Centre Wandisile Simelane scored 26 point to guide the Golden Lions to a 41-14 win over the Blue Bulls at the U18 Craven Week, writes MARIETTE ADAMS.
Do not be fooled by the scoreline. Simelane’s breathtaking display highlighted what was an otherwise disappointing, lacklustre match between two sides who had secured commanding 33-point victories on day two against Border and SWD respectively.
The Bulls dominated territory and possession, but had only two tries – one in each half – to show for their efforts. Their cause was further derailed due to inexcusable discipline, which resulted in four second-half yellow cards to locks Henk Pretorius and PJ Steenkamp, hooker Schalk Erasmus and fullback Abner van Reenen.
The Lions’ five-try performance wasn’t pretty and they’ll need a vastly improved performance to challenge defending champions Western Province in the unofficial final on Saturday.
The Bulls started strongly and took the ball over the tryline through Marnus Potgieter, but the centre embarrassingly knocked on before dotting down. That stroke of luck was all the Lions needed as they worked their way from the resulting scrum into Bulls territory to score through fullback Chuiner van Rooyen. Simelane nailed the touchline conversion.
A lapse in concentration by the Lions saw Potgieter pounce to make up for his earlier error with a converted try for the Bulls, but that was as good as it got for them in the first half.
The blockbusting Simelane punished the Bulls’ ill-discipline with two penalty goals to put the Lions 13-7 up, before almost single-handedly conjuring up two wonder tries to take the Bulls out of the contest.
Simelane’s first effort was a combination of skill and vision, followed by precise execution. The outside centre threw a skip pass to release wing Tatendo Mujawo down the right flank and hurried to run the support line. Mujawo tried to link up with Simelane again, but the latter knew the ball was out of his reach and hacked it forward. The Bulls’ cover defence scrambled back, but before he could ground the ball in the in-goal area, Simelane had toed it out of his grasp to round off a brilliant try.
His second self-converted effort was soon after the break as the Lions raced to a 27-7 advantage. His exploits left the Bulls frustrated and soon both their locks were sin-binned in the space of a minute for foul play.
The duo’s time on the naughty chairs cost the Bulls 14 points, as Lions flyhalf Tyrone Green and flank Mark Green cantered in for tries, which Simelane converted.
There was a consolation effort by the Bulls when Van Reenen breached the Lions’ defence, but the match ended on a sour note when Van Reenen and Erasmus were given their marching orders for a dangerous double tackle.
The send-offs took the sting out of the match and neither side was able to add to their tallies thereafter.
Blue Bulls – Tries: Marnus Potgieter, Adner van Reenen. Conversions: Ruan de Swardt (2).
Golden Lions – Tries: Chuiner van Rooyen, Wandisile Simelane (2), Tyrone Green, Mark Snyman. Conversions: Simelane (5). Penalties: Simelane (2).
Blue Bulls – 15 Abner van Reenen, 14 Emilion Adonis, 13 Marnus Potgieter, 12 Louis van der Schyff, 11 Hluma Zondani, 10 Ruan de Swardt, 9 Shaun Williams, 8 Luke Fortuin, 7 Ryno Pieterse, 6 Regardt du Plessis, 5 Henk Pretorius, 4 PJ Steenkamp, 3 Monray Smith, 2 Schalk Erasmus, 1 Jacobus Eloff.
Subs: 16 Carl Wijburg, 17 Wernich Barnard, 18 Arno van Wyk, 19 Phillip Krause, 20 Asipesona Nonyukela, 21 Lincoln Daniels, 22 Austin Davids.
Golden Lions – 15 Chuiner van Rooyen, 14 Tatenda Mujawo, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Kalvin Mills, 11 Kennedy Mpeku, 10 Tyrone Green, 9 Tinus Combrinck, 8 PJ Jacobs, 7 Tiaan Scholtz, 6 Mark Snyman, 5 Cristen van Niekerk, 4 Christopher Havenga, 3 Keegan Glade, 2 Nolo Naka, 1 Nathan McBeth.
Subs: 16 Pieter Botha, 17 Mpilo Mabuza, 18 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 19 Darrien-Lane Landsberg, 20 Enrico Liut, 21 MJ Pelser, 22 David Cary, 23 Maxwill van Louw.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images