Free State’s Teboho Rampai scoring a try against Boland in the U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week at St Stithians College is attached. Photo Credit: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

JOHANNESBURG – Host province the Golden Lions laid down a marker at the Craven Week at St Stithians College on Monday by beating Border 44-8 in the final game of the opening day.
They scored seven tries, five of them in the second half, to run out comfortable winners after the Eastern Cape side arguably had the best of the first half, holding the Lions to 13-8 at half time.
Border were unable to add to their score after the break, while the Lions backs got into gear and ran them ragged in the end.
Centre Yanga Hlalu notched up a hat-trick of tries and looked unstoppable at times.
Fullback Kennedy Mpeku was also full of running for the hosts and was rewarded with a try. 
The other Lions try-scorers were Tinus Combrink, David Cary and Stefan le Roux. Mpeku kicked a penalty and a conversion, with Luke Rossouw and Muzi Manyike also adding conversions.
Free State were also impressive on day one, running in 12 tries in demolishing Boland 81-26, showing in the process that there is nothing wrong with their traditional running game following their disappointing showing at last year’s event.
Wing Henk Cilliers dotted down four times for Free State, while Ruhan Greyling got two tries.
In the opening day’s other big game, Western Province showed that they have every intention of extending their two year-long unbeaten record at the week in beating a plucky Pumas side 36-10, after leading 19-3 at the break.
The Pumas defence was fierce in the opening half and they frustrated their fancied opponents at times.
In the end, however, the pace and guile of the Province backs were too much for them and they were well beaten. 
Christian Rossouw, Janko Swanepoel, Vian Fourie, Gerado Jaars, Dewald Kellerman and Muller du Plessis scored the WP tries, while Darren Hoffman converted three of them. 
The Lions played most of their reserves in the game and one fancies that they will get better as the week progresses.
Just who they will be pitted against in their second outing on Wednesday will be interesting.
Logic says they should play Western Province, but that would mean that the two sides that most regard as the best at the week will not meet in the prestigious final fixture next Monday.
At the Under-18 Academy Week, running concurrently with the Craven Week, there were big wins for Eastern Province Country and the Sharks.
Eastern Province drew with Griquas and Western Province were given a scare by their neighbours Boland. They scored a last-gasp try to win 38-31 in the end.
Craven Week
Griquas Country 28 Griffons 27, Limpopo Blue Bulls 41 Border Country 3, Free State 81 Boland 26, Western Province 36 Pumas 10, Golden Lions 44 Border 8.
Academy Week
Valke Red 41 Limpopo Blue Bulls 12, EP Country 62 Griquas Country 3, Sharks Griffons 48 Country 31, Eastern Province 22 Griquas 22, Sharks 46 SWD 7, Western Province 38 Boland 31.
IOL Sport