A late try from Kobus van Wyk helped Western Province pick up a 34-29 victory over the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
A late try from winger Kobus van Wyk helped Western Province claim a 34-29 victory over the Free State Cheetahs.
It had looked like the hosts would win 27-29 after Willie du Plessis landed a 74th minute penalty goal, but Van Wyk’s late moment of footballing brilliance handed the leaders all five points.
Province now go eight points clear at the Currie Cup summit while the Cheetahs stay below the play-off places, one point behind the Blue Bulls.
Following an initial period of feeling each other out, the first period was an open spectacle in Bloemfontein as five tries were scored in all.
The hosts opened the scoring on fourteen minutes with a try from fly-half Du Plessis, with a step from first-phase scrum ball seeing Demetri Catrakilis fall off the tackle and allow his opposite number an easy seven points. It was simply weak defence.
Western Province responded four minutes later though when quick ball to the left found captain and centre Juan de Jongh, who stepped well to beat the attempted tacklers before going under the posts. Catrakilis knocked over the extra two points as the game was tied on the quarter.
It was apparent a high-scoring fixture was on the cards and even more so when Free State Cheetahs centre Joubert Engelbrecht threw himself past prop Pat Cilliers close to the line. His determination saw him over and with Du Plessis’ conversion, the hosts were 7-14 up.
Catrakilis would reduce their lead to just four points soon after following a ruck offence.
And when hooker Scarra Ntubeni dived over from a ruck one metre out, the visitors would take the lead for the first time in the match on 31 minutes. That score came following a lovely break from centre Jaco Taute before Nizaam Carr carried on the charge for Province.
It had looked like 17-14 would be the half-time scoreline in favour of WP but when De Jongh claimed the bouncing ball and ran over following Van Wyk’s intelligent angle on halfway that led to Catrakilis’ cross-kick, Province had themselves a 24-14 cushion at the break.
De Jongh turned from hero to villain three minutes after the interval, however, when he received a yellow card for kicking the ball away. And that numerical advantage to the Cheetahs paid off when number eight Lappies Labuschagne went over on the blindside.
On 50 minutes, Catrakilis gave his captain a lift whilst he was watching on as he landed a penalty after prop Coenie Oosthuizen’s high tackle. That made it 27-19 with plenty of tries and points still likely to be left on the field in the sunny conditions at Free State Stadium.
So it proved as from a good spell in the Province 22, Free State Cheetahs picked up their bonus-point try via a good run from Francois Venter. Du Plessis’ conversion reduced the arrears to 26-27 for a grandstand closing quarter, with the visitors suddenly under pressure.
A missed drop-goal from Catrakilis and wayward Kurt Coleman penalty either side of that try would not have pleased Allister Coetzee, as one sensed the momentum was now with the hosts. Remember, a win would move them back into the top four ahead of the Blue Bulls.
They would appear to have made it count too when replacement Shaun Venter’s break led to him being brought down superbly by De Jongh five metres out before Dillyn Leyds entered the resulting ruck when he shouldn’t, thus receiving a card before Du Plessis’ three points.
But then came the moment of magic from Van Wyk as his kick ahead past Raymond Rhule saw him ground under the uprights for the match-winning try as Western Province won.
For FS Cheetahs:
Tries: Du Plessis, Engelbrecht, Labuschagne, Venter
Con: Du Plessis 3
Pen: Du Plessis
For Western Province:
Tries: De Jongh 2, Ntubeni, Van Wyk
Con: Catrakilis 3, Coleman
Pen: Catrakilis 2
Yellow: De Jongh (43 mins – kicking ball away), Leyds (73 mins, ruck offence)
FS Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 JP du Plessis, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Willie du Plessis, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Lappies Labuschagne, 7 Neil Claassen, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Werner Lourens, 3 George Marich, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (c), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Henco Venter, 19 Vincent Jobo, 20 Shaun Venter, 21 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 22 AJ Coertzen.
Western Province: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (capt), 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Pat Howard, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Rynhardt Elstadt, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Oli Kebble, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Michael van der Spuy.
Referee: Marius Jonker
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Rodney Bonaparte
Television match official: Johan Greeff