Blunt WP battle past Cheetahs

Date published: August 15 2015

Western Province were made to work very hard to edge out the Free State Cheetahs 9-3 in Saturday's Currie Cup clash at a wet Newlands in Cape Town.

The result is WP's second win in as many rounds of the competition, but this was a far cry from the high-paced victory over the Griquas last week. 

The home side should actually consider themselves lucky for coming away with a positive result after Cheetahs centre Rayno Benjamin spilled the ball in the process of sliding over the try-line in the dying minutes after a last-ditch ankle tap by Kurt Coleman.

It was a rare moment of excitement in a dour affair, although hard-working WP forwards Rynhardt Elstadt and Sikhumbuzo Notshe played very well.

The Cheetahs led 3-0 at the end of a frankly boring first half thanks to a lone penalty from fly-half Fred Zeilinga. The only other noteworthy event of the first half was a yellow card shown to Cheetahs centre Benjamin for foul play.

The hosts had been the dominant side in the opening period, especially at scrum-time, but they turned down kickable points a number of times, only to be left empty handed due to basic errors near the Cheetahs' line. 

As the rain got heavier, the pattern of the home side ruling possession continued into the second half although Province were now taking the points on offer, and Demetri Catrakilis kicked the hosts into a 9-3 lead by the hour mark.

WP skipper Juan de Jongh was forced off with a serious knee injury, further blunting their already ineffective attack. 

The Cheetahs had no territory to work with and their cause was dealt a blow by two yellow cards in the space of five minutes. Replacement loose forward Gerhard Olivier went to the bin for repeated ruck infringements before he was joined by flank Henco Venter, who was punished for a high tackle. 

Even against 13 men WP couldn't break the Cheetahs' defence and the game would end tryless as the resilient Cheetahs clung on with a brave defensive effort.

The scorers:

For Western Province:
Pens: Catrakilis 3 

For Free State Cheetahs:
Pens: Zeilinga
Yellow cards: Benjamin, Olivier, H. Venter

Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Juan de Jongh (c), 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 Jan de Klerk, 19 Chris Cloete, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Kobus van Wyk

Free State Cheetahs: 15 AJ Coertzen, 14 Clayton Blommetjies, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Neil Jordaan, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Boom Prinsloo, 5 Francois Uys (c), 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Elandre Huggett, 17 Maks van Dyk, 18 Reniel Hugo, 19 Gerhard Olivier, 20 Tienie Burger, 21 Zee Mkhabela, 22 Tertius Kruger

Referee: Jaco van Heerden