WP hold off Blue Bulls to reach final

Date published: October 16 2015

Western Province booked their place in the Currie Cup Final after a 23-18 victory over the Blue Bulls in Pretoria on Friday.

Although the match was characterised by a plethora of errors from both sides, the men from the Cape took their chances when it mattered and outscored their hosts two tries to nought.

Cheslin Kolbe proved to be the hero for the visitors as he scored a try and also created the other for Jano Vermaak which proved to be the decisive score in the end.

Kolbe swung the game in WP's favour in the 52nd minute when – with his side trailing 12-9 – he gathered a Johnny Kotze grubber kick from under the nose of Jamba Ulengo deep inside the Bulls' half before racing away to score the opening try.

The diminutive WP full-back then set up Vermaak's try with a quick throw-in to Sikhumbuzo Notshe, inside the Bulls' 22, in the 74th minute. Notshe was brought to ground close to the home side's tryline but the ball was recycled quickly and Vermaak had an easy run-in.

The Bulls will be kicking themselves as they wasted numerous chances to secure victory. They turned down several chances to score easy points from the kicking tee and instead opted to kick for touch.

On three occasions the ball went out inside WP's 22, and they subsequently failed to secure possession at each line-out.

Earlier, the Bulls raced into a 6-0 lead inside the opening quarter thanks to two penalties by Tian Schoeman after WP infringed at the breakdown.

The visitors struck back with successive penalties from Robert du Preez, after the Bulls were also punished for illegal play. The second three-pointer from the kicking tee came after Pierre Schoeman was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle on Kolbe in the 23rd minute.

WP failed to capitalise on their numerical advantage and Schoeman and Du Preez traded further penalties which meant the sides were deadlocked at 9-9 at half-time.

Schoeman made it 12-9, 10 minutes after the restart, when he landed another three-pointer from the kicking tee after WP were again blown up for a ruck infringement. 

Kolbe's moment of magic then gave his side the lead and although Du Preez added the extras after the try, Schoeman slotted another penalty shortly afterwards which meant WP held a slender 16-15 lead with 20 minutes left on the clock.

Although the Bulls upped the ante in their quest for victory, WP kept them at bay with a solid defensive effort before Vermaak's try sealed the win for the visitors.

The Bulls narrowed the gap to five points when Schoeman added another penalty two minutes later but by then WP had done enough to secure their place in next weekend's final.

The scorers:

For Blue Bulls:

Pens: T Schoeman 6
Yellow card: P Schoeman

For Western Province:
Tries: Kolbe, Vermaak
Cons: Du Preez, Coleman
Pens: Du Preez 3

Blue Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Lappies Labuschagne (c), 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 RG Snyman, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 William Small-Smith.

Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (c), 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Michael Willemse, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Chris van Zyl, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Huw Jones.

Referee: Pro Legoete

By David Skippers