Griquas flyhalf the star for local side
An astounding 112 points were scored in the Craven Week clash between GWK Griquas and the Valke, with the Kimberley side registering a narrow 60-52 victory. The GWK Griquas scored nine tries and the Valke eight in an entertaining attacking display. Valke scrumhalf Leshley October and flyhalf Ruben Beytell each scored a hat-trick, while GWK Griquas flyhalf Charles Williams proved to be a standout player for his side thanks to his two tries, six conversions and penalty goal.
The Kwazulu-Natal Sharks surely played themselves into the 2017 Coca-Cola Craven Week’s prestigious final game with an emphatic 65-26 win over SWD in the last game of the fourth day at St Stithians yesterday.
They have, without doubt, been the star act of the week so far, and should the honour of playing in the main game come their way they will richly deserve it. If they do make it, it will be their first appearance in the Craven Week’s main game since 1990.
SWD were up for yesterday’s game and they scored a number of good tries of their own, but the Sharks were just too strong in all facets of the game.
Their giant lock, JJ Van der Mescht had a big game, with eighthman Pepsi Buthelezi also showing up all over the place. The Sharks backs were sensational, they scored a number of long-range tries and showed pace and guile aplenty.
The Sharks got 10 tries in the end, two each from Thabiso Mdletshe and Pepsi Buthelezi, and one each from Celmpilo Gumede, JJ Vd Mescht, Dylan Kruger, Nthutuko Mchunu, Njabula Mjara and Morne Van Rensburg. Jade Hendrikse kicked a penalty and four conversions and Sanele Mohamba two conversions.
The SWD tries were scored by JC Nel, SP Kleinhans, Ruben Coetzee and Clyde Lewis. James Mollentze added three conversions.
The Blue Bulls’ disappointing run at the week continued when they followed their 53-33 loss to the Sharks in their opening encounter with a 37-0 defeat at the hands of Eastern Province yesterday. That’s a record Craven Week loss for the Bulls, and it will probably have condemned them to an early game on one of the outside fields on Saturday.
EP were good value for their win. They dominated the forward exchanges and their exciting backs ran the Bulls ragged. Bevan Prinsloo dotted down twice, with Juandre Sabbat, Ayabonga Matroos, Le-Kleu Stokes and Rodwill Baaitjies. Dylan Le Roux kicked a penalty and two conversions.
Today is a rest day at the week. The fixtures for Saturday were not finalised at the time of going to print, but the Sharks’ opponents are likely to be either the hosts, the Golden Lions or Free State, who were emphatic winners of both their earlier encounters.
Western Province, the unofficial defending champions must also still be in the running for main game honours. So the last two games on Saturday will certainly involve the Sharks, Lions, Western Province and Free State.
With all the teams having played twice now, four teams, Limpopo Blue Bulls, Leopards, Free State and Griquas have won twice, with the Lions and Western Province winning one and drawing one.
Coca-Cola Craven Week – E Province Country 34 Zimbabwe 14, Griquas 60 Valke 52, E province 37 Blue Bulls 0, Leopards 57 Namibia 30, Sharks 65 SWD 26
Coca-Cola Academy Week – Namibia 31 Griffon 17, Zimbabwe 64 Border 15, Leopards 33 Pumas Country 17, SA LSEN 43 Valke Blue 31, Golden Lions XV 31 Border 8, Golden Lions 48 Free State 38,Blue Bulls 46 Pumas 32