CW: WP the uncrowned champions
REPORT: In the last match of the 2018 Craven Week, played at Paarl Boys’ High on 14 July 2018, Western Province beat the Kwa-Zulu Natal’s Sharks 47-8.
This made Western Province again the unofficial champions of the Craven Week where there are no official champions.
Western Province fully deserved their win, scoring seven tries to one. Their forwards were better in set phases, in carrying the ball and in winning tackle/rucks though the Sharks were better at counter-rucking.
On attack Western Province backs were better, fed by better ball, more skilful and adventurous, players with a good, intuitive eye for chances. It was only in the penalty count that the Sharks did better, which is strange as they were mostly the defending team.
The field was heavy and, between the 22s threadbare, where mud replaced grass. This is not surprising as the final was the 23rd match played on it in six days and there was heavy rain on Thursday and Friday.
The Sharks kicked off and Western Province started running. They ran with great confidence and excellent handling through many phases till flank Justin Muller broke away from a tackle/ruck and gave to lock Johan Beukes who was over in Dylan Pretorius’s tackle.
The referee awarded the try and was back to where the conversion was to be taken when the TMO intervened and after replays, the TMO decided that there had been no clear grounding of the ball by Beukes, and so Western Province had a five-metre scrum instead.
Western Province stayed on the attack. From a five-metre line-out, Western Province mauled and scored a try, credited to hooker JJ Kotze. Kade Wolhuter converted. 7-0.
From the kick-off, Western Province formed a maul which they drove a long way down the field before going wide to tall flyhalf, Juan Mostert who scored. 14-0 after 12 minutes.
Western Province were dominating but not seizing opportunities and when a pass went astray, left-wing Siyanda Cele latched onto the ball and raced downfield through many metres. Under pressure, he played inside to his captain Rynhardt Jonker who got a clever pass to flyhalf Pretorius who scored – he who had saved a try, now scored one. 14-5 after 25 minutes.
Western Province attacked again, and the Sharks scored again. Again it was that man Cele. He broke out of a defensive position, chipped ahead cleverly and the Sharks were attacking with Jonker and Jacques Odendaal prominent. Western Province were penalised, and Gareth Schreuder goaled. 14-8 after 33 minutes.
That was the half-time score.
Western Province won the second half 33-0.
First big, strong No.8 Evan Roos scored. When the Sharks had a five-metre line-out, Western Province got the ball and Stravino Jacobs and substitute Bobby Alexander ran down to the Sharks’ line.
The Sharks were penalised for a high tackler, Wolhuter kicked out for a five-metre line-out. Province mauled and when they went wide Mostert twice beat opponents with clever footwork and scored. 28-8.
The Sharks threw into a line-out on the Province 22. Dylan de Leeuw won their ball for Western Province. Stravino Jacobs, strong and fast, ran away and passed inside to Bobby Alexander to set up a Western Province attack which ended when strong flank Mihlali Mgolodela burst over. 35-8 with 13 minutes to play.
The Sharks were forced to defend mightily as Western Province bashed at their line. Then Western Province tapped a penalty and went wide for a try by substitute hooker Jason Alexander right in the corner. The conversion hit the upright and stayed out. 40-8 with 7 minutes to play.
From a scrum five metres from the Sharks line, Brendan Venter, tackled, stretched out and scored next to the posts.
In the remaining minute Western Province attacked again and when they grubbered in hope into the Sharks in-goal, the Sharks ran from their dead-ball line, wanting to score from there, not wanting Craven Week to end.
For Western Province:
Tries: JJ Kotze, Juan Mostert 2, Evan Roos, Mihlali Mgolodela, Jason Alexander, Brendan Venter
Cons: Kade Wolhuter 5, Darren Hendricks
Try: Dylan Pretorius
Pen: Gareth Schreuder
Western Province: 1 Robert Rodgers, 2 JJ Kotze, 3 Hanro Jacobs, 4 Juan Beukes, 5 Adrian Alberts (captain), 6 Justin Miller, 7 Mihlali Mgolodela, 8 Evan Roos, 9 William Rose, 10 Juan Mostert, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 12 Brendan Venter, 13 Dawid Kellerman, 14 Tiaan Pretorius, 15 Kade Wolhuter, 16 Jason Alexander, 17 Luthando Woji, 18 Robert Bester, 19 Dylan de Leeuw, 20 Romeo Mtumba, 21 Bobby Alexander, 22 Thoubaan Gabriels, 23 Darren Hendricks.
Sharks: 1 Jordan Clarke, 2 Teague Loelly, 3 Spekahle Dube, 4 Lunga Ncube, 5 L Luthuli, 6 George Luzolo, 7 Sibusiso Sangweni, 8 Celimpilo Gumede, 9 Gareth Schreuder, 10 Dylan Pretorius, 11 Siyanda Cele, 12 Rynhardt Jonker, 13 Lwandile Menze, 14 Joe Jonas, 15 Jacques Odendaal, 16 Ruan Olivier, 17 Thabiso Mdletshe, 18 Mthokozisi Gumede, 19 Andrew James, 20 Asande Mnguni, 21 Runako Brynard, 22 Nkondlo Radebe, 23 Jean Roux.
Referee: Jaco Kotze
Assistant referees: Patrick Bulwana, Bennie Bothma
TMO: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)
Finals Down the Years
1971: Western Province vs Griqualand West, 11-0 in Kimberley
1972: Western Province vs Western Transvaal, 16-9 in Potchefstroom
1973: Western Province vs Transvaal, 36-7 in Stellenbosch
1974: Western Province vs South Western Districts, 22-12 in Johannesburg
1975: Eastern Province vs Natal, 46-13 in Pretoria
1976: Boland vs Free State, 13-9 in Wolmaransstad
1977: Eastern Province vs Western Province, 19-17 in Oudtshoorn
1978: Western Province vs Free State, 12-3 in Middelburg
1979: Northern Free State vs Free State, 9-6 in East London
1980: Free State vs Transvaal, 16-5 in Stellenbosch
1981: Transvaal vs Western Province, 11-7 in Worcester
1982: South Eastern Transvaal vs Northern Free State, 15-7 in Windhoek
1983: Free State vs South Eastern Transvaal, 13-9 in Upington
1984: Transvaal vs Eastern Province, 3-0 in Bloemfontein
1985: Free State vs Transvaal, 23-15 in Witbank
1986: South Eastern Transvaal vs Western Province, 19-12 in Graaff-Reinet
1987: Natal vs Transvaal, 22-22 in Paarl
1988: Western Province vs Free State, 16-3 in Port Elizabeth
1989: Transvaal vs Eastern Province, 17-6 in Johannesburg
1990: Natal vs Northern Transvaal, 16-8 in Durban
1991: Northern Transvaal vs Border, 10-9 in East London
1992: Western Province vs Free State, 22-15 in Pretoria
1993: Northern Transvaal vs South Eastern Transvaal, 25-13 in Secunda
1994: Border vs Eastern Province, 13-13 in Newcastle
1995: Free State vs Boland, 15-13 in Bloemfontein
1996: Northern Transvaal vs Western Province, 24-12 in Stellenbosch
1997: Northern Transvaal vs Western Province, 29-27 in Kimberley
1998: Griqualand West vs Western Province, 15-11 in Vanderbijlpark
1999: Western Province vs Eastern Province, 15-11 in George
2000: Pumas vs Boland, 19-18 in Port Elizabeth
2001: South Western Districts vs Blue Bulls, 26-20 in Rustenburg
2002: Western Province vs Free State, 31-16 in Pietermaritzburg
2003: Western Province vs Free State, 22-17 in Wellington
2004: Free State vs Western Province, 17-16 in Nelspruit
2005: Golden Lions vs Eastern Province, 38-15 in Bloemfontein
2006: Blue Bulls vs Golden Lions, 35-20 in Johannesburg
2007: Free State vs Western Province, 52-3 in Stellenbosch
2008: South Western Districts vs Free State, 31-25 in Pretoria
2009: Western Province vs Free State, 19-17 in East London
2010: Free State vs Western Province, 42-21 in Welkom
2011: Free State vs Golden Lions, 28-17 in Kimberley
2012: Blue Bulls vs Golden Lions, 46-0 in Port Elizabeth
2013: Western Province vs Golden Lions, 45-29 in Polokwane
2014: Eastern Province vs South Western Districts, 25-7 in Middelburg
2015: Western Province vs Eastern Province, 95-0 in Stellenbosch
2016: Western Province vs Golden Lions, 27-20 in Durban
2017: Golden Lions vs KwaZulu-Natal, 45-18 in Johannesburg
2018: Western Province vs Kwa-Zulu Natal, 47-8 in Paarl