Craven Week 2012 Fixtures : How Day 1 & 2 might turn out

The tried and tested format at Craven Week is amongst other considerations and objectives to work towards two teams, one from the Day 1 group and the other from the Day 2 group, meeting in Saturday’s unofficial final. This means that the main matches on days 3 and 4 have to more or less serve as semi-finals.

In the Day 2 group, the path forward seems very clear. There will a titanic Day 1 battle involving WP and the Bulls. Many believe that these two teams are the strongest at Craven Week 2012. Draws in rugby are fairly rare, so discounting the possibility of one, either the Bulls or WP will progress and probably meet another high-flying team, the champions of 2008 South Western Districts, in Thursday’s main game or “semi-final”.

In the Day 1 group things are definitely not as straightforward. There’s a feeling that the Golden Lions are the best team here and should rightfully be handed the toughest match-up on Wednesday. Unfortunately the Lions face a weakened Border team that will offer minimal resistance on the first day. The predicted one-sided outcome of this game will make it difficult to gauge the true strength of the Lions. Their possible Day-3 opponents could be any one of three teams because the Boland-Griquas, Free State-KZN and EP-Valke games are all interesting contests that could go either way.

In recent years being drawn to play against the mighty Greystaat on Day 1 at Craven Week would have been the kiss of death. The Free State recipe for success is based on being able to pick the majority of their teams for their Bloemfontein rugby factory in Jock Meiring Street aka Grey College. Here high calibre players, many of whom have the words “Springbok in the making” written all over their rugby DNA are in abundance most of the time. Free State would then fill the few remaining spaces in the 22-player squad with Louis Botha players. So before any Craven Week campaign even got underway, Greystaat as they are affectionately known, ticked two huge boxes under the heading of “Ingredients for Craven Week Success”, namely quality players and combinations that know one another well. This season is however a little different. Grey College are still a formidable force in SA SBR but they are by no means the top dogs and in comparison to previous years they seem to lack depth in terms of true quality. The result is only eleven Grey College boys form part of this year’s Craven Week squad and they carry with them to Port Elizabeth an unfamiliar label of “very beatable”.

For Kwazulu-Natal, the hearsay that Free State 2012, their first round opponents have been downgraded from the usual joint favourites status to contenders with a chance, has to be good news. Things are looking up for the Soutie team in terms of getting off to a winning start. It is however one of those year’s in which winning a big game like this might not be enough. If they do win, KZN have to hold thumbs that the organisers/selectors saw enough promise in their play to match up against the Golden Lions in a repeat of last year’s “semi-final”. The winner of a game like this would stand an extremely good chance of featuring in Saturday’s main match. Not getting the Lions gig wouldn’t be the end of the world though. It would in all likelihood result in a clash with another unbeaten team on Day 3 and a convincing winning performance might just persuade the powers that be that KZN are more deserving of a place in the final. If not, chances are good that KZN could come up against the losers of the Bulls-WP match in Saturday’s penultimate game.

But before even dreaming of a place in the final, for KZN the first objective is obviously to beat the young Cheetahs. Historically KZN are not strong enough to discard the efforts of even a weakened Free State team.

Day 1 ,  09 July 2012:

08.30 : Leopards 36 Namibia 29
10.00 : Boland 16 Griquas 12
11.30 : Golden Lions 29 Border 14
13.00 : KwaZulu-Natal 48 Free State 24
14.30 : Opening Ceremony
15.30 : Eastern Province 41 Valke 17

Day 210 July 2012:

09.30 : Zimbabwe 31 Border Country Districts 9
11.00 : Griquas Country Districts 27 Eastern Province Country Districts 28
12.30 : South Western Districts 46 Limpopo 18
14.00 : Pumas vs Griffons
15.30 : Western Province vs Blue Bulls

68 Comments

  1. And on Supersport.com for those of us at work. This is also where the Drifta has become very handy….

    ReplyReply
  2. Well Boland win the first of the important games 16-12 but they were far from convincing in a scrappy game. Big defence by both teams but poor protection of the ball at the ruck and lack of desire to do anything meaningful with ball in hand, preferring to kick rather than run the ball.

    ReplyReply
  3. Border have come with a massive first half effort. Despite having a much smaller pack, they have contested very well and are down just 14-16 at the break. The Lions have been disappointing. Some big names in their line-up.

    ReplyReply
  4. beet they are playing well, our front row is battling , loosies are good

    ReplyReply
  5. KZN are killing the FS. 36-3 at the break. KZN struggling in the scrums otherwise its all good.

    Msizi is carrying well. Khatide is doing his job well. Daniel du Preez is excellent. JL has been good. Moon is innovative and keeps the ball alive as usual. All players are doing really well. Passing particularly in the tackle outstanding. Jesse Kriel is having a blinder. He is seemingly unstoppable. Bruce Arnott has finished 2 tries really well.

    ReplyReply
  6. Boys running well. When last did you see tries being scored from 1st phase moves from your own half? KZN very good but OFS are not coached at all.

    ReplyReply
  7. KZN win 48-24 in the end. Just 2 tries in the second half. They took their foot off the pedal a bit and disciple at the breakdown was a problem all game but still an outstanding result. Well done to the boys and the coaches.

    ReplyReply
  8. Bit of a comeback from OFS but not good enough. Jesse was brilliant. Grey will do well to win any of their games in the 3rd term considering they have Affies, Glenwood and Kearsney and Paarl, I think?

    ReplyReply
  9. Dont they play Affies home and away? Did last year or was it just because it got rained out.

    ReplyReply
  10. brliiliant play by 1 -8 also 9,14 and 15…the rest pretty average, what happened to the creativeness spoken about by anderson – 3 mistakes in own half – luckely the fs team was particularly poor and i dont see them beating anyone at this cw

    ReplyReply
  11. Was a particularly pleasant game to watch. All the things KZN did well, Free State did badly. When the ball went to hand for us, Free State dropped it. The handling by the Du Preez’s, Moberly, Kriel and Cameron Wright was superb. I think, when all is said and done, that although many will have been unlucky to make it into the team, those that did make it deserve it just as much.

    WELL DONE! Hopefully they won’t alow it to go to their heads.

    ReplyReply
  12. Well done boys, an excellent result. Not sure what happened in the 2nd half as I could not watch the game, but it seems either we took our foot off the pedal or there were plenty of changes. Keep grounded and prepare for the next challenge.

    ReplyReply
  13. i thought our front row did well, daniel and moberly were quite good and that the loose trio was absolutely fantastic!!! Carel, Jean-Luc and Moon were very good and very solid except for the last 10 mins where they took their foot off the pedal . i think they can overcome whoever they play next if they play as well as they did in the 1st half. Cameron Wright supplied lovely ball while Anderson was also good, Kubheka had a quiet game while Marwana was good IMHO. Bruce Arnott had a great 1st half performance and scored two hard tries while Corne was not given much ball and his try actually came from a Free State guy but he was solid when they needed him to be. Jesse Kriel for me was Excellent and deserved the MOTM award, what a performance! just would have been better if his brother was there to dominate with him!!

    WELL DONE KZN!!
    Bulls vs WP should be good tomorrow,
    also, Jaco van der walt from Lions played well and in my opinion is actually much better than Pollard on attack

    ReplyReply
  14. @HORSEFLY NO.1: Jaco played a decent game but in my opinion the Framesby no.10 Stapelberg of EP was the best flyhalf today.

    What I really liked about Cameron Wright today apart from the huge pressure he put on his opposite number was on attack, he’s no glory boy. He has such a wide range of skills and the temptation must have been there to try and do a solo mission or 2 but instead we witnessed a 100% team player.

    ReplyReply
  15. @Grasshopper: Definitely foot off the pedal in the second half. We missed a few tackles and conceded way too many penalties at the breakdown. But the job was done and there are bigger fish to fry now, so no point risking injury. We unfortunately lost Msizi Zondi in the second half to injury.

    ReplyReply
  16. EP had an outstanding game as well. I think KZN will be paired with EP in the main game on Wednesday. For me the Lions did not do enough to justify consideration for that game. I think the Lions and Boland will meet in the second last game of the day.

    ReplyReply
  17. Very proud of the boys. I was a bit concerned about the balance of the loosies but they interacted perfectly as a unit with Swart doing a lot of the dog work. Zondi had a great game and hopefully the injury is not too serious. We must however not get ahead of ourselves( but boy is the beer tasting good.)

    ReplyReply
  18. Lions up next on Wednesday at 3:30pm. Strange decision coz I really though that it should have been us vs EP who were also outstanding today.

    Anyway us KZN fans will have to brace ourselves for a strong dose of Malcolm Marx. So many good things written about him this season. This is the game that matters most.

    ReplyReply
  19. @beet
    Which of the two teams do you think would seriously challenge KZN? Has to be Lions. Anyways I hope its a good match and KZN will want to avenge the loss at the same stage last year, they definitely have the quality to do so!

    RE: Marx

    Some of these boys have played against him and will know what to expect, the coach will definitely have a plan to nullify the big hooker. The loosies will have to play their best games ever as I feel they are. A very big part of KZNs attack and defence, vd Walt vs Anderson should be good also.
    KZN have the quality to pull through!!!!

    ReplyReply
  20. @HORSEFLY NO.1: I honestly thought EP not the Golden Lions were the better team on the day and that’s what’s suppose to count. EP had tougher opposition and made lighter work of obtaining their victory.

    The Lions do have a quality side on paper that’s why I made them out to be my pre-tournament favourites in the Day 1 group. But it’s all about producing the goods.

    That’s why I’m surprised that KZN aren’t playing EP who based on today’s performance could have given us a good run for our money.

    It’s all about beating the Lions now. So hopefully the guys can stay focussed and continue the good work.

    ReplyReply
  21. Pity about the empty stadium – lacked atmosphere , but was impressed with the guys especially Kriel – surely Province with Pollard there poses the biggest challange to our guys

    ReplyReply
  22. I am sure it is policy to rotate players and so Zondi should be joined on the bench by Wright ,Moon, Marwana, Vermaak ect. I hope that KZN do not lose any momentum. Also I presume that whoever wins the Lions v KZN match should have a good chance of playing in the unofficial final.

    ReplyReply
  23. Maybe I am wrong but perhaps EP have been given a ‘hometown draw’? If they have another big result they may sneak in front of the winner of the Lions/KZN match? Conspiracy theories, gotta love it. :mrgreen:

    ReplyReply
  24. Beet- where did Moons Hit and Spin come from? Have you been influencing the father?

    ReplyReply
  25. Star. With regard to rotation i believe that every player has to play at least one full game. Beet, maybe you can clarify this? I noticed that EP and some of the other teams played a lot of their bench guys in their first games. This would allow their strongest team to play on the 2nd and 3rd days. Could be a challenge for sides that still have to rotate but maybe the difference between bench and starters is not big.

    ReplyReply
  26. @All Black: I don’t think its written into the rules but rotation is the accepted norm for the second game with the strongest possible team within regulations playing again on Saturday.

    I think with a squad of 22 and with the criteria surrounding selections, determining strongest team does become a little more of a grey area. For example the Lions no.17 and 18 are very good players. They started the 1st game and will presumably revert to the bench on Weds but its hard to believe that the players who wear the lower numbers and will replace them will be any better.

    But yes if a team did play its strongest possible team in the first game, the second game will be that much harder.

    ReplyReply
  27. I see the Lions started their match against Border with the whole bench, bar 1 in the line up. Marx etc were on the bench. Not sure if they all came on but it does mean that they will be starting with most of their 1-15 players.

    ReplyReply
  28. @greenhopper – think you missing the point, alot was made of his inclusion as a result of his ability to create something, and against a very weak FS team he created zip – couple of mistakes in the first half with ball in hand is all we saw of him

    ReplyReply
  29. @boxkick:i don’t think so , really who else was or could have been chosen, i thought considering the change in level from school to Craven week, he handled it with maturity and played well, and did what he had to and it worked , the backline performed well and he was restrained from trying to be to adventurous against a very good backline.
    I don’t recall the debate about or surrounding the Selection of Fly Half , but his selection was spot on IMHO

    ReplyReply
  30. I thought the OFS backline was as poor as you can get. They failed to do anything right on the day.

    ReplyReply
  31. @greenhopper – dont want to argue the point with you too much but you missing the point in the sense that I didnt say that he wasnt the best flyhalf in KZN. Furthermore, I dont think the FS backline is in any way shape or form a “verry good” backline, having said that, the KZN forwards were immense in that game…the debate surrounding the flyhalf position started right at the beginning of the year if memory serves, anyways, KZN will come up against the LIONS tomorrow so good luck to both teams

    ReplyReply
  32. Talking about flyhalves, I was really impressed by EP’s Ernst Stapelberg. I thought he was flyhalf of day 1

    ReplyReply
  33. Everyone is talking about the Bull and WP being the 2 big guns but SWD might still have something to say at this Craven Week.

    ReplyReply
  34. @beet – I agree on Stapelberg on the one hand, and on the other hand look at things in context….thus being the oposition

    ReplyReply
  35. @All regarding flyhalves, did anyone see how the Academy flyhalves went? I think it was Warren Potgieter and Makasi……

    ReplyReply
  36. Beet:Yep. SWD always come up with a good side. They seem to produce rugby players.

    ReplyReply
  37. @boxkick: I wish I could disagree. Because the team comes from the Valke region, there is a common perception that they should be no better than their senior counterparts when the truth is that there is just as much potential in that region at school level as there is in say KZN or EP or Border. I would go so far as to say that if we removed Greystaat, WP and the Bulls from the Craven Week equation and looked at the competitiveness of the remaining teams: SWD, Boland, Griffons, Pumas, Leopards, Border, EP, Limpopo, Valke and KZN etc over the last 10 years, trends might show that there wasn’t much to choose between these teams. But I’ve watched EG and now the Valke these past couple of years and can’t help believe that there is something missing that’s preventing them from reaching or sustaining their max on the field. Maybe its the coaching or the attitude but I feel that the team has the potential to be way better than what we often see. This year’s EG game against Affies is proof of how good they are capable of being, yet they so seldom seem to reach that same level during the season.

    So I agree. On the day we perhaps have to say look at who EP played against altho it should be wow! what a win for EP. Beating that Valke team is no mean feat.

    ReplyReply
  38. With regards to Anderson at Flyhalf – I think he had an “ok” game and did everything he needed to, have to agree with Boxkick to a degree, was expecting to see him spark the backline into action which never happened. In fact I don’t remember Khubeka carrying much ball at all and not many backline plays the entire game … this all due to the fact that KZN did most of the damage from broken play with an immense contribution from their forwards.

    I reckon we could struggle against a more structured defence – tomorrow will be interesting.

    ReplyReply
  39. @beet: Have to agree with you there beet – Valke are a pretty strong union. In a recent IPT with teams from U13 to U18 they managed to get into the final in each age group. Certainly no shortage of talent there.

    ReplyReply
  40. @beet – the problem is that the schools in that region do not get to play the bigger guns on a regular basis – you mention that you saw the game against Affies, did you also see the game against a weak Grey side, and in that lies my argument…untill such time as their tier 1 schools play big matches week in and week out – they will remain where they are, the coaching and boys really dont understand what it is to play tough matches week after week…

    ReplyReply
  41. @pedantic – I think we watched the same game…(wrt anderson) and I am glad someone else also noted this….tomorrow is the first time they will get btested to an extent and should they win and get to the final game on saturday – GOD help them

    ReplyReply
  42. From the little I have seen the following players have stood out. 15. Bulls 14. Bulls 13. EP 12. Bulls 11. WP 10. WP 9. Bulls 8. EP 7. Sharks 6. Valke 5. SWD 4. Sharks 3. Boland 2. No player but Marx should be best. 1. Bulls.

    The Bulls 9 was outstanding. The ball he got from his forwards was not good as they seemed disjointed at the breakdowns allowing WP a few turn overs. I would target this area if we played against them. Worral (WP 15) is good but made a few mistakes. Kriel has some big opposition. The Bulls fellow was brilliant with his eye for space.

    ReplyReply
  43. @All Black: Good selections. I thought the Bulls no.9 was excellent yesterday.

    At 6. I liked the the EP Gr.11 player Vellerman and I still think the EP 10 Stapelberg showed the best form. Of the other EP backs I liked their 12 Nieuwoudt and their 11 Davids.

    Also liked the Bulls no.8 Meiring.

    ReplyReply
  44. Beet: Was a little concerned with the Bulls forwards at ruck time but when the ball was out they were good. No Lions player really came through. I have put Pollard in as he is a certainty but seemed to be injured yesterday. Little 11 for Bulls just does not die with the ball. Two best players of the day were Bulls 9 and 15.

    ReplyReply
  45. @Beet: I agree with you about Stapelberg – he certainly looked the part. Pollard had an awful game yesterday and would not have made the JWC team on that showing. However, I think his name was already typed on the team list for SA Schools some weeks ago.

    The 2 best fullbacks have been the Bulls 15 and Kriel – different styles of play, but both stood out. Du Preez boys, Moberly and the Bulls prop (captain) have been the other standout players for me.

    ReplyReply
  46. @NW_Knight: The interesting thing about the Bulls 15 Hayward is that the Union brought him to Centurion from Limpopo province if the info passed on is correct. He showed a good range of skills on attack. I don’t recall him being tested much on defence. I recall Jesse having to do a few things as a defender and coming up trumps for KZN. But Bulls 15 is good. I liked the way the Bulls centres complimented each other. Also thought the Bulls wing Khoza played like a guy possessed. Full of energy.

    But despite all the good players in that Bulls – WP game, the scrummy was still my pick of the lot.

    ReplyReply
  47. The way the draw has been done we can expect a Bulls/KZN final game. SWD and EP will most probably be the two teams who could say they did enough to be in the final game. All comes down to what happens today. Bulls will not be troubled tomorrow against Pumas.

    ReplyReply
  48. @All Black: Yes the format makes things tricky. I would have thought that SWD beating WP a few days before Craven Week would have counted for something in the minds of the selectors when deciding on the Day 4 match-ups. Now we could possibly be set up for a semi controversial choice of a SWD – EP unofficial final as well, even tho it will be hard to deny the Bulls a place at this stage.

    ReplyReply
  49. @greenhopper – your boy at anderson 10 must be the weakest I have seen in a long time….he is the only one in the KZN side that doesnt need to shower after the game…….he does nothing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

    ReplyReply
  50. Lions dominate! Their forwards were superb!! Our boys couldn’t do much there! They played more of Blue bulls type rugby. Will be good to see them vs a just as big Bulls pack on saturday.
    Unlucky KZN, nothing seemed to go right there but well done Jesse Kriel! What a try there!
    Also 1/5 or 6 in terms of goalkicking cost us and also losing 8 lineouts! Hardman was very poor and so were the jumpers!
    Nkosi I felt was good when he needed to and should be retained for the next game, and also Anderson was sooo bad its not even funny!
    The doops seemed to do something once they started playing together but 2 boys were never gonna pull it off!

    I still think Jaco van der Walt is no.1 flyhalf therpp

    ReplyReply
  51. @Horsie, see my posts on the other thread. Do you think Makasi or Leroux Van Zyl would have been better options at flyhalf? I heard our front row got slaughtered, we were all worried about their lack of size before the tourno. Also, the big question is why did we play our B team today and not Monday knowing the Free State were weaker than usual? Anyway, another long year to wait to make a final….

    ReplyReply

Leave a Reply