It was a bittersweet weekend for the Vodacom Western Province youngsters in their respective Absa national age-group competitions.
The WP under-21 side, coached by Rassie Erasmus, lost their unbeaten record when they were thumped 41-14 by the Natal Sharks in Durban on Saturday.
The home side led 16-9 at halftime. WP are still in the race for a semifinal berth though. They are in third place on the points' table on 22 points after 6 games. The Sharks have also played 6 games and have 25 points - one behind log leaders the Blue Bulls.
The Bulls, however, have played 7 games.
Province know that they would have to show a lot of improvement if they want to challenge for the honours. The Sharks dismantled them with a display of complete rugby on Saturday, in the process scoring 5 tries to clinch a bonus point.
Kyle Cooper (2), Mark Richards (2) and Lubabalo Mtembu touched down, while flyhalf Guy Cronjé added 2 conversions and 4 penalties.
For WP flyhalf Gary van Aswegen scored 3 penalties and replacement scrumhalf Nicholas Groom scored a try.
The Vodacom WP under-21 side of coach Nazeem Adams fought hard and resolutely to hang on for an exciting 28-25 victory.
The Sharks staged a great comeback and scored a goal in the last minute via a try by Kieran Gross that was converted by Ryno Olivier, but it was all a little too late.
Province are still setting the pace at the top of the log. They are unbeaten after 6 games with 27 points, followed by archrivals the Blue Bulls at 25 points and one defeat after 6 outings.
Against the Sharks flyhalf Willem van Wyk, inside centre Samuel Lane and left wing Sizo Maseko scored tries. Van Wyk added a conversion, a penalty and a drop goal. Fullback Ulrich Beyers also converted a try and slotted a penalty.
For the Sharks Francois Kleynhans and Goss scored tries, while Olivier added a conversion, a penalty and a drop goal.
Both WP teams take on their counterparts of the Free State Cheetahs at Newlands on Friday.