Planet Rugby

Western Province book home final

19th October 2013 15:30

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Gio Aplon of Western Province scores a try and celebrates

Try for WP: Gio Aplon

Western Province secured a home Currie Cup final on Saturday thanks to a 33-16 victory over the Golden Lions at Newlands.

WP will host their first Currie Cup final in more than a decade following a clinical performance in Cape Town.

The last time Province hosted a final at home was in 2001 when they banked a 29-24 victory over the Sharks and while empty seats in the stands were an indication that the Newlands faithful expected nothing less than success, few would have expected the win to be as convincing as it was.

Another stand-out performance by full-back Gio Aplon - who was named Man of the Match - coupled with a fine tactical kicking display by fly-half Demetri Catrakilis proved to be too much for the visitors to contend with.

Aplon broke the Lions' line with the greatest of ease throughout the contest and was awarded with a try just before the teams turn for half time.

Catrakilis, however, was the first man to cross the try line after he and Elton Jantjies exchanged penalties in the opening quarter. It was the first Currie Cup try of his career that includes a number of match winning drop-goals.

The try came as a result of a classic Jean de Villiers intercept close to Province's goal line and ensured that Province took the lead after trailing 3-6 early on.

Although epitomised by the ruthless counter attacking ability of Province's back three, the Cape Town squad's main strength continued to be their defence with the Lions only managing one five pointer.

Apart from a few early concerns at scrum-time where Pat Cilliers struggled to find his bind, their set-phase play was as impressive as always.

Province enjoyed a 18-9 lead at the break which could have been less had the Lions been more disciplined when they had to scramble in defence.

One of the main areas where Allister Coetzee's men made a step-up was in the aggression with which they played from first phase.

On that front Louis Schreuder's service was crisp and effective even though he would be disappointed that a certain try was squandered when one of his passes - to Aplon - drifted forward.

For the Lions, skipper Derrick Minnie lead by example and was he exceptional at the breakdown. Later on he would be nuetralised to an extent by the big Duane Vermeulen and Mr never-say-die Deon Fourie.

Minnie's team's inability to hold on to possession allowed the defending champions to get in behind their defensive lines that seemed to deteriorate as the match progressed.

Despite a late consolation try by Warren Whiteley and the fact that Province were down to 14 men when Scarra Ntobeni was sin binned, the Lions lacked the flair they displayed during the round robin stages of the competition and were beaten by a side that is sports a near perfect balance between youth and experience.

The scorers:

For Western Province:
Tries: Aplon, Catrakilis
Con: Catrakilis
Pens: Catrakilis 5, Coleman 2
Yellow card: Ntubeni

For Golden Lions:
Try: Whiteley
Con: Boshoff
Pens: Jantjies 3

Western Province: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Jean de Villiers (vc), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Deon Fourie (c), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Frans Malherbe, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Michael Rhodes, 19 Schalk Burger, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Juan de Jongh.

Golden Lions: 15 Marnitz Boshoff, 14 Chrysander Botha, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Andries Coetzee, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Derick Minnie (c), 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 CJ van der Linde.
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Willie Britz, 20 Warwick Tecklenburg, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Robert de Bruyn.

Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Marius Jonker

By Michael Mentz

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