The DHL Western Province Under-21 team continued their excellent away form in 2015, with a brilliant 51-22 win over the Blue Bulls’ Under-21s in Absa Provincial U21 action in Pretoria on Saturday.
The DHL WP U21s have now won three games from three on the road this season, but this was without doubt their best away win of the lot as they converted their 22-15 half-time lead into a runaway victory in the end.
Scrumhalf Justin Phillips and hooker Chad Solomon weighed in with first-half tries, Solomon doing brilliantly in close-contact for their opening score, whilst the boots of Jean-Luc du Plessis and Grant Hermanus were responsible for 12 points between them in the opening 40 minutes.
Fullback Hermanus – who scored his team’s bonus point try in the second half (in the 57th minute), as well as their final try in the 77th minute – kicked two booming first-half penalties, one from an incredible 60 metres and one from ‘just’ 50 metres.
The Province defence was again deadly, as it was in the wet in Cape Town last weekend, with a massive defensive effort denying the Bulls during a crucial phase of the match before half-time and the match ending with a Bulls player being bundled into touch near the DHL WP line. The entire team defended well, as a unit, whilst they used their opportunities on attack when they presented themselves too.
The DHL WP Under-21 team’s remaining tries were scored by right-wing Khanyo Ngcukana, following a brilliant break and over-handed pass by replacement Ryno Eksteen, and loosehead prop Liam Hendricks who rounded the Bulls defence like a seasoned centre.
Flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis converted two of his team’s three second-half tries, to come away with 13 points on the day, not even a late yellow card could sour his – or the team’s – performance on the day. Hermanus ended up with a match haul of 18 points through his two tries, one conversion and two long-range penalty goals.
For the Vodacom Blue Bulls Under-21:
Tries: Van Staden, Swanepoel, Els
Cons: Stander, Marais
For DHL Western Province Under-21:
Tries: Phillips, Solomon, Ngcukana, Hermanus 2, Hendricks
Cons: J du Plessis 2, Hermanus
Pens: J du Plessis 3, Hermanus 2
Blue Bulls Under-21: 15 Ganfried May, 14 Jixie Molapo, 13 Peet Schoeman, 12 Adrian Maebane, 11 Keanon van Wyk, 10 Joshua Stander, 9 Theo Maree, 8 Jsuanre Swanepoel, 7 Abongile Nonkontwana, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Nicholaas Janse van Rensburg (captain), 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Nqoba Mxoli, 2 Corniel Els, 1 Stefaan Grundlingh.
Replacements: 16 Jan van Der Merwe, 17 Matthys Basson, 18 Riekert Hattingh, 19 Heinrich Viljoen, 20 JP Smith, 21 Kobus Marais, 22 Dewald Human.
DHL Western Province Under-21: 15 Grant Hermanus, 14 Khanyo Ngcukana, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Daniel du Plessis, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis (vice-captain), 9 Justin Phillips, 8 Rikus Bothma (captain), 7 Christo van der Merwe, 6 Luke Stringer, 5 David Ribbans, 4 Johannes Momsen, 3 Frans van Wyk, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 Liam Hendricks.
Replacements: 16 Martin Wipplinger, 17 Wesley Adonis, 18 Devon Nash, 19 Jacques Vermeulen, 20 SP Ferreira, 21 Ryno Eksteen, 22 Sibahle Maxwane.
Referee: Jaco Pretorius