But, it will be a record that EP will not carry with any sense of pride after Western Province on Saturday took top honours in the Under-18 Craven Week as they overpowered Eastern Province 95-0 in the main match at the Markötter Sports Complex at Paul Roos Gymnasium to set a new record for the highest score in the final match of the tournament.
The Cape side were in fine form from their opening match as they defeated the Blue Bulls 20-13 and registered an emphatic 65–5 victory against the Griffons on Wednesday, which earned them a place in the final match against Eastern Province, who finished last year’s tournament as the top team.
A huge battle was expected on the final day as Eastern Province beat SWD 41-31 and KwaZulu-Natal 23-22 respectively, but the hosts came out with a bang and completely overpowered the Port Elizabeth side.
Eastern Province tried hard to make their presence felt on attack but their efforts were countered by the water-tight Western Province defence.
Final Score: Western Province 95 (43) Eastern Province 0 (0)
Western Province came out firing on all cylinders from the opening minutes of the final match against Eastern Province thanks to the fantastic interplay between their forward and backs, their raw pace out wide and their fine decision-making. So psyched up were the hosts they retained possession and used their speedy backs to sneak through the gaps in Eastern Province’s defence, while they defended like demons. This forced Eastern Province to feed off the scraps for the entire half. This remarkable form earned them five tries for a significant 43-0 halftime lead.
They continued to stamp their authority in the second half and crossed the tryline twice early on to stretch their lead to 57-0, which marked a new record for the highest score in the final match of the Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Week. Ironically the highest score up until this match was Western Province’s 52-3 defeat against the Free State in the 2007 tournament also at Paul Roos Gymnasium. This did not stop them from running circles around Eastern Province on attack, as everything the Cape side touched turned to gold, while the Port Elizabeth side had no reply. With momentum and form favouring the Cape side they added another seven tries to their tally to seal an unforgettable 95-0 victory. The match was also particularly memorable for centre Manuel Rass, who earned his hat-trick.
- Western Province – Tries: Jondre Williams, Ryan Muller, Damian Willemse, Leo-Roubert Kruger, Khanya Ncusane, Tyreeq February (2), Ruben de Villiers (2), Nico Leonard (2), Manuel Rass (3). Conversions: Jondre Williams (7), George Lourens (4). Penalty: Jondre Williams.
The Eastern Province Country Districts side also bowed out with a big 51 (25) – 10 (3) loss to Griquas who wasted no time stamping their authority against Eastern Province CD as they ran in an impressive four tries in the first half and slotted over a penalty to accumulate 25 points in the half. Their defence was equally effective as they limited the Eastern Cape side to only a penalty before the break.
The Kimberley side picked up where they left off when play resumed as they retained possession and put together phases, which paid off with another four tries in the half to stretch their lead significantly.
Despite trailing far behind on the scoreboard Eastern Province CD fought back and managed to score their first and only try of the match in the 56th minute, which they converted to take their score to 10. However, they were unable to add to this in the dying minutes and went down 51-10.
- Eastern Province CD – Try: Xolile Mdlokovana. Conversion: Geoffrey Dakin. Penalty: Geoffrey Dakin.
- Griquas – Tries: Abram Venter, Rian Kotze, Lihan Viljoen, Janco Cloete, Johan Joubert, De-An Ackermann, Jacques Beukes (2). Conversions: Cameron Huffke (4). Penalty: Abram Venter.
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