Picture: 123RF/RADUTUTA
Picture: 123RF/RADUTUTA

The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks held off a late charge from Free State to bag a 29-20 victory in the final Craven Week game of the day in Paarl on Thursday.

It should see the Sharks playing Western Province in the unofficial final on Saturday.

The Sharks and WP are unbeaten in the tournament, setting the scene for a titanic struggle at Paarl Boys High.

Province beat the Pumas on Monday and the Golden Lions on Wednesday, while the Sharks had to work hard to beat South Western Districts (SWD) in their opener on Tuesday.

The Sharks have a strong side with seven of the class of 2017 returning and a host of boys from the unbeaten Glenwood High School.

Free State had 10 caps from the unbeaten Grey College.

In other matches played on Thursday, the Leopards knocked over Griquas 17-6 before the Golden Lions were again tamed, this time by a fired-up SWD XV from the Klein Karoo who showed scant respect for big reputations in delivering a 28-24 win.

Then it was the turn of the WP XV to have a crack at a second consecutive win and they duly obliged with a hard-fought 26-8 triumph over a plucky Valke outfit, before Boland edged the Blue Bulls 19-17 in the penultimate 70-minute match.

It is a rest day for the players on Friday and then the climax to a tournament that has seen plenty of talent on display and rugby of a high order.