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Loftus heartbreak for juniors


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Bulls, Original Content, Sharks on 20 Jul 2015 at 10:04
Tagged with : , , , , ,

The Sharks under 19 and under 21 sides both suffered defeats against their Blue Bull counterparts on Friday afternoon, albeit in very different circumstances.

While junior rugby is a major strength for the Pretoria union at both levels, it’s their under 19 side in particular that tends to set the standard. Contracting up to three top players in each position each yeah, it’s tough for teams like the Sharks, with a more modest junior rugby budget to compete, although last week’s encouraging display in a close loss to Western Province had provided some hope for Paul Anthony’s charges. 35 minutes later, however, the gulf in class had been ruthlessly underlined, with the Bulls under 19 side running in four first-half tries en route to a comprehensive 29-0 half-time scoreline.

You don’t generally come back from that sort of thing, but to the Sharks’ credit, they at least tried. Sbu Nkosi, Tristan Tedder and replacement Brent Christoffels all scored second half tries as the Sharks juniors dominated the second period, outscoring their hosts by 21-10 after half time. Tedder converted all three scores, but it was alas not to be, with the Sharks going down 39-21 in the final analysis. Much character was shown during that second-half fightback, though and the team will hope to record their first victory of the campaign against Free State next week.

Scorers:
Blue Bulls (Under 19) 39 (29). Tries: Alandre van Rooyen, Franco Naude (2), Gavin van den Berg, Kurt Webster. Conversions: Tinus de Beer (4). Penalties: Tinus de Beer (2).
Sharks (Under 19) 21 (0). Tries: Brent Christoffels, S’busiso Nkosi, Tristan Tedder. Conversions: Tristan Tedder (3).

The under 21 game couldn’t have been more different, with Michael Horak’s team coming into the game with the wind in their sails, following an unexpected away win over Province in round 1. The Bulls, on the other hand, had lost badly to the Lions in their opener and were definitely beatable. The Sharks suffered a setback in the 17th minutes as the Bulls scored the first try, but fought back bravely and trailed by a single point, 7-6, at half time after two penalties from scrumhalf Rowan Gouws.

The hosts scored again just after the break, but a missed conversion from flyhalf Josh Stander saw them lead by just 6; Gouw’s converted try not long after gave the Sharks the lead for the first time (12-13) and they continued to increase their advantage, despite another unconverted Bulls try, with Gouws adding a penalty and then converting Dan du Preez’s try in the 62nd minute. Now ahead 23-17 , the visitors were well within reach of a second successive away victory over top opposition…. this week, it was not to be though, with a bizarre final period of play seeing replacement centre Marius Louw red-carded under rather dubious circumstances, while Bulls prop Dayan van der Westhuizen scored in the closing minute to hand his side a somewhat fortunate 24-23 victory.

It’s always unfortunate to lose a game that you really should have won, but one feels the Sharks under 21 side – up against the most brutal start possible – will be reasonably satisfied with 5 log points after their two trickiest away fixtures. They are at home for this weekend’s clash against Free State.

Scorers:
Blue Bulls (Under 21) 24 (7). Tries: Dayan van der Westhuizen (2), Marquit September, Ganfried May. Conversions: Joshua Stander, Kobus Marais.
Sharks (Under 21) 23 (6). Tries: Rowan Gouws, Dan du Preez. Conversions: Gouws (2). Penalties: Gouws (3).



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