Just a couple of days after tasting the good life, Kwazulu-Natal and their supporters had to experience the flip side of the Craven Week experience when the team was beaten 17-8 by the Golden Lions on Wednesday.
The KZN boys never got going in this one. In the most obvious contrast to the match against Free State in which the players linked skilfully to unhinge the defence, this game showed up a team struggling for any sort of unity. There were some moments of individual brilliance but few of well organised team attacks. Poor handling, weak lineout work and difficulties in the scrum contributed to the frustration afternoon.
Jesse Kriel’s try was the standout highlight. It was even described as the try of the week to date. The fullback and stand in captain gathered a ball inside his own 22 in what at the very most should just have been a desperate attempted to salvage and then stabilise a defensive situation. However Kriel, probably in the form of his young career, somehow turned it into an 80-metre advance after beating off tackles, running hard, chipping and then coolly grabbing back the bouncing ball with an outstretched arm as a retreating defender was about collect it. It was a sublime score that must surely have sealed the Maritzburg College player’s place in the SA under-18 squad of 44.
The Lions have to be complimented on their win. They did their best to play to their strengths and it worked. However for a team that enjoyed quality possession and front-foot ball for the best part of the 70-minutes, there are also a few questions needing answers in their camp. They tended to be one-dimensional and will certainly have to show more innovation to overcome their next opponents on Saturday.
So for KZN it’s back to the drawing board. Hopefully they are able to come out firing and end the week on a high note. Their Saturday opponents will be determined based on today’s results and made know this evening.
KwaZulu-Natal : 8
For Golden Lions: 17
Tries: M Marx, Theron
Cons: Van der Walt 2
Pen: Van der Walt
Results for Wednesday, 11 July 2012:
09.30 : Griquas 15 Namibia 29
11.00 : Valke 38 Leopards 5
12.30 : Free State 14 Border 6
14.00 : Eastern Province 22 Boland 13
15.30 : KwaZulu Natal 08 Lions 17
Fixtures/Results for Thursday, 12 July 2012:
09.30 : Griquas Country Districts 38 Border Country Districts 5
11.00 : Limpopo 68 Zimbabwe 21
12.30 : Eastern Province Country 28 Districts Griffons 33
14.00 : Western Province 39 South Western Districts 33
15.30 : Blue Bulls 36 Pumas 10