The KZN Schools’ team saw their hopes of playing in Saturday’s unofficial Craven Week Final dashed, as they went down to the Golden Lions by 8-17 yesterday afternoon.
After a scintillating performance in Monday’s opener, which saw them score seven tries against an outclassed Free State, the under-18 Natalians proved every bit as woefully inconsistent as their brethren at other levels of the game, putting in a lacklustre performance that saw them bullied by a stronger and far hungrier Golden Lions side.
Sloppy line out work and ball protection saw a surfeit of possession handed to the opposition, with something like eight own line out throws lost and an open-field turnover figure well into the double digits and while the boys defended manfully, the dam wall eventually broke late in the second half when Lions tight head Clinton Theron managed to barrel over for his side’s second try.
An earlier score by impressive Lions Hooker Malcolm Marx was cancelled out by a wonderful individual try from KZN fullback Jesse Kriel, whose chip and single-handed regather was reminiscent of Andre Joubert at his very best. Alas, despite some promise at times, the rest of the side simply weren’t on Kriel’s wavelength yesterday and with flyhalf Rob Anderson enduring an off day with the boot as well, they struggled to impose any pressure on the Lions.
After the first round of games, it was hoped that the final spectacle may see the KZN underdogs take on the mighty Blue Bulls, but it now looks as though either the Lions or hosts EP will enjoy that honour.
KZN (8) 8 – Try: Jesse Kriel. Penalty: Robert Anderson. Lions (10) 17 – Tries: Malcolm Marx, Clinton Theron. Conversions: Jaco van der Walt (2). Penalty: Van der Walt.Tweet