South Africa

U21: Lions make their move

Mon, 16 Sep 2013 19:30
Maraisschmidtgoldenlionsu21
Leopards put 50 past Border
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Western Province continued to lead the charge in the Under-21 provincial championship this past weekend while the Golden Lions leaped into second place on the log to boost their home semifinal hopes.

With only four rounds of matches remaining, Western Province, who have played one more match than the Golden Lions, Blue Bulls and Sharks respectively, boast a 13-point lead on the log, which has kept them in pole position to finish the pool stages as the top team.

But with only two points separating the second-placed Lions and fifth-placed Free State, a tense battle is expected to unfold for the three remaining semifinal spots.

In a weekend of away wins, Western Province continued their fine form as they registered an invaluable 32-21 victory against the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld, while the Golden Lions thumped Free State 43-28 in Bloemfontein and the Leopards defeated Border 57-28 in East London.

Blue Bulls 21-32 Western Province

In Pretoria, three first-half tries by Western Province to only two by the Blue Bulls earned the Cape side a morale-boosting 22-14 half-time lead at Loftus Versfeld. They built on this shortly after the break with right wing Patrick Howard crashing over for the bonus-point try, while flyhalf Tim Swiel increased the score steadily with three penalties and two conversions. The Blue Bulls, meanwhile, earned three converted tries for their efforts.

Scorers:

For the Blue Bulls:
Tries:
Visser, Herbst, Jantjies
Cons: Marais, Jantjies 2

For Western Province:
Tries:
Williams, Leyds, Howard 2
Cons: Swiel 3
Pens: Swiel 2

Free State 28-43 Golden Lions

The Golden Lions staged a brave comeback from 7-14 down at half-time against the Free State in Bloemfontein to secure their fifth victory of the season and hop into second place on the log. So convincing was their performance, they earned a total of six tries – five of which were scored in an impressive second half display – to outclass the hosts.

The defeat forced the Bloemfontein side out of the top four on the standings, and with the three teams ahead of them on the log all boasting a game in hand, hard work remains for the side to secure a semifinal berth in a few weeks.

Scorers:

For Free State:
Tries:
Marx, Botha, Tom
Cons: Marais 2
Pens: Marais 3

For the Golden Lions:
Tries:
Smith, Vorster, Nel, Schmidt, Pretorius, Walters
Cons: Van der Walt 2, Schmidt 3
Pen: Schmidt

Border 28-57 Leopards

In East London, a hat-trick of tries by Leopards left wing Adriaan Oosthuizen contributed heavily to their dominant performance against Border. The hosts struck first with Leroy Afrika crossing the try-line in the fourth minute in what proved to be a frantic start to the match, as each team crossed the try-line twice in the first 16 minutes.

But the Leopards took control shortly after as they made the most of their try-scoring chances to increase their first-half tally to four. Two more tries shortly after the break and another two in the last 11 minutes, however, increased their total to eight and cancelled out Border’s four tries. The convincing victory for the Leopards marked their first 50-point score this season.

Scorers:

For Border:
Tries:
Ladendorf, Afrika, Noordman, Ngubane
Cons: Nieuwenhuyzen 4

For the Leopards:
Tries:
Oosthuizen 3, Ebersohn, Nagy, Jordaan, Smith, Loots
Cons: Gilbert 7
Pen: Gilbert

Under-21 provincial championship log (under headings played, won, lost, drew, points for, points against, points difference, tries for, tries against, loss bonus, tries bonus, points):

Group A
Western Province: 9 – 8 – 1 – 0 – 314 – 152 – 162 – 41 – 19 – 1 – 6 – 39
Golden Lions: 8 – 5 – 3 – 0 – 244 – 219 – 25 – 31 – 22 – 2 – 4 – 26
Blue Bulls: 8 – 5 – 3 – 0 – 281 – 176 – 105 – 37 – 20 – 1 – 4 – 25
Sharks: 8 – 5 – 3 – 0 – 292 – 192 – 100 – 39 – 26 – 1 – 4 – 25
Free State: 9 – 5 – 4 – 0 – 251 – 263 - -12 – 33 – 34 – 0 – 4 – 24
Leopards: 9 – 2 – 7 – 0 – 248 – 387 - -139 – 31 – 54 – 1 – 4 – 13
Border: 9 – 0 – 9 – 0 – 190 – 431 - -241 – 27 – 64 – 0 – 3 – 3  

Top points scorers:
98
- Marais Schmidt (Golden Lions - three tries, 22 conversions, 13 penalties)
96 - Tim Swiel (Western Province - one try, 26 conversions, 12 penalties, one drop-goal)
83 - Robert du Preez (Sharks - three tries, 19 conversions, 10 penalties)

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