Western Province will host the Golden Lions in next week’s Currie Cup final after they beat the Blue Bulls 31-23 at Newlands on Saturday.
Western Province will host the Golden Lions in next week’s Currie Cup final after the Capetonians beat the Blue Bulls 31-23 at Newlands on Saturday.
Full-back Cheslin Kolbe scored two of the three tries for Province, with scrum-half Nic Groom grabbing the other for the impressive hosts.
Despite their best efforts, the Bulls did not appear as though they would haul in Province’s 15-point half-time lead (25-10) especially as their best attacking efforts were thwarted by the home side’s resolute defence.
A second-minute scrum penalty against the Bulls allowed Province to draw first blood when their sharp-shooter fly-half Demetri Catrakilis goaled from 35 metres out.
After seeing off a number of Bulls attacks, the ball spun free at a breakdown collision some fifteen metres inside Province territory. The ball was recycled to Seabelo Senatla, the Province leftwing, and he sprinted 40 metres down the touchline before he was stopped by the cover defence.
However, the Bulls’ defence were at loss to prevent a score by full-back Kolbe once the ball was faultlessly relayed across the face of the red zone. Catrakilis’ conversion attempt failed but Province held an 8-0 lead after eleven minutes play.
Bulls pivot Jacques-Louis Potgieter reduced the deficit five minutes later with a penalty, but Catrakilis soon restored the eight-point lead with his second penalty to make it 11-3.
At this stage of the match Province number eight Nizaam Carr suffered a hip injury and he was forced to leave the field. He was replaced by Sikhumbuzo Notshe.
The Bulls try did to mix their attacks with tactical kicks but it Province who fared better in this regard when a grubber kick was collected by their right wing Kobus van Wyk, who fed Kolbe with a timely scoring pass. Catrakilis added the conversion for 18-3.
Province were making the most of limited possession at this stage of the game, and a 37th minute raid into the opposition’s 22 metre area paid dividends.
The Bulls were blown up for illegal scrumming and Province number nine Groom took a quick tap quick before darting in to score a converted try that made it 25-3.
Bulls prop Dean Greyling steamrolled his way over for a try almost two minutes after the half-time hooter had sounded. Potgieter, who had earlier missed three goalable kicks, nailed the touchline conversion to round off the first-half score at 25-10, in favour of Province.
After the break, Potgieter banged over two close-range efforts and Catrakilis responded with another in the 49th minute and Provinces lead was narrowed to 28-16.
Catrakilis offered a measure of safety with a drop goal six minutes from the end.
But in the final minute, Bulls reserve prop Callie Visage bulldozed his way over, Handre Pollard added the conversion for a 31-23 scoreline.
For Western Province:
Tries: Kolbe 2, Groom
Con: Catrakilis 2
Pen: Catrakilis 3
For Blue Bulls:
Tries: Greyling, Visagie
Con: Potgieter, Pollard
Pen: Potgieter 3
Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (c), 12 Michael van der Spuy, 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 Oli Kebble, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 EW Villjoen.
Blue Bulls: 15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Handr