Western Province were crowned Currie Cup champions on Saturday as they edged the Golden Lions 19-16 at Newlands Stadium.
Western Province were crowned Currie Cup champions on Saturday, beating the Golden Lions 19-16 at Newlands.
Lions fly-half Marnitz Boshoff missed a last-minute penalty to hand the home side the narrowest of victories in a gripping encounter but few would deny that Province were indeed the better team on the day.
Having finished the regular season at the top of the standings, WP put the ghosts of last year’s final lost on home soil to bed as they resisted a second-half comeback from the Lions.
WP led 13-0 at the interval thanks to a Jaco Taute try and couple of penalties from Demetri Catrakilis.
The Lions came charging back after the break however as a try from full-back Jaco van der Walt and a series of scrum penalties saw the visitors draw level heading into the final quarter to set up a tense finish.
Catrakilis opened the scoring with an easy penalty after just three minutes when Lionel Mapoe was pinged for going off his feet. The home fly-half would double the lead by the ten-minute mark as again the Lions were penalised at a ruck.
The Lions have been the most exciting attacking team in the tournament this year but they were denied possession by a fired-up WP pack that ruled the breakdown and won a number of turnovers with impressive counter-rucking.
Led by Michael Rhodes and Nizaam Carr, the home side were buzzing with energy and feeding off the noise of the 44,000-strong crowd.
Usually deadly-accurate, Boshoff surprisingly missed two shots at goal in the windy conditions as the Lions failed to capitalise on their rare opportunities.
WP moved further ahead as Taute ran a great line onto Catrakilis’s quick pass, then stepped inside Mapoe to dart over. Catrakilis added the extras to give the hosts a healthy lead with half time looming large.
Lions wing Ruan Combrinck also missed from a scrum penalty, leaving the visitors with a lot of work to do as the teams swapped ends.
The Lions were first to strike in the second half though as Boshoff found his range to open his team’s account. And the visitors were right back in the game as Ross Cronje broke down the blindside before passing to Van der Walt, who beat Seabelo Senatla and the touchline to finish in the corner.
A third consecutive penalty against the WP scrum gave Boshoff the easiest of penalties to level the scores at 13-all and set up a nail-biting final quarter.
The Lions’ troubles at the breakdown meant Catrakilis put his side back in front with a penalty on the hour mark and when the men in white failed to roll away ago with 15 minutes left to play, the fly-half restored the six-point gap.
The visitors weren’t done though and Combrinck hit the target from 50-odd metres after Rhodes was caught offside to cut the deficit to three.
The Newlands crowd rose to their feet as WP were penalised for collapsing a maul with just seconds left on the clock. Boshoff sent his effort wide though, sparking huge celebrations around the stadium.
Man of the Match First a mention to the WP loose trio for their impressive display but we can’t ignore the contribution of Demetri Catrakilis, who kicked five from five when every point was vital.
Moment of the match: Not many highlights in a tight match but Taute’s try proved pivotal as it gave WP the buffer required.
Villian of the match: No nasty stuff.
For Western Province:
Pen: Catrakilis 4
For Golden Lions:
Try: Van der Walt
Pen: Boshoff 2, Combrinck
Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (c), 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Jean Kleyn 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Gerbrandt Grobler, 19 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Michael van der Spuy.
Golden Lions: 15 Jaco van der Walt, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Martin Muller, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Willie Britz, 20 Warwick Tecklenburg, 21 Mark Richards, 22 Harold Vorster.
Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper, Lesego Legoete
TMO: Deon van Blommestein
By Ross Hastie at Newlands