The popular SA Rugby Youth Weeks festival – one of the main attractions on the schools rugby calendar annually – kicked off on Monday (3 July) with the Learners with Special Education Needs (LSEN) Week and National Girls U18 Week in Durban and Welkom respectively.
These tournaments mark the first two of six SA Rugby Youth Week tournaments, which also includes the U13 and U18 Coca-Cola Craven Weeks, the U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week and the Coca-Cola Academy Week.
The LSEN Week, which runs from Monday to Thursday, will be hosted at Glenwood High School in Durban, while the National Girls U18 Week will play out at the HT Pelatona Projects Stadium in Welkom.
Similarly to all the other Youth Weeks, the teams deemed to have played the best rugby in the first two rounds of each competition respectively will be drawn against one another in the final match of the tournament where they will battle it out for top honours.
Following on the success of the combined hosting of the U13 Coca-Cola Craven Week and U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week, and the U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week and Coca-Cola Academy Weeks respectively last year, the tournaments will again run concurrently at Grey College in Bloemfontein from 10 to 14 July, and St Stithians College in Johannesburg from 17 to 22 July.
In the National Girls U18 Week, hosted at the HT Pelatona Projects Stadium, Western Province, Boland, Zimbabwe and Border Country Districts registered comprehensive victories to get the tournament off to a strong start, while the Leopards, Golden Lions, Boland and Golden Lions EE stamped their authority in the LSEN Week.
In the main matches in Welkom, Border, who won the final match of the tournament in last year’s edition of the tournament, broke away in the second half against the Blue Bulls after leading 8-7 to win 25-7, while Western Province delivered a fantastic display all-around to defeat KZN 59-0, with the team scoring an impressive nine tries.
Boland, who faced the Limpopo Blue Bulls in the opening match of the day, cruised to a 34-0 halftime lead, and secured an impressive 46-14 victory, while Border CD overcame a closely-fought first half against the Pumas to touch down six times for their 32-7 victory.
Zimbabwe, meanwhile, scored seven tries in their 39-5 win against Griquas, while Eastern Province defeated SWD 20-5 after leading 10-5 at the break.
Free State also started the competition on a high note as they produced a strong second half performance to outplay the Lions 22-5, while the Griffons crossed the tryline three times and limited the Leopards to a converted try only thanks to their solid defence for their 17-7 victory.
In the LSEN Week at Glenwood High School in Durban, meanwhile, the Golden Lions overpowered the Blue Bulls EE 44-7, while their Golden Lions EE counterparts defeated the Griffons 36-18 in the opening matches of the day.
The Leopards registered the biggest victory of the day as they defeated hosts, KZN, 57-5 with Eric Lamb scoring a hat-trick and Amogelang Gorekwang two tries as they racked up eight tries in the match.
Western Province’s successful goal-kicking, meanwhile, earned them a 24-15 victory against the Blue Bulls in the North-South derby, despite each side scoring three tries, with Luther Springbok scoring twice; while Boland, who took top honours last season, secured a rewarding 47-5 victory against Eastern Province, as Xavier Exquire scored two of the team’s seven tries.
In the other match-ups, Free State outscored the Pumas three tries to two for a 24-12 victory, while the Valke managed to hold off a strong challenge after the break by SWD to for a 24-15 victory.
View full results here: