THE Eastern Province U/18 rugby team produced some spectacular rugby at this year’s Craven Week at Rondebosch High in Cape Town.
The results looked good, two wins from three matches, but it was the entertaining style of attacking rugby that EP produced under Coach Elric van Vuuren, of Despatch, that was most impressive last week.
The lineouts and defence let them down at times though and at stages EP struggled in the scrums.
After EP lost the first match against Griquas, they didn’t get the opportunity to take on the big guns but made up for that with two convincing victories over Boland and the Limpopo Bulls.
In the process, EP scored 16 tries, some of them real gems, against 10.
Loose forwards, Max du Pisani (Nico Malan) and Burrie “Asyn” van Heerden (Marlow), were the top EP try scorers with three apiece. Du Pisani scored a try in every match.
Fly half, Logan Muller (Framesby), was the overall top points scorer at the week. He scored two tries and the rest came off his educated left boot, for 43 points in the three matches.
In the match against Boland, Muller scored in every possible way with a try, two conversions, a penalty and a drop goal. Du Pisani was the only EP player recognised for his outstanding performances when the South African Schools selectors named two squads to represent the SA Schools and SA Schools A teams this year.
These teams will play against each other in Cape Town on Saturday, giving Du Pisani another opportunity to impress all and sundry.
Du Pisani did not start the week as the first choice loose forward for EP but grabbed his opportunity with both hands when he came off the bench and made an immediate impact against Griquas.
He then played brilliantly in the other two matches, winning many metres with his powerful runs, doing great work at the breakdowns, defending strongly and keeping up a tremendous work rate. Du Pisani is the obvious choice as our panel’s EP player of the week but Luvuyo Nkompela (left wing, Grey), Mihle Matinise (centre, Grey) and Juan Baard (flanker, Framesby) also impressed the experts.
James Winstanley from EP has been named as the assistant-coach of the SA Schools team. He is the coach of the Kingswood College first XV in Makhanda.
U/18 Craven Week, Rondebosch: Griquas 39, EP 22; EP 25, Boland 12; EP 66, Limpopo Blue Bulls 17.
U/18 Academy Week, Wellington: Boland 43, EP 22; EP 41, Pumas 12; EP 33, Blue Bulls 26.
Moment of the week: Muller doing a score, drop and place with 15 points against Boland.