As suggested last week and from the results delivered during the season, the SA Rugby U21 Championship threw up a few surprises at the semifinal stage last weekend. Given their dominance throughout the season, we fully expected Blue Bulls to put up a cricket score against an exceedingly average Sharks outfit.
Boy, were we in for a surprise – the match was a lot closer than it had any right to be. Although the Bulls did win (42-41) in the end, it could presumably have gone either way. But whether that was due to superior play by the team from Durban (unlikely) or typically incompetent refereeing (far more likely), we can’t say definitively because we weren’t at Loftus and the match wasn’t televised.
The other semifinal should have been a lot closer – again, looking at the table on which both sides finished level on points – but it wasn’t. Free State were just never in the game and Western Province romped home to a 52-10 victory.
These results set up the final this Saturday afternoon at Loftus. And the very good news is that is will be broadcast on television – unlike any other U21 championship match this entire season.
Looking at the schedule, it looks like an early curtain raiser to the Currie Cup Premier Division final between Cheetahs and Golden Lions. There’ll presumably be a lot of talking heads sprouting platitudes between the two games, which might be a good time to get the braai going.