The Xerox Golden Lions Under-21 team has joined the DHL Western Province Under-21’s at the top of the Absa Under-21 Provincial Championship A-Division standings by beating the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Ellis Park on Saturday.
The 40-29 win handed the Blue Bulls their first defeat of the competition after five weeks of play and losing their top spot on the log.
The Golden Lions joined WP, who easily outclassed Border 90-0 in East London, at the top. The Toyota Free State also scored an important away win over the Leopards in Potchefstroom to remain in early contention.
A summary of the weekend’s matches are:
Leopards 29 (5), Toyota Free State 38 (17)
The Toyota Free State scored a late try to not only confirm their dominance over the Leopards at Olënpark, but also took a losing bonus point away from the home side. It was all to play for in the last minute of play still, as the Leopards scored from a rolling maul minutes before to cut the Free State lead to 30-29.
With no time left on the clock, Free State replacement hooker Markus Odendaal was driven over in the corner and flyhalf Warren Potgieter converted from the touchline to edge the winning margin to eight points, thus depriving the Leopards a losing bonus point.
Both sides did score four tries.
The Free State started strongly and at one stage had a 24-8 lead before a great try by scrumhalf Percy Williams started the Leopards fight back.
Leopards (Under-21) 29 (5). Tries: Rhyno Smith, Percy Williams, Loftus Morrison, Mark Reinecke. Conversions: Kobus du Plessis (3). Penalty: Du Plessis.
Free State (Under-21) 37 (17). Tries: Nico Lee, Daniel Maartens, Tertius Kruger, Markus Odendaal. Conversions: Warren Potgieter (4). Penalties: Potgieter (3).
Xerox Golden Lions 41 (24), Vodacom Blue Bulls 30 (20).
The Golden Lions handed the Blue Bulls their first defeat of the campaign with an impressive 41-30 win at Ellis Park on Saturday. The home side played with more purpose and drive and especially on attack, seemed to more hungry to reach the tryline.
Instrumental in the unexpected margin was Springbok Sevens player, Kwagga Smith, who starred as loose forward, often creating spaces and providing the linking play to outfox and outflank the Blue Bulls defence.
The Blue Bulls will also lament on their defensive effort, with a number of tries conceded coming from poor communication on defence. Their lack of creativity on attack was contrasted by the Golden Lions, who attacked from all over the field.
Golden Lions (Under-21) 40 (24). Tries: Damien Engledoe (2), Malcolm Marx, Kwagga Smith, Jacques Nel. Conversions: Hanco Deale (3), Ashlon Davids, Ruan van Rensburg. Penalties: Deale, Van Rensburg.
Vodacom Blue Bulls (Under-21) 29 (20). Tries: Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Jade Stigling, Roelof Smit. Conversions: Kobus Marais (3). Penalties: Marais (3).
DHL Western Province 90 (36), Border 0 (0).
The only question in this clash was always going to be the margin of victory against the Border, who is clearly battling in the A-Division.
They conceded 14 tries this time around as the visiting DHL WP team proved far too quick and skilful for the outclassed home side in East London on Friday night.
Amongst the points' scorers were flyhalf Christopher Smith who kicked ten conversions and added two tries for a personal tally of 30 points.
Border 0 (Under-21) (0)
DHL Western Province (Under-21) 90. Tries: Christopher Smith (2), Dalen Goliath, Eital Bredenkamp (3), Janco Gunter (3), JP Lewis (2), Kyle Lombard, Tapiwa Tsomondo (2). Conversions: Smith (10).
•In the opening round of the Absa Under-21 Provincial Championship B-Division, all three home sides had to concede defeat.
In Nelspruit, the Pumas lost 36-20 to visiting SWD, the Down Touch Griffons was edged by GWK Griquas 20-15 in Welkom and in Kempton Park, the Valke was overpowered 42-22 by the visiting EP Kings.