DHL Western Province were on Tuesday crowned the 2014 SARU Under-18 Sevens champions after defeating SWD 31-24 in a thrilling final at Hoërskool Monument to cap off an exciting tournament in Krugersdorp.
Boland won the Plate Final, KwaZulu-Natal the Bowl Final and Griquas the Shield Final, while the Leopards defeated the Limpopo Blue Bulls to finish the competition in third position.
Province recovered from a 19-26 defeat against Free State in their opening match on Monday and worked their way into the final thanks to their impressive attack and tenacious defence.
The team started the final day’s play with an encouraging 32-21 victory against the Blue Bulls in the Cup quarterfinal and then toppled the Limpopo Blue Bulls 29-24 in the semifinal to advance to the final.
SWD, meanwhile, defeated Boland and the Leopards in the Cup quarterfinal and semifinal, respectively, to book their final berth.
The final was entertaining as DHL Western Province did well to take advantage of the gaps in SWD’s defence thanks to their fantastic support play and raw speed, which they backed up with a solid defensive effort.
This earned them four first-half tries to only one by SWD for a 24-7 lead. The second half was tense as the Cape side scored another try, but conceded two shortly after as they were reduced to 14 men for two minutes. But they managed to shut out SWD in the dying minutes to secure the victory.
The semifinal between Western Province and the Limpopo Blue Bulls was also thrilling as the Limpopo side staged a dramatic comeback with two tries in the dying minutes to level the scores at 24-24 at the end of regular time. This forced the match into a sudden-death play-off, and after a few tight exchanges DHL WP secured the victory with a stunning try out wide.
SWD, meanwhile, cruised to a 39-0 victory against the Leopards in a one-sided semifinal.
Injured Springbok Sevens captain Kyle Brown, who mingled with the players and gave the teams advice during the two-day tournament, congratulated DHL Western Province on their victory and praised the participating teams for the high quality of rugby delivered.
Such was the thrilling nature of the tournament a total of 152 tries were scored on the A-Field on Tuesday.
“Well done to Western Province, they played a fantastic brand of rugby throughout the competition and they certainly deserved the victory,” said Brown.
Speaking about the tournament itself, Brown added: “I was very impressed with the standard of rugby played by the teams and I believe this tournament will play a vital role in boosting the interest in the sport at school level in future.”
SARU Under-18 Sevens results (Day Two):
KwaZulu-Natal 33 Eastern Province 12
Namibia 28 Border 22
Free State 45 Griffons 17
Golden Lions 34 Griquas 27
Valke 10 Leopards 12
SWD 17 Boland 12
DHL WP 32 Blue Bulls 21
Pumas 12 Limpopo Blue Bulls 45
Eastern Province 0 Border 12
Griffons 19 Griquas 54
KwaZulu-Natal 17 Namibia 12
Free State 34 Golden Lions 12
Valke 7 Boland 22
Blue Bulls 31Pumas 19
Leopards 0 SWD 39
DHL WP 29 Limpopo Blue Bulls 24
Border 7 Griquas 40
Plate 3rd/4th-place play-off:
Valke 24 Pumas 19
KwaZulu-Natal 26 Free State 21
Boland 52 Blue Bulls 12
Cup 3rd/4th-place play-off:
Leopards 31 Limpopo Blue Bulls 14
SWD 24 DHL WP 31