The Blue Bulls thrashed Border 48-15 at the U18 Craven Week on Tuesday, writes MARIETTE ADAMS.
The final game of the day was a bruising battle as the two packs wrestled to gain the ascendancy and set a platform for their backs to feed off. Though it remained an even contest upfront, the Bulls backs made their opportunities count, while the Border back division squandered their chances at crucial moments.
Affies and Garsfontein’s strong representation in the Bulls lineup proved influential as they looked the more settled and cohesive side from the start.
Fullback Abner van Reenen starred for the Bulls with numerous linebreaks. Back rowers Hanru Sirgel, Libongo Yapi and Cameron Cato were in fine form for Border, constantly disrupting the Bulls at the breakdown.
Following a let-off 15 seconds into the match, when Border had a try disallowed for going offside, the Bulls got their act together and scored three tries to go 19-3 up.
Abner sliced through Border’s defence before seeing off the cover tackler with a step to take the ball up to the 22. Spotting the support of Garsies teammate Lincoln Daniels, he sent it wide and the winger finished off in the left-hand corner.
The next two came from Abner, who evaded another desperate tackle to score in right-hand corner and De Swardt, who took the ball at pace with a run in on the angle.
Border, not for a lack of opportunities, failed to breach Bulls’ defence as they trailed by 16 points midway through the game.
The Bulls, who were given a team warning late in the first half for repeated infringements, were reduced to 14 players when Ryno Pieterse was sent off. The lock’s stint in the sin bin cost his team 12 points as Border sparked hopes of comeback with two tries in quick succession, for a 19-15 scoreline.
But their optimism was soon squashed as Bulls flank Phillip Krause sat down one tackler with a fend and carried another with him over the tryline to extend their advantage.
The intensity of the match faded a little thereafter, but in the final 10 minutes Bulls captain Louritz van der Schyff bagged a brace either side of one from Pieterse to ensure his side came away with an emphatic victory.
Blue Bulls – Lincoln Daniels, Adner van Reenen, Ruan de Swardt, Phillip Krause, Louritz van der Schyff (2), Ryno Pieterse. Conversions: De Swardt (5). Penalty: De Swardt.
Border – Tries: Libongo Yapi, James Bruce. Conversion: Siphosethu Dlongodlongo. Penalty: Dlongodlongo.
Blue Bulls – 15 Abner van Reenen, 14 Lincoln Daniels, 13 Marnus Potgieter, 12 Louritz van der Schyff, 11 Austin Davids, 10 Ruan de Swardt, 9 Calderon Levens, 8 Luke Fortuin, 7 Phillip Krause, 6 Asipesona Nonyukela, 5 Henk Pretorius, 4 Ryno Pieterse, 3 Arno van Wyk, 2 Carl Wijburg, 1 Wernich Barnard.
Subs – Schalk Erasmus, 17 Jacobus Eloff, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Peter-John Steenkamp, 20 Regardt Du Plessis, 21 Shaun Williams, 22 Hluma Zondani, 23 Emilio Adonis.
Border – 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Josh Armstrong, 13 Sibulele Mbana, 12 Sango Xamlashe, 11 Nathan Church, 10 Siphosethu Dlongodlongo, 9 James Bruce, 8 Hanru Sirgel, 7 Libongo Yapi, 6 Cameron Cato, 5 Tristan Waller, 4 Aaron Brody, 3 Alutho Tshakweni, 2 Gareth Heidtmann, 1 Leon Lyons.
Subs – 16 Mila Bomela, 17 Sande Msengana, 18 Hennie Otto, 19 Darren Lemmer, 20 Sonwabo Jwacu, 21 Hlumelo Ndudula, 22 David Coetzer, 23 Christopher Hollis.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images