DHL Western Province U19 showed great fighting spirit in their narrow 31-27 defeat against Vodacom Blue Bulls U19 at DHL Newlands on Saturday.
It was a tough first outing for the youngsters, who scored four tries and fought back valiantly their first game of the season, which was played as a curtain-raiser to the Vodacom Super Rugby clash between the DHL Stormers and the Cell C Sharks at DHL Newlands.
The opening exchanges were firce, with neither side giving an inch in a tense first 15 minutes in the sunshine at DHL Newlands.
The visitors opened the scoring when inside centre Jay Cee Nel burst through to put them 7-0 up.
The hosts got on the scoreboard with a penalty from flyhalf Chris Schreuder, but the Vodacom Blue Bulls U19 responded with a second try, through replacement prop Wiehan Bezuidenhout.
The Pretoria side would go into the half-time break with a commanding 19-3 advantage following a third try via flyhalf Vaughen Isaacs, leaving DHL Western Province U19 with it all to do in the second half.
They extended that lead early in the second half with a try in the corner from fullback Qamani Kota, which was converted from the touchline by Isaacs.
DHL Western Province U19 got over the tryline through a driving maul, with loosehead prop Dian Bleuler getting it down, but their opponents responded with a second try from Kota, to make it 31-8 heading into the final 15 minutes.
The home side were desperate to make a comeback and came up with tries from flyhalf Schreuder, big lock Ian Katwanga and replacement Henro Meyer, but it was not enough to avoid what was a narrow 31-27 defeat in the end.
For DHL WP U19:
Tries: Bleuler, Schreuder, Katwanga, Meyer
Cons: Schreuder 2
For Vodacom Blue Bulls U19:
Tries: Nel, Bezuidenhout, Isaacs, Kota 2
Cons: Isaacs 3
DHL Western Province U19: 15 Quan Eyman, 14 Angelo Davids, 13 David Kriel, 12 Waqar Solaan, 11 Aaron Zeederberg, 10 Christopher Schreuder, 9 Lucky Dlepu, 8 Francke Horn (captain), 7 Tonderai Chiwambutsa, 6 Bevan Prinsloo, 5 Herman le Roux, 4 Ian Katwanga, 3 Joshua du Preez, 2 Chris Rossouw, 1 Dian Bleuler.
Replacements: 16 Ru-Hann Greyling, 17 Alexander Mbete, 18 Hugo Pienaar, 19 Marcel Theunissen, 20 Henro Meyer, 21 Gerado Jaars, 22 David Coetzer, 23 Aydon Topley.