskool Diamantveld in Kimberley on Friday as they delivered a solid all-round performance to outplay the Blue Bulls by 31-24.
The Bloemfonteiners made their presence felt early on with their big pack and earned the rewards as they built up a 19-0 lead thanks to three first-half tries, before the Blue Bulls crossed the chalk for the first time. A drop goal by Free State soon after stretched their lead to 22-5, but the Blue Bulls struck back with a converted try shortly before halftime to close the gap to 22-12.
Free Struck first in the second half with their fourth try, but the Blue Bulls fought back with back-to-back tries, the second of which was on the stroke of fulltime. It was too little too late though as they went down 31-24.
The Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions were in sublime form against the King Price Pumas and showed class on attack to run in an impressive eight tries en route to their 50-26 victory. Thomas Goliath and Ocean Tshimbalanga scored two tries apiece, while Seb Watney kept the scoreboard ticking with five conversions, which proved too much Mpumalanga outfit, who scored four tries.
Boland also delivered a fine attacking performance in their clash against the Valke, which paved the way for a convincing 40-12 victory, with the team running in a notable six tries. Louis de Jager scored twice, while Hugo Mostert scored a try and kicked five conversions for a personal tally of 15 points.
A brace by Border’s Mbasa Jubisa and a try and five conversions by Sihlalo Benge assisted in steering the team to a comprehensive 35-7 victory against Eastern Province. The East London side delivered a solid attacking display, which they backed up with physicality and a determined defensive effort, to finish the tournament on a winning note.
DHL Western Province found their rhythm in the second half against SWD to outplay the George side 34-8. The first half was tight as the Capetonians took a narrow 12-8 lead, but their patience on attack and ability to round off their attacking opportunities allowed them to cross the chalk five times, while their solid defence in the second half denied SWD from adding to their score.
The Thepa Trading Griffons also finished off their campaign on a solid note as they overpowered the Leopards completely for a rewarding 31-0 win. Benni Human scored three of his team’s five tries, while the side’s watertight defence ensured that the Potchefstroom team remained scoreless.
Limpopo were equally solid in their performance against Border CD as they dominated on attack and did well to shut out the opposition on defence, which paved the way for their 31-11 win. Their effective attack saw them run in five tries, while Border CD opted for two penalty goals to add to their only try to push their score in double-digits.
The Sharks were made to work hard for their 26-21 victory against the hosts, Griquas, as the teams were closely matched on attack and defence. In the end, the Durbainites’ four tries to three by the home team, earned them the narrow win.
In the international, Zimbabwe made their presence felt thanks to a balanced showing between their forwards and backs to defeat Namibia 19-7 thanks to their three tries to only one by Namibia.
The SA Rugby Youth Weeks festival will conclude next week in Paarl with the U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week and Coca-Cola Academy Week at Paarl Boys’ High’s Brug Street grounds.
U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week final round results (Friday, 6 July):
Border 35-7 Eastern Province
Namibia 7-19 Old Mutual Zimbabwe
Sharks 26-21 Griquas
Border CD 11-31 Limpopo
DHL Western Province 34-8 SWD
Valke 12-40 Boland
Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions 50-26 King Price Pumas
Thepa Trading Griffons 31-0 Leopards
Free State 31-24 Blue Bulls