Golden Lions and WP XV Well Matched
This was a Match! It was not spectacular, it was not glamorous, but it was a match every inch of the way – two teams which gave of their determined best for the whole 70 minutes.
Even the scoreless second half was gripping as the tension built. It was anybody’s game till the last whistle said: “Stop. We’ve got to stop.” And the Western Province XV beat the Golden Lions 18-14, according to the scoreboard.
The first minute suggested it would be a romp, for in less than a minute the Western Province XV had scored a try. But it was not a romp, and in the end, it was the defences that were the most spectacular aspect of the game, especially the Western Province defence which was the biggest factor in the victory.
But back to the romp. The Western Province XV – and it should be noted that in this context XV means 2nd XV – kicked off, won a turnover and scored a try. That took all of 40 seconds. Seconds! From the turnover, outside centre Ethan James broke and gave back to his flyhalf Kian Meadon, who scored under the posts and then converted his own try.
From the kick-off, the zestful Western Province team came back on the attack and massive prop Jason Johnson went surging through with defenders hanging on him till he crashed to ground under the posts. Neither the referee nor the TMO could detect a certain grounding and so a five-metre scrum followed.
Then there was a penalty, which the Western Province XV tapped and knocked on. That became a five-metre scrum to the Golden Lions. Western Province destroyed them but, when the Golden Lions were penalised, Meadon popped over an easy penalty. 10-0.
A penalty gave Western Province XV a lineout. They mauled deep into Golden Lions territory and got the ball back to Meadon who popped over an easy drop from close quarters. 13-0 after 16 minutes. After three scores in 16 minutes, Western Province XV scored just once more in the next 54 minutes.
This was no romp.
The next to score were the Golden Lions. Their impressive inside centre Henco van Wyk broke and gave inside to lock Kamohelo Tlome who took a long diagonal for the posts running over a defender as if he were a dandelion and scored under the posts.
The Golden Lions were back on the attack and held up over the line. From the resulting five-metre scrum Van Wyk took the ball on a scissors with Raubenheimer and scored. That gave the Golden Lions the lead at 14-13 after 27 minutes.
They did not score again in the match, eschewing penalty opportunities in the pursuit of tries which did not come.
Meadon broke cleverly and gave to massive wing Ebenezer Tshimanga who steamrollered over one defender and crashed over for a try far out on the right. That made the score 18-14 after 31 minutes.
There was no more scoring.
The nearest the Western Province XV came to scoring was when Cade Croy got over in the left corner as Van Wyk tackled him. But the TMO saw evidence that Croy’s left foot had been in touch before he grounded the ball.
For the Golden Lions Van Wyk had another break and a long run but Croy caught him from behind and Munashe Chaitezwi break ended on the rocks of the Western Province XV defence.
For Western Province XV:
Tries: Meadon, Tshimanga
For Golden Lions:
Tries: Tlome, Van Wyk
Golden Lions: 15 Tyler Skudder, 14 Tiaan Botes, 13 Ngia Selengbe, 12 Henco van Wyk, 11 Joseph Iye, 10 Munashe Chaitezwi, 9 Declan Raubenheimer, 8 Franco Hallat, 7 Izan Esterhuizen, 6 Zander du Toit, 5 Kamohelo Tlome, 4 Connor van Buuren, 3 Justin Kalamer, 2 Sibu Shongwe, 1 Setjhaba Motaung
Replacements: 16 Kaelin Wills, 17 Munashe Mhere, 18 Joshua Nkomo, 19 Lifa Jambane, 20 Kabelo Moketi, 21 Thabani Maruganyanga, 22 Hugo Monteiro
Western Province XV: 15 Tiaan Swanepoel, 14 Ebenezer Tshimanga, 13 Ethan James , 12 Stephan du Toit, 11 Javier Farmer, 10 Kian Meadon, 9 Abduragheem Ismail, 8 Heath Jacobs, 7 Jarred Cairns, 6 Stass Nel, 5 Marco van Rhyn, 4 Enos Ndiao, 3 Corné Weilbach, 2 Liam Compion, 1 Jason Johnson
Replacements: 16 Keagan Blanckenberg, 17 H Smuts, 18 Philip Masanga, 19 Louw Nel, 20 Jacques Mostert, 21 Isameel Saffodien, 22 Rethabile Louw, 23 Cade Croy
Referee: Morné Ferreira (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Christopher Allison, Anelda Coetzee
Television match official: Paul Larter (Scotland)