Province win final match in Style
CRAVEN WEEK REPORT: It was a good day for Western Province as their top team beat the Blue Bulls 56-31 in the final match of the 2019 Craven Week.
Their second team beat South Western Districts in the second last match of Craven Week, and their Academy Week team beat Border in the top Academy Week match.
None of these matches wins a trophy or an official title but the winner of the last match is generally regarded as the best team of Craven Week or the Academy Week.
The Blue Bulls had beaten the Western Province XV by two points in the last minute of their match to earn a place in the main match and at the end of the first half of this last match, they were just two points behind at three tries each and a conversion being the difference.
But in the second half Western Province rollicked along to victory scoring five tries to two and the second of those two came as time was up.
The 56 points scored by Western Province are the highest score in a final match at Craven Week, though a long way behind the 95 Western Province scored in 2015.
It took the Blue Bulls less than a minute to open the scoring. They kicked off and the Western Province wing Curwin Gertse raced away but the Blue Bulls won a turnover and wing Malcolm Langa was over in the left corner in Kade Wolhuter’s attempted tackle. 5-0 in 50 seconds.
The Blue Bulls looked threatening again when centre AJ Johnson broke but it was the Western Province who were next to score. They won a lineout on the Blue Bulls’ 10-metre line, Wolhuter broke and they went wide till Tharquinn Manuel swept round to the posts. Wolhuter kicked the first of his impeccable eight conversions for Western Province to lead 7-5.
The lead did not last long. The Blue Bulls won a lineout and went through phases till Johnson cut back at a sharp angle to his right and scored next to the posts. The Blue Bulls led 12-7.
The lead lasted four minutes. The Western Province try started when, not for the only time in the match, they won a Blue Bulls lineout and attacked with Gideon van Wyk prominent and close till prop Bryan le Roux scored next to the posts.
Again the lead did not last long. A penalty gave the Blue Bulls a lineout which they mauled before going wide and a try for big centre Zeilinga Strydom, which Wikus Basson converted.
Again the lead did not last long as Western Province bashed from a lineout and Van Wyk strode over in the left corner. Wolhuter’s excellent conversion made it 21-19, the half-time score.
The rest of the match was the story of how Western Province built on that score.
First, they exchanged a kickable penalty for a lineout and flank Pierich Siebert scored. But then the Blue Bulls hit back. They threw into a lineout but lost the lineout. Hooker Jacques-Louis du Toit recovered the ball and burly MJ van Rensburg battered his way through three defenders to score. 28-24 after 40 minutes.
In the next 30 minutes, Western Province scored 28 points from four tries. Lock Connor Evans was in the right place to score two of them. From the kick-off after Evans’s second Western Province ran and Jacques Rousseau stretched his legs down the left and scored.
The Blue Bulls kicked off and Western Province advanced with phases till Sacha Mgomezulu kicked a long diagonal of pinpoint accuracy into the arms of Manuel out on the left wing and he scored to make it 56-24 with four minutes to play.
The Blue Bulls won a lineout, shunted a maul downfield and when it fell down five metres from the Western Province line, the referee awarded a penalty try and blew the final whistle.
For Western Province:
Tries: Tharquinn Manuel 2, Connor Evans 2, Bryan le Roux, Gideon van Wyk, Jacques Rousseau, Pierich Siebert
Cons: Kade Wolhuter 8
For Blue Bulls:
Tries: Malcolm Langa, AJ Johnson, Zeilinga Strydom, MJ van Rensburg, Penalty Try
Cons: Wikus Basson 2
Blue Bulls: 15 Geraldo Flusk, 14 Nsuku Baloyi, 13 Zeilinga Strydom,12 AJ Johnson, 11 Malcolm Langa, 10 Wikus Basson, 9 Jurich Claasens, 8 Willie Potgieter, 7 Simon Muller, 6 MJ Janse van Rensburg, 5 Raynard Roets (captain), 4 Christian Kamffer, 3 Gerhard van der Merwe, 2 Jacques-Louis du Toit, 1 Nolan Pienaar
Replacements: 16 Enrique Courtiers, 17 Dima Lebelo, 18 Sbewu Fipaza, 19 Kabelo Muchimane, 20 Onk Segooa, 21 Rowan Cloete, 22 Bradley Mayekiso, 23 Hope Mashabane.
Western Province: 15 Tharquinn Manuel, 14 Curwin Gertse, 13 Quan Horn, 12 Tyler Bocks, 11 Jacques Rousseau, 10 Kade Wolhuter, 9 Bobby Alexander (captain), 8 Gideon van Wyk, 7 Pierich Siebert, 6 Romauld Ntumba, 5 Dylan De Leeuw, 4 Connor Evans, 3 Bryan le Roux, 2 Allister Williams, 1 Rhynhardt Rijnsburger
Replacements: 16 Lukhanyo Vokozela, 17 Gert Marais, 18 Jovan Bekker, 19 Marco de Witt, 20 Isaiah Wharton, 21 Liam Kloosman, 22 Sacha Mgomezulu, 23 Angelo Osch.
Referee: Griffin Colby
Assistant referees: Divan Uys, Morné Ferreira
TMO: Paul Larter (Scotland)