Border now have fire in their bellies

Kwezi Dlamini of Build-It Border on the rampage against Limpopo in their opening clash of the U18 Craven Week at Paarl Boys High School in Paarl on Monday.
Kwezi Dlamini of Build-It Border on the rampage against Limpopo in their opening clash of the U18 Craven Week at Paarl Boys High School in Paarl on Monday.
Image: Gallo Images

National rugby week action kicks up a notch today as the Build-It Border Craven and Academy Week teams head into their second matches of the competition, looking to continue the good momentum built up in Monday’s opening day wins in Paarl.

The Craven Week team will be taking on the Griffons in an interesting matchup that will see two teams who won heavily on the first day going head-to-head.

For Border it may have been a record-breaking occasion, with their 68-17 victory over Limpopo possibly their biggest ever at the Craven Week.

SA Rugby statisticians, when contacted by the Dispatch on Monday, had to go back in their records to confirm and were only able to see back as far as 1980 (the first Craven Week was in 1971) and confirmed that it was the biggest Border win since that year.

The Griffons themselves enjoyed a big win, powering their way to a 51-17 victory over the Blue Bulls XV (B team).

So both sides will be in high spirits and will be eager to add to their good starts to the week with another strong performance.

“It was a good performance against Limpopo. We did what we set out to do, applied pressure and the scoreline came,” said Border Craven Week coach James Winstanley.

“Against the Griffons it will be a tougher game, having seen them in action. They play a fast game across the full width of the field and keep the ball alive constantly, so we will have to match them.

“Hopefully we can get another big win and that should see us drawn against one of the big unions for our final game. We were hoping for that in our second game, but it was not to be and we can only beat the team that is in front of us, so that is what we are aiming to do.”

A small blow for Border, however, saw them lose lock Ridge Snelling to injury for the rest of the week, and they have brought in Academy captain Tess van der Walt as a replacement.

This is a big milestone for Van der Walt as he follows up being the first Lilyfontein player to make the Academy Week, and is now the first player from his school to make the Craven Week side.

The Border Academy team will now have to shrug off this loss as they hunt their second win of the week against the Valke, who also managed to win their opening game on Monday.

Border were comfortable 31-18 winners over the Leopards, and showed their attacking talent by running in five tries in that match, while the Valke just edged the Griquas in a high-scoring game 39-36.

“The team played well on Monday. There was lots of positive play. We are happy with the expansive running rugby, link up play and ball distribution that created great line-breaks,” said Academy assistant and backline coach, Khanyisa Mpumlwana.

Border will be keen to continue their attacking prowess with another exciting showing against the Valke, and set themselves up to be drawn against one of the big unions in their final match.

“There are a few things that need work, including game management, keeping the ball safe by protecting it at all times and working harder on defence on our own 22m and 5m lines,” said Mpumlwana.

The action kicks off early today with the Academy match at 8.20am, while the Craven Week side will get on to the field at 2pm for their clash that will be live on SuperSport 1.