The Capetonians emerged as the top team in the competition last year, and similarly to their SA Rugby Craven Week counterparts, they will have a target on their back.
The SA Rugby Academy Week dished up some top rugby action at Grey College in Bloemfontein on Thursday with a few big wins and some close encounters keeping fans entertained. Only three of the 14 teams that took to the field in their second round of matches on the day are still unbeaten, namely Border, Blue Bulls XV and Valke.
This means only six of the 28 teams participating in the tournament will enter the final round of matches on Saturday undefeated.
All the teams will have Friday off to rest and recharge for Saturday’s matches.
SA Rugby Academy Week match summaries:
The SA LSEN XV had no answer for the in-form Thepa Trading Griffons CD, with the team delivering a top-class showing for a rewarding 59-0 victory. Their effective attack and finishing saw them run in an impressive nine tries – with prop Imi Alam and winger Moeketsi Kgongoana each scoring twice – while their effective defence shut out the opposition completely, denying them a point. The team scored a whopping 40 points before the break and added 19 more as the match progressed.
The Blue Bulls XV also dominated their clash against the Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions Academy XV to register a convincing 57-12 victory, which marked their second win of the tournament. Such was their supremacy they cruised to a 31-5 halftime lead and they maintained this hot form in the second half to touch down a rewarding nine times. It was a memorable day for a few Blue Bulls XV players, with Bongani Ndlovu (centre) scoring a hat-trick, and George Van Der Merwe (scrumhalf) and Ruan Venter (No 8) braces.
Namibia registered their first victory of the tournament thanks to a quality performance against Griquas, which saw them win 39-17. The interplay between their forwards and backs was effective and the team did well to create try-scoring chances and convert them. Five players crossed the tryline for Namibia, with flyhalf Geraldo Beukes making a notable contribution with a try, four conversions and two penalty goals for 19 points.
Valke centre Louis De Bruyn was in hot form for his team as they outplayed the Phakisa Pumas 48-29, scoring three of his team’s seven tries. The Valke used their chances in the first half, and this allowed them to bump 26-17 ahead, and they built on this in the second half to touch down seven times in the match. The Phakisa Pumas tried hard to make their presence felt and their efforts earned them four tries, but the opposition were just too good on the day.
Border overcame a tight first half against Thepa Trading Griffons to register a 41-27 victory, marking their second win of the tournament. The East London outfit held a slender 19-15 lead at the break, but they found their rhythm later in the game and made their presence felt to outscore the opposition seven tries to four. Border lock Grant Pretorius scored two tries in the match, while another five of his team-mates crossed the tryline in a rewarding team effort.
The SA LSEN team and Griquas CD were involved in a tight tussle, but a strong second-half showing by the LSEN outfit allowing them to overturn a 22-12 deficit for a 36-29 victory. SA LSEN winger Leroy Kiewiet was a key figure for the team as he scored three of their six tries, while Griquas CD scored five – two of which were by No 8 Winston Tuck.
A hat-trick by SWD Eagles flyhalf Berthal September and a brace by winger Royden Jonkers proved vital in the team’s gripping 31-27 victory against the Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions. The match was hard-fought from the outset as both teams threw everything at one another, but SWD edged 12-8 ahead at halftime and managed to hold their nerve in a competitive second half to secure the win. The Johannesburg side scored three tries in the second stanza, but this still left them short on the scoreboard.
SA Rugby Academy Week Day Four results (Thursday, 4 July):
Namibia 39-17 Griquas
Thepa Trading Griffons CD 59-0 SA LSEN XV
Griquas CD 29-36 SA LSEN
Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions Academy XV 12-57 Blue Bulls XV
Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions 27-31 SWD Eagles
Border 41-27 Thepa Trading Griffons
Valke 48-29 Phakisa Pumas
SA Rugby Academy Week Day Five fixtures (Saturday, 6 July):
08h00 – Namibia v Old Mutual Zimbabwe (GCB A Field)
08h00 – Griquas CD v Border CD (GCB B Field)
08h00 – EP Elephants CD v Thepa Trading Griffons CD (Windmill A Field)
08h00 – Cell C Sharks CD v Phakisa Pumas CD (Windmill B Field)
09h30 – LSEN v LSEN XV (GCB A Field)
09h30 – EP Elephants v Phakisa Pumas (GCB B Field)
09h30 – Boland v Blue Bulls CD (Windmill A Field)
09h30 – Griquas v Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions Academy (Windmill B Field)
11h00 – Free State Cheetahs v Valke (GCB A Field)
11h00 – Cell C Sharks v SWD (GCB B Field)
11h00 – Bidvest Waltons Golden Lions v Blue Bulls (Windmill A Field)
11h00 – Leopards v DHL Western Province CD (Windmill B Field)
12h30 – DHL Western Province v Border (GCB A Field)
12h30 – Limpopo Blue Bulls v Thepa Trading Griffons (GCB B Field)