The Vodacom Blue Bulls U19’s had a slow start to their 2017 SA Rugby U19 Championship campaign as they suffered three defeats on the trot but bounced back with eight wins that saw the juniors qualify for an away semifinal against the Xerox Golden Lions U19’s in Johannesburg.
The Golden Lions proved too much for Pretoria young guns as they got the better of them in three matches including the semifinal but the Vodacom Blue Bulls U19’s results did improve against the Golden Lions as the season progressed.
Flyhalf Xander Kruger finished the season as top points scorer with 68 points (four tries, 18 conversions and four penalties) while wing JC Pretorius was the top try scorer as he dotted down seven times throughout 2017.
The squad now has their first full season of professional under their belt and it will only get harder for them as they try to break into senior professional rugby but their chances have been bolstered by the lessons learnt in 2017. As the old adage goes, “we all have to start somewhere”.
SA Rugby U19 Championship 2017 results:
Lost to DHL Western Province U19 (15-17)
Lost to Toyota Free State U19 (12-24)
Lost to Xerox Golden Lions U19 (21-39)
Beat Cell C Sharks U19 (33-21)
Beat Eastern Province U19 (46-3)
Beat Leopards (39-5)
Beat DHL Western Province U19 (22-19)
Beat Toyota Free State U19 (27-20)
Lost to Xerox Golden Lions U19 (31-49)
Beat the Cell C Sharks U19 (40-22)
Beat Eastern Province U19 (66-3)
Beat Leopards U19 (45-19)
Semifinal: Lost to Xerox Golden Lions U19 (31-43)
Vodacom Blue Bulls U19 2017 squad: Lee-Irwin Andries, Ruben Beytell, Damian Bonaparte, Theo Boshoff, Jerome Bossr, Johannes Stefan Coetzee, James Combrinck, KP de Jager, Cabous Eloff, Luke Fortuin, Werner Fourie, Marco Fuhri, Prince Gaoseb, Richman Gora, Chris Hollis, Etienne Janeke, Thando Kambule, Xander Kruger, Zandrè Kruger, Khwezi Mafu, Dewald Maritz, Raymond Nel, Litha Nkula, Ruan Nortje, Jay-C Olivier, Ryno Pieterse, Henry Pike, Chad Plato, Ewart Potgieter, Marnus Potgieter, JC Pretorius, JJ Scheepers, Hanru Sirgel, Eduan Smit, Mornay Smith, Ginter Smuts, Mihlali Stamper, Christian Strydom, André van der Merwe, Wian van Niekerk, Matthew Wessels