Western Province move top

Date published: September 7 2013

Western Province stretched their unbeaten run in the Currie Cup to eight matches with a 25-12 win over the Sharks.

Western Province stretched their unbeaten run in the Currie Cup to eight matches with a 25-12 win over the Sharks.

Tries from Juan De Jongh, Cheslin Kolbe and Gio Aplon gave the hosts a healthy total on the scoreboard, but they missed out on a try bonus point.

Province's lead was barely troubled by the visitors, who were scoreless until well into the second half as their set-piece spluttered.

Lwazi Mvovo and Jacques Botes did cross for tries before Kyle Cooper's late score set up an important conversion for Fred Zeilinga, who secured the losing bonus point, but this was Western Province's night in Cape Town – the win moving them top of the Currie Cup table.

Province made their intentions clear right from the kick-off through Gerhard van den Heever, creating the opening penalty opportunity for Coleman to put the hosts 3-0 up after two minutes.

Playing with more endeavour than the Sharks, whose tactical selection of Butch James at fly-half indicated they would focus more on kicking, Western Province enjoyed a wealth of possession and attacking opportunities throughout the first half.

Juan de Jongh made the most of it with the opening try – an outstanding finish in the corner confirmed by the TMO to underline a bright start for the hosts.

Exciting youngster Cheslin Kolbe was denied a try early on by the TMO after his foot was in touch, but he had no such problem later on when he crossed for Province's second try.

Coleman's conversion, after missing the earlier attempt for De Jongh's score, gave Province an ominous 15-0 lead.

The Sharks woke up and tried to claw their way back into the match, a clever chip from Butch James just not bouncing in their favour as they remained scoreless at the interval.

Coleman's second penalty after the break extended the gap to 18 points as the Sharks grew desperate, their set-piece struggling to function.

An essential breakthrough came from Springbok winger Mvovo, who flew under the tackler to score in the corner for the Sharks' first points in the 57th minute to give the visitors some hope.

It was short-lived. Gio Aplon produced a moment of magic as he burst through the defence, cutting inside to score under the posts for a 25-5 lead.

Playing with nothing to lose, the Sharks flew forward and scored a bizarre try of their own – the ball ripped out of their hands near the try line only to bounce loose, Jacques Botes applying the downward pressure for the score.

Seeking to emulate South Africa's bonus-point win in Brisbane, Province set out looking for the fourth try that would bring them five league points with time running out.

Instead it was the Sharks who sealed a bonus point, Cooper's injury-time try and Zeilinga's resultant conversion leaving them within seven points. It was Province though who left Newlands celebrating the win.

The scorers:

For Western Province:
Tries: de Jongh, Kolbe, Aplon
Cons: Coleman, van Aswegen
Pens: Coleman 2

For Sharks:Tries: Mvovo, Botes, Cooper
Cons: Zeilinga 2

Western Province: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Deon Fourie (c), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Gerbrandt Grobler, 19 Rohan Kitshoff, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Gary van Aswegen, 22 Michael van der Spuy.

Sharks:15 SP Marais, 14 Sizo Maseko, 13 Louis Ludik, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Butch James, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Jacques Botes (c), 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Peet Marais, 3 Rayno Gerber, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Danie Mienie.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Edwin Hewitt, 19 Justin Downey, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Fred Zeilinga, 22 Jaco van Tonder.

Referee: Craig Joubert