Following two weekends of action, it was the Balkans Honey Badgers that lifted the Franchise Championship Trophy at Danie Craven. The franchise’s Women’s side led by Richard van den Broek also won the Stellenbosch Cup, as did their Boys team a little earlier in the day.
It was also a day of double delight for the San Clemente Rhinos, who picked up the Men’s Cup by upsetting the Blue Bulls and the Girls team who beat the Balkans Honey Badgers convincingly in the winelands.
MOMENTS OF THE DAY
YOUTH RUGGA ROOTS – At Danie Craven Stadium, hundreds of children from U6 to U9 level played games on the facility’s external fields before playing their own finals on the main pitch. Players from each of the franchise’s watched on and interacted with the youth players as they played the game, we all love. It was a truly wonderful sight, and we are all so grateful to have seen so many players and parents come to participate in the action.
ONE TEAM OF BADGERS – Watching the Balkans Honey Badgers lift the Franchise Championship Trophy was a real treat. For plenty of players who scarcely knew one another just a couple of weeks ago, it was stunning to see the camaraderie that had been created in such a small space of time between the Women’s, Men’s, Boys and Girls teams.
DEAF RUGBY COMES TO DANIE CRAVEN – SA Deaf Rugby in association with Rugby Tens Championship arranged for an exhibition game to be played between deaf schools, De La Bat School and the Dominican School for Deaf Children. Coming from a variety of backgrounds, the two local teams were supported ferociously from the stands.
ACADEMY – POOL PLAY
Day two of play at Danie Craven Stadium established the Balkans Honey Badgers and San Clemente Rhinos as the top Boys and Girls teams.
In the Girls competition, Rhinos consolidated their position in the Cup Final with a 19-5 win over the Cape Town Wild Dogs, as the Blue Bulls Daisies drew 5-5 with the Serengeti Elephants and Honey Badgers kicked the day off with a 31-10 win over the Wild Dogs.
Those results put the Bulls and Cape Town into the fourth versus fifth fixture, a game that the Daisies duly won 15-0. In the second versus third game, the Badgers made their way into the Final with a narrow 7-5 win over Serengeti.
For the Honey Badgers Boys side, it was a more difficult road to lifting their first trophy of the day. Playing two Pool games in the morning, in which they beat the Elephants 19-12 and the Rhinos 43-14, the team were very clearly nowhere near finished.
Elsewhere the Blue Bulls would overcome the Wild Dogs 28-14. In the fourth versus fifth fixture, the Wild Dogs would beat Rhinos 26-10, while to book their place in the Cup Final, the Elephants subjected the Bulls to a 10-7 loss.
ACADEMY – PLAYOFFS
Boys Cup Final | Balkans Honey Badgers 19 – 0 Serengeti Elephants
After such strong Pool Play, the Balkans Honey Badgers romped home to a 19-0 win over the Serengeti Elephants on the Danie Craven Stadium field. It was a feisty encounter between the two teams.
In the first half, each side merely tested one another out although the Badgers did strike through their dangerous #15. Going into the lead seemed to calm the side down and play more expansive rugby.
Very much the side on top, the team secured themselves the opportunity to lift a cup with a try for #10 and then #14, the side applauded off the field bu their senior counterparts, while the girls team waited in the tunnel.
Girls Cup Final | San Clemente Rhinos 39 – 0 Balkans Honey Badgers
A comprehensive victory from start to finish the San Clemente Rhinos put the Balkans Honey Badgers to the sword in fine fashion to pick up their second Cup in the space of a week. A double for #6 came before the half-time whistle, as did tries for #14, #3 and #15.
Scoring slowed down in the second-half, as San Clemente added two more to their tally. These scores were mere seconds apart, #6’s try added to by #14 who collected the loose restart to speed over the whitewash and secure a silverware for another week.
PROFESSIONALS – POOL PLAY
Women | Balkan Honey Badgers 12 – 7 Cape Town Wild Dogs
With this win over the Cape Town Wild Dogs, the Balkan Honey Badgers confirmed themselves as the favourites to win the Stellenbosch Cup. Their fortunes were in part helped by three first-half yellows for the Wild Dogs, the Badgers getting over the line thanks to Rebekah Cordero Tufuga and Veroeshka Grain scores.
Back to a full compliments of players, the second half was a far closer affair. With little between the two teams, it was Janet Okelo’s converted try that put a close to the contest.
Men | Serengeti Elephants 17 – 24 Balkans Honey Badgers
In continuation of their spate of good form, the Balkans Honehy Badgers survived a late Serengeti Elephants comeback to put themselves in hot contention for top spot. It was one way traffic in the opening 10 minutes, Donovan du Randt, Leon Carstens and Henco Martins giving Sean Eramus’ team a commanding lead.
Le Roux Malan would extend the Badgers’ lead further, but a response from DTH van der Merwe’s Elephants wasn’t far behind. A double for Trinidad and Tobago’s Jonathan Taylor and a score for Danny Tusitala allowing for a nervy finish.
Women | Blue Bulls Daisies 12 – 38 Serengeti Elephants
For a time, it seemed as though we would be experiencing the shock of the weekend as the Blue Bulls Daisies left the Serengeti Elephants stunned for much of the first half. Maria Tsheremba streaking past her opponents for two quick fire tries, shocking an Elephants team laden with international talent.
Prior to the half, Carys Dallinger’s try got Serengeti on the board, while in the second half a double for Rosie Kelly and scores for Shakira Baker, Valentine Husser and Harmony Ioane put the fixture to bed.
Men | Blue Bulls 14 – 10 Cape Town Wild Dogs
Next up on the quest to upset the Blue Bulls was the Cape Town Wild Dogs. Ryno Combrinck’s team went about things the right way, with only missed conversions standing between them and a point, a losing bonus point the team’s reward for their exploits.
Just two points behind at the break after conceding a Jack Hart try early on, Rosco Warren’s score just prior to the break putting the Wild Dogs within touching distance. The Bulls pressed ahead with a Charles Goedals finish, Craig Hunt’s impressive sprint through nothing more than a consolation score for the team.
Women | San Clemente Rhinos 0 – 0 Cape Town Wild Dogs
It was a complete stalemate as the San Clemente Rhinos and Cape Town Wild Dogs played out a 0-0 draw. More than anything else, neither side got that spot of good luck that they needed in order to break the deadlock.
Men | San Clemente Rhinos 12 – 7 Balkans Honey Badgers
To end the first session of the day, the San Clemente Rhinos beat the Balkans Honey Badgers. Much of their work was done in the first half, as Christiaan du Toit and Sama Malolo finished smartly.
For much of the second half, it was the Honey Badgers’ game to lose. A try for Henco Martins got Sean Erasmus’ team on the scoresheet, although Waisale Serevi’s team saw out the final minutes.
PROFESSIONALS – PLAYOFFS
Women 4v5 | Blue Bulls Daisies 5 – 32 Serengeti Elephants
For a second weekend in a row, the Blue Bulls Daisies finished fifth overall in the Women’s competition. Their opponents were the finalists from a week ago, Aimee Sutorius’ Serengeti Elephants. Former Black Fern Shakira Baker was the first to breach the plain, the destructive ball carrier adding another before the break, either side of scores for Rosie Kelly and Zoe Tuyu.
With the game pretty much wrapped up, Cinanda Potgieter’s try for the Daisies meant precious little, Rhiarna Ferris and Carys Dallinger’s tries the icing on the cake of their win.
Men 4v5 | Serengeti Elephants 21 – 14 Cape Town Wild Dogs
It was a thrilling finish to this fixture, leaving the Cape Town Wild Dogs with heads in hands, and the Serengeti Elephants elated. The reason for which is simple, the team in yellow and black leading 14-0 at the break by virtue of tries for Kainoa Lloyd and Rosco Warren.
In spite being two converted tries down, the Elephants would draw themselves level, Romeo Ponge Prince and then Jonathan Taylor making it a tie. It was only thanks to a frankly frightening Roland van der Heever carry that the Elephants completed their stunning turnaround.
Women 2v3 | San Clemente Rhinos 0 – 7 Cape Town Wild Dogs
To make the Women’s Cup Final, Justin Benn’s Cape Town Wild Dogs had to overcome a stubborn San Clemente Rhinos team. They did so thanks to just the one try, their efforts at Danie Craven meaning that they go one step further than a week prior in making the Cup Final.
Throughout both the Pretoria and Stellenbosch Cups there has been one weapon in particular that the team has called upon, and Felicia Jacobs delivered again. Scored in the opening exchanges, the South Africa international danced her way past defenders prior to dotting down.
Men 2v3 | San Clemente Rhinos 29 – 0 Balkans Honey Badgers
In order to secure themselves a place in the Men’s Cup Final, the San Clemente Rhinos bagged a comprehensive win against the Balkans Honey Badgers. Christiaan du Toit fed the ball inside for the game’s opening try despite having already crossed the try line, JP du Plessis the eventual scorer.
It was a busy half for Du Plessis, who found himself in the sin bin just prior to the break, the South African shown yellow following Oscar Ouma’s score.
Women Cup Final | Balkans Honey Badgers 22 – 12 Cape Town Wild Dogs
In a simply stunning display, the Balkans Honey Badgers completed a second unbeaten weekend to lift the Stellenbosch Cup. Richard van den Broek and Anna-Lena Swartz’s team were best in class from start to finish, and in their final examination passed in flying colours.
Donelle Snyders got her team off to the best possible start with a try in the corner, denting the confidence of the Cape Town Wild Dogs early on. This early misfortune was compounded further when the team’s captain Pleuni Kievit managed to find her way over the whitewash in broken play.
Just prior to the break, those that had made their way to Danie Craven Stadium were treated to, yet another marauding Kaitlin Shave try. As she has done for the entirety of the two weekends competition, the Australian was able to leave her opposition behind her before scoring.
Cape Town did have the better of the second half, scoring two tries to the Badgers’ one. It was the eventual winners who scored first, Anna Caplice with a hard carry over the line, while tries for Tianna Janfield and Janet Okelo got Justin Benn and Cecil Afrika’s side on the scoresheet.
Men Cup Final | Blue Bulls 7 – 26 San Clemente Rhinos
In the shock result of the weekend, the San Clemente Rhinos stunned the Blue Bulls to lift the Stellenbosch Cup in a thrilling final.
Much like in their second versus third game earlier that afternoon, Rhinos were clinical. Their opening score was demonstrative of such, Eugene Hare sniping from the base of a ruck and driving low to put his team in the lead.
There wasn’t too much longer to wait for more tries. Jamaica international Jack Rampton, who grew into more of a threat at the weekend went on used his hulking frame to power past defenders and ultimately keep forward momentum.
Before the half was up, Blitzbok legend Branco du Preez stepped his way through, and San Clemente were reduced a player when Jake Cassidy took out a Blue Bulls man in the air.
Minutes after Hare extended Rhinos further, the Bulls finally got themselves on the scoresheet with Charles Goedals, whose mazy run evaded green and white shirts plenty. Despite being reduced a man again before the final whistle, San Clemente, were able to hold on to pick up a win that would have been surprising at the start of the day.
BALKANS HONEY BADGERS WIN THE FRANCHISE CHAMPIONSHIP
As it was designed, the Franchise Championship left plenty guessing until the final whistle. It was only following the Balkans Honey Badgers victory in the Women’s Cup Final that it was confirmed that the franchise would be lifting the Franchise Trophy at Danie Craven Stadium.
Thanks to their Women’s team remaining unbeaten, their men finishing third, boys as Cup champions and girls as runners-up to the San Clemente Rhinos.
All told, the franchise’s exploits mean that the side topped the Franchise Championship table with 28 points, just 0.5 points ahead of their nearest rivals, the Rhinos.
In third was the Serengeti Elephants, fourth was the Blue Bulls and in fifth was the Cape Town Wild Dogs.
Media release issued by Terras Communications on behalf of Rugby Tens Championship