As the hosts kicked off with a resounding win against the Falcons on the opening day of Craven Week in PE on Monday, the obvious talking point was the performance of KwaZulu-Natal against perennial school boy dominators, Free State.
The boys from Durban scored seven tries to run out convincing 48-24 winners over a disappointing Free State side – a side who have played in the main match of the tournament for the past three years!
Traditionally a side made up of the entire Grey 1st XV, with most of the reserves coming from the Grey 2nd XV, this result will have sent chills up the spines of the powers that be at the Cheetahs. Grey boast 6 or 7 players in the current Bok squad and have been an unbelievable provider of talent over the years, meaning that the Cheetahs have always only had to worry about losing talent, not acquiring it …
As a small union that struggles with depth, and fails to attract big crowds and sponsors for their Super Rugby team, having to spend money on acquiring talent would be the death knell …
The other observation from day one of the schoolboy week is that unlike when played in big cities in previous years, all games are being played at the new stadium. In all the Craven Weeks that I have been involved in, the midweek games have been played at a school or club, with only the final day’s main games being played at the stadium, often as a curtain raiser to a big senior game.
So instead of playing in front of full small stands and giving a local school some publicity, these guys are playing on a great surface in a world class stadium, but to an empty cavern full of echoes. And there is no added incentive of playing the main game at the stadium, as they have already done that …
An opportunity missed to showcase one of the many schools in the area – so often touted as a primary reason for the Kings to be given Super Rugby status?
Monday’s Craven Week Results:
Free State (3) 24 – Tries: Othello Sebotsa, EW Viljoen, Edward Schmidt. Conversions: Pieter Jordaan (3). Penalty: Jordaan.
KZN (36) 48 – Tries: Bruce Arnott (2), Cornelis Vermaak, Daniel du Preez, Jesse Kriel (2), Justin Moberly. Conversions: Robert Anderson (5). Penalty: Anderson.
EP (24) 41 – Tries: Sergeal Petersen (2), Aidon Davis, Selvyn Davids, Matthew Moore. Conversions: Ernst Stapelberg (5). Penalties: Stapelberg (2).
Falcons (10) 17 – Tries: Johan Oosthuizen, Leon Potgieter. Conversions: Ruan Potgieter (2). Penalty: Potgieter.
Lions (16) 29 – Tries: Jaco van der Walt, Frans van Wyk, Christiaan Massyn. Conversion: Van der Walt. Penalties: Van der Walt (3), Sibongumusa Radebe.
Border (14) 14 – Try: Lilitha Jonas. Penalties: Akhona Sihunu (3).
Boland (6) 16 – Try: Chad Kleinsmidt. Conversion: Kleinsmidt. Penalties: Schalk Hugo (3).
Griquas (9) 12 – Penalties: Granville Adams (4).
Leopards (12) 36 – Tries: Willem Herbst, Iniel Schoenfeld, Francwa Ueckermann. Conversions: Matthys Venter (3). Penalties: Venter (5).
Namibia (17) 29 – Tries: Daniel Arries, Ethan Beukes, Jean-Claude Winkler, Leon Feris. Conversions: Arries (3). Penalty: Arries.
09:30 – Zimbabwe vs Border CD
11:00 – Griquas CD vs EP CD
12:30 – SWD vs Limpopo
14:00 – Pumas vs Griffons
15:30 – WP vs Blue Bulls