U21: WP in team victory

Sun, 27 Oct 2013 21:57
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Western Province are the Under-21 champions of South Africa after their 30-23 win over the Blue Bulls in the main curtainraiser at Newlands to the 2013 Currie Cup Final.

Western Province are the Under-21 champions of South Africa after their 30-23 win over the Blue Bulls in the main curtainraiser at Newlands to the 2013 Currie Cup Final.

The season's results suggest that Western Province should win but recent gains and losses suggested that they would have their work cut out. They did have their work cut out but it seems that they were more of a team than their opponents and consequently better prepared.

Western Province scored three tries to two but each one of their tries came from close quarters, again suggesting better teamwork and preparation.

In the league part of the season, Western Province had beaten the Blue Bulls 14-6 at home and 32-21 in Pretoria. but that was before they lost props and locks, key tight forwards.

Against the Blue Bulls they were down to playing their No.6 prop and the one most significantly missing was Oliver Kebble, son of Springbok Guy and tipped as a future Springbok in his own right. The Blue Bulls, on the other hand, were other ones who gained. They gained six players from their eliminated Currie Cup side - including the 20-year-old, nine-cap Springbok Jan Serfontein. The others with serious senior experience were William Small-Smith, Serfontein's centre partner, flyhalf Handré Pollard who had done so well for South Africa Under-20 last year already when he was still at school, massive, SA Under-20 flanks Jacques du Plessis and Wiaan Liebenberg and huge lock Paul Willemse, also an SA Under-20 cap. None of those players had as profound effect on the match as did Josh Katzen, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Rayn Smid, Ruan Botha, Dillyn Leyds, Tim Swiel, Godlen Masimla and Devon Williams - all of whom were performing a cohesive team.

There were many penalties in the match and they were all the early scores - Swiel , Pollard, Swiel, Pollard, Swiel till it was 9-6 after 21 minutes. Both are excellent kickers, Swiel ending with six successes out of six tries.

With Western Province leading 9-6, the Blue Bulls scored the first try of the match. The Western Province line-out was iffish throughout the match. They lost one here and scrumhalf Rudi van Rooyen kicked an excellent box kicked. Short Kafentse Mahlo leapt brilliantly to catch the ball. The Blue Bulls quickly sent the ball wide left where Small-Smith scored in the left corner with a man spare outside of him. Pollard converted from touch. 13-9 to the Blue Bulls after 29 minutes, the first time the Blue Bulls had taken the lead.

A surprise who for those who remember the days of massive Blue Bull packs who bullied the slender opponents from the south, the Western Province maul was their best weapon as they were able to repel the Blue Bulls at will. It was interesting for the anti-maul brigade to see the skill and cohesion that goes into a successful maul.

A penalty gave the Western Province a line-out five metres from the line. They formed a maul and drove it into the Blue Bulls' in-goal where Katzen dropped to ground for a try on the far right which Swiel converted. The half-time score was 16-13.

Early in the second half Jacques Rossouw of the Blue Bulls was penalised for a late tackle on Swiel and his team warned not to repeat the dose. Williams kicked out just inside the Blue Bulls 22. Western Province won the line out and mauled driving it 21 metres for Katzen's second try. 23-13 after 49 minutes.

Soon after this the Blue Bulls lock Irne Herbst tackled Katzen high and was sent to the sin bin.

Swiel chipped and raced after the ball bouncing near the Blue Bulls goal-line. Travis Ismaiel got their first but was bundled over his line, conceding a five-metre scrum. A penalty at the scrum gave Western Province another five-metre line-out but they threw in skew. The Blue Bulls won the scrum and their eighthman Clyde Davids picked up but Katzen grabbed him and drove him back into the in-goal for a five-metre scrum to Western Province.

From the scrum Western Province went left and Swiel did a switch with Kobus van Wyk. Western Province bashed close and right wing Pat Howard was able to force the ball down for a try. 30-16 with 20 minutes to play.

The Blue Bulls tried but Western Province kept  them out. But with nine minutes to go the Blue Bulls kicked a penalty into a five-metre line-out. They gin tried  maul but were not close to Western Province in efficiency and went wide left where Small-Smith held his pass just long enough to send Dries Swanepoel, on for his old school mate Serfontein, over for a try. 30-23.

Western Province played out time efficiently and then, time up Swiel kicked to end the game.

Man of the Match: It really was a team effort but nobody epitomised that effort more than the captain Josh Katzen - brave, strong, relentless, skilled, small but felling the bigger men.


For Western Province:

Tries: Katzen 2, Howard
Cons: Swiel 3
Pens Swiel 3

For Blue Bulls:
Tries: Small-Smith, Swanepoel
Cons: Pollard, Jantjies
Pens: Pollard 3


Western Province:
15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Pat Howard, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Kobus van Wyk, 11 Devon Williams, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Rayn Smid, 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6 Josh Katzen (captain), 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Entienne Swanepoel, 2 Stephan Coetzee, 1 Justin Ackerman.
Replacements: 16 Michael Willemse, 17 Deacon Chowles, 18 Carel du Preez, 19 Eital Bredenkamp, 20 Jean Nel, 21 Craig Barry, 22 JP Lewis.

Blue Bulls: 15 Jacques Rossouw, 14 Kafentse Mahlo, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Travis Ismaiel, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Rudi van Rooyen, 8 Clyde Davids, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg (captain), 5 Irne Herbst, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Hencus van Wyk, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Justin Forwood.
Replacements: 16 Ruan Steenkamp, 17 Andrew Beerwinkel, 18 Dennis Visser, 19 Nardus van der Walt, 20 Carlo Engelbrecht, 21 Tony Jantjies, 22 Dries Swanepoel.

Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Christie du Preez, Stefan Breytenbach
Television match official: Deon van Blommestein