Craven Week hosts Western Province started their campaign with an easy 72-10 win over an outclassed Pumas outfit at Paarl Boys’ High on Monday.
There were also big wins on day one for the Golden Lions, Border and the Griffons.
Pre-tournament favourites WP found themselves 3-0 down early on, but then hit the turbo button to run away with things in the 70-minute clash on a warm winter’s day.
It was a quality 15-man performance that would have caught the attention of the other big guns and it could well be the Lions who they face next on Wednesday if the tournament organisers go that route.
They drew in the penultimate game in 2017, and it was the Lions who were selected for the Johannesburg final where they beat KwaZulu-Natal.
It would be a humdinger between two well-drilled units with big forwards and quick- silver backs.
Three of Province’s 11 tries were scored by outside centre Dawid Kellerman, who represented the team in 2017.
He is blessed with natural talent and is surely headed for the professional ranks — scouts from the big unions are in attendance and would have made a note of him.
The best try of the game — possibly the day — was scored by Pumas centre Siphesihle Mthethwa. The ball was turned over on the Pumas try line and from a maul Mthethwa gathered and ran the length of the field to score under the posts. Moments later he put in a monster tackle on the much bigger Province No8 Evan Roos that drove him metres backwards.
Roos capped a fine performance with two tries.
It was one-way traffic for the Lions who scored seven tries in their 46-25 victory over Eastern Province.
The Lions were committed at the breakdowns as well as moving the ball quickly from the rucks and mauls, which translated into points.
EP were forced to make close to 100 tackles, but they complicated matters by often losing possession and committing myriad basic mistakes.
The Griffons opened proceedings with a 61-17 win over the Blue Bulls XV before Border hammered Limpopo 68-17.
Play continues on Tuesday with Free State vs Blue Bulls top of the billing.