U21: KwaZulu-Natal edge ahead
The KwaZulu-Natal Under-21 side's impressive try-scoring abilities edged them ahead of all their rivals.
The KwaZulu-Natal Under-21 side's impressive try-scoring abilities edged them ahead of rivals Western Province, the Blue Bulls, Free State and Golden Lions in a tightly contested Under-21 provincial championship.
However, there is still a lot to play for in the coming weeks.
The East Coast side have so far scored 23 tries in their four matches, including nine in Potchefstroom last Friday as they brushed the Leopards aside in a very impressive 62-18 win, helping them to pick up valuable bonus points along the way.
After notching up four wins the KZN Sharks side has 16 log points, with WP (15), the Blue Bulls and Free State (both 14) and Golden Lions (10) all within a win from the top spot.
With KZN taking on WP this weekend and the Blue Bulls hosting Free State, there will again be log movement in a week's time.
Leopards 18-62 Sharks
The nine try romp in Potchefstroom started in the fourth minute already for the visitors as fullback Sean Robinson raced through to set the tone.
Strong running centre André Esterhuizen, who incidentally hails from nearby Klerksdorp, scored three times for the visitors as the Natal backline had way too much pace and power for the home side.
Tries: Stoman, Beukman
Con: Du Plessis
Pens: Gilbert 2
Tries: Esterhuizen 3, Alexander, Venter, Meyer, Du Preez, Robinson, Fisher
Cons: Du Preez 4, Cope 3
Pen: Du Preez
Leopards: 15 Sylvian Mahuza, 14 Ryno Smith, 13 Rowayne Beukman, 12 Tiaan Loots, 11 Wynand Olivier, 10 Warren Gilbert, 9 Jaco Grobler, 8 Jaco Buys, 6 Jaco Jordaan, 5 Marno Redelinghuys, 4 Ettienne Smith, 3 Louwrens Strydom, 2 Eugene Le Maitre, 1 Arno Ebersohn (captain).
Replacements: 16 Armandt Stoman, 17 Thokoza Ndlela, 18 Erno Nagy, 19 Dean Andrew Basson, 19 Neil Loftus Morrison, 20 Thomas Leon Meyer, 21 Bouke Marnus Tack, 22 Jacobus Johannes du Plessis.
Sharks: 15 Sean Robinson, 14 Kotaro Matsushima, 13 Tyler Fisher, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Alcino Marchiano Izaacs, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Hanco Venter, 8 Guy Alexander (captain), 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Khaya Majola, 5 Joseph Stephanus Theuns Lewies, 4 Wiehan Hay, 3 Nico Van Dyk, 2 Gregory Bauer, 1 Allan Dell.
Replacements: 16 Jacques Taylor, 17 Simon Kerrod, 18 Wade Dean Elliot, 19 Murray Bondesio, 20 Stefan Ungerer, 21 Brendan Cope, 22 Garath Robert Meikle.
Blue Bulls 26-20 Golden Lions
In Pretoria, the Blue Bulls had to come from behind to beat a determined Golden Lions side 26-20.
Flyhalf Kobus Marais, who was drafted from the Under-19 side following Tony Jantjies' elevation to the Currie Cup side, had a fantastic debut, contributing 21 points in the match where both sides scored two tries, but the four penalties Marais kicked proved decisive.
The first 20 minutes was a straight shoot-out between Marais and Golden Lions sharp shooter, Marais Schmidt. Marais opened the scoring with a penalty and when Schmidt replied, Marais scored a converted try.
Tries by Golden Lions flanker Kwagga Smith and winger Peter-John Walters edged the visitors into a 17-13 score at the break.
The second half was all Blue Bulls. Hencus van Wyk scored after 50 minutes and after some re-enforcements in their pack, the home side applied all the pressure. Marais kicked two more penalties, but Schmidt could kick a late penalty to give his side a well-earned bonus point.
Tries: Marais, Van Wyk
Cons: Marais 2
Pens: Marais 4
Tries: Smith, Walters
Cons: Schmidt 2
Pens: Schmidt 2
Blue Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Jade Kyle Stighling, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jermaine Fabian Kleinsmith, 10 Kobus Marais, 9 Rudi van Rooyen, 8 Clyde Davids, 7 Nardus van der Walt, 6 Shaun Adendorff, 5 Dennis Visser, 4 Johannes Casper Kirsten, 3 Hencus van Wyk, 2 Jaco Visagie (captain), 1 Andrew Beerwinkel.
Replacements: 16 Jason Thomas, 17 Stephanus Gabriel Du Toit Genis, 18 Irne Philip Herbst, 19 Roelof Smit, 20 Kefentse Seshego Mahlo, 21 Malcolm Theo, 22 Christopher Bosch.
Golden Lions: 15 Marais Schmidt, 14 Peter-John Walters, 13 Jacques Jehan Nel, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Damian Courtney Engledoe, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Percy Williams, 8 Fabian Booysen, 7 Stephan de Wit, 6 Albertus Stephanus Smith, 5 Stephan Andre Vermeulen, 4 Ruan Christov Venter, 3 Nico Visser Du Plessis, 2 Mark Pretorius (captain), 1 Henri Boshoff.
Replacements: 16 Rikus van Niekerk, 17 Devon Martinus, 18 Jannie Stander, 19 David Jacobus Oosthuizen, 20 Wynand Johannes Venter, 21 Ashlon Davids, 22 Hanco Deale.
Western Province 38-20 Border
The Western Province team played in spurts, but in the end had a convincing 38-20 win over the visiting Border Bulldogs at Newlands on Saturday.
The home side scored six tries, with no 8 Carel du Preez getting a brace. Credit to Border who came back strongly after being outplayed in the early stages of the match, with fiery loose forward Stephan Deyzel the stand-out.
Three tries in the first half hour laid the foundation for the win. Kobus van Wyk scored in the opening five minutes, JP Lewis added another after 15 minutes and hard-working halfback Godlen Masimla scored ten minutes later to give the home side an easy 24-3 lead.
Border did score twice just after the restart, but Du Preez's second secured the bonus point for WP after 55 minutes. A penalty try late in the match aided the Bulldogs efforts.
Tries: Du Preez 2, Nel, Lewis, Masimla, Van Wyk
Cons: Swiel 4
Tries: Taljaard, Deyzel, Penalty try
Under-21 provincial championship standings (under headings played, won, lost, drew, points for, points against, points difference, tries for, tries against, loss bonus, tries bonus, points)
KZN - Sharks - 4 - 3 - 1 - 0 - 168 - 98 - 70 - 23 - 14 - 1 - 3 - 16
Western - Province - 4 - 3 - 1 - 0 - 123 - 54 - 69 - 16 - 6 - 1 - 2 - 15
Blue - Bulls - 4 - 3 - 1 - 0 - 157 - 65 - 92 - 19 - 7 - 0 - 2 - 14 -
Free - State - 4 - 3 - 1 - 0 - 100 - 90 - 10 - 13 - 11 - 0 - 2 - 14
Golden - Lions - 4 - 2 - 2 - 0 - 91 - 91 - 0 - 10 - 8 - 2 - 0 - 10
Leopards - 5 - 1 - 4 - 0 - 94 - 217 - -123 - 11 - 29 - 1 - 1 - 6
Border - 5 - 0 - 5 - 0 - 97 - 215 - -118 - 15 - 32 - 0 - 1 - 1
Top points scorers:
48 - Tim Swiel (Western Province - one try, 11 conversions, six penalties, one drop-goal)
45 - Tony Jantjies (Blue Bulls - one try, 11 cons, sex pens)
40 - Robert du Preez (KZN Sharks - two tries, 12 cons, two pens)